Friday, October 30, 2009

Letter to Obama: be honest about oil & gas motive for wars

Sent through the White House contact page:
President Obama,

As you are reassessing our military presence in Afghanistan, I would urge you talk frankly with the American people about the role pipelines play in our presence there, and whether that is in the interest of average Americans or just the energy companies scrambling to take business from Russia. Colin Powell's former chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson gave an excellent speech on this last week, and I was saddened that no president or cabinet member has talked this honestly about our foreign policy.

You can see his speech here.

Ironically, T. Boone Pickens made a similar point recently when he said if we pull out of Iraq, the Chinese will get all the best contracts. I think the American people should hear from our leaders that our troops are being used as leverage in oil company negotiations, don't you?

Pickens failed to point out that China would be getting those contracts without losing the life of one of their troops or taking the life of a single Iraqi. Maybe if our military wasn't available to our oil companies to enforce contract terms to their liking, they would learn how to negotiate as well as the Chinese.

The grown up lie about Iraq and Afghanistan is that we need those oil and gas resources, so we must kill and occupy to get it. But China and other countries are showing that's not necessary for access--you just have to make a deal favorable to both sides. The only thing that could be hurt by that approach is oil company profits margins, but we would save untold billions in unnecessary wars and would stop earning the animosity of people whose families we kill on behalf of Unocal, Chevron, and Exxon.

To the extent that you and your administration are not putting these business motives for our wars front and center in the public debate, you are following the Bush administration example and depriving the public of the chance to make an informed decision and neutering our democracy.


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