Sunday, January 27, 2008

TO HELEN THOMAS: cover oil motive for Iraq War


When I saw the headline of your column asking Democratic presidential candidates to "come clean on Iraq," I thought you meant about the true motive for the war, a prize worth tens of trillions of dollars, which none of the candidates for president, with the exception of Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, have directly addressed apart from tangential references to "strategic access": OIL.

Investigative reporters who have documented the oil motive have found a stronger case for giving control of Iraq's oil to multi-national corporations rather than trying to secure a cheap supply to run our economy. In fact, before the war, Oil & Gas Journal said that without a war against Iraq, when the sanctions came off Saddam would pump too much and drive prices down.

Invading Iraq was a win-win situation for the major oil companies. If it had gone smoothly, they would have gained control of the spigot in Iraq, and by controlling supply, they could control the price, keeping it relatively high so they get more profit for less work. If the war went poorly, which it has, less of Iraq's oil would make it to market which would also drive up the price.

The most obvious piece of evidence though is the Hydrocarbon Law Bush and even the Democratic congress have tried to force on the Iraqis. Only a few lines have to do with how the oil is divided between the ethnic groups. The rest is designed to give up to 88% of the oil revenue to oil companies, a deal no other major oil country would accept without a gun to their head.

When someone bothered to poll Iraqis about this, more said they would trust a national oil company to develop their oil resources than the private corporations Bush is fronting for. Iraqi oil workers, scholars, and bureaucrats from the former regime familiar with what the administration is advocating all oppose it as well.

If we were just concerned about spreading democracy and having a steady supply of oil, we would be pushing for a law that no Iraqi could possibly object to. Instead, Bush's eagerness to line the pockets of his cronies is probably getting more of our troops killed than any peace marchers here or Iranian subversion over there.

Politicians will dodge this question by saying it's water under the bridge, but if you don't know who will profit from us staying in Iraq, you cannot effectively fight them to get our troops out and begin to salvage our reputation in the Arab world.



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