Beneath the obvious lies about WMD, terrorism, and spreading democracy, a second layer of argument for the war is that strategically, we needed control of that oil for our economy.
We could have simply bought it the way China and others are doing. If Saddam or anyone else stopped selling to us, they'd be shooting themselves in the foot since we use 25% of the world's supply. That would be like a drug dealer cutting off Robert Downey Jr.
Second, if we needed control of that amount of energy, the half trillion we have already spent in Iraq could have built enough solar panels and wind turbines to power new cars with electricity, and could have provided subsidies for ethanol and biodiesel until those electrics are on the road.
No, this war was simply about which companies profited from pumping the oil, and whether it bought a yacht in Shaghai or Houston.
The Iraqis and the rest of the world know this story. Most Americans and even progressives seem to be oblivious to it, but if this is why we are there, it stands to reason that we won't be able to pull out of Iraq until we figure out how to separate those oil companies from Iraq's oil teat, or at least a way to make their deals something the average Iraqis doesn't think is a scam.
Ironically, while people in Iraq and Venezuela vote and march in the streets on this issue, most Americans don't know how much we get for oil taken on public lands or even that we get or should get anything for that.
Bush's Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq's Oil
By Joshua Holland, AlterNet. Posted October 16, 2006.
During the 12-year sanction period, the Big Four were forced to sit on the sidelines while the government of Saddam Hussein cut deals with the Chinese, French, Russians and others (despite the sanctions, the United States ultimately received 37 percent of Iraq's oil during that period, according to the independent committee that investigated the oil-for-food program, but almost all of it arrived through foreign firms). In a 1999 speech, Dick Cheney, then CEO of the oil services company Halliburton, told a London audience that the Middle East was where the West would find the additional 50 million barrels of oil per day that he predicted it would need by 2010, but, he lamented, "while even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow."
Chafing at the idea that the Chinese and Russians might end up with what is arguably the world's greatest energy prize, industry leaders lobbied hard for regime change throughout the 1990s. With the election of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in 2000 -- the first time in U.S. history that two veterans of the oil industry had ever occupied the nation's top two jobs -- they would finally get the "greater access" to the region's oil wealth, which they had long lusted after.
If the U.S. invasion of Iraq had occurred during the colonial era a hundred years earlier, the oil giants, backed by U.S. forces, would have simply seized Iraq's oil fields. Much has changed since then in terms of international custom and law (when then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz did in fact suggest seizing Iraq's Southern oil fields in 2002, Colin Powell dismissed the idea as "lunacy").
But the execs from Big Oil didn't just want access to Iraq's oil; they wanted access on terms that would be inconceivable unless negotiated at the barrel of a gun. Specifically, they wanted an Iraqi government that would enter into production service agreements (PSAs) for the extraction of Iraq's oil.
PSAs, developed in the 1960s, are a tool of today's kinder, gentler neocolonialism; they allow countries to retain technical ownership over energy reserves but, in actuality, lock in multinationals' control and extremely high profit margins -- up to 13 times oil companies' minimum target, according to an analysis by the British-based oil watchdog Platform.
IRAQ OIL LINKS:
(covers nearly all sources mentioned in article)
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