Crude Case for War (Washington Post March 16, 2008: P B01) reviews
and evaluates some of the claims:
"There is no single
conspiracy theory about why the Bush administration allegedly waged
this "war for oil." Here are two.
"Version one: Bush,
former Texas oilman, and Vice President Cheney, former chief
executive of the contracting and oil-services firm Halliburton,
wanted to help their friends in the oil world. They sought to
install a pro-Western government that would invite the major oil
companies back into Iraq. "Exxon was in the kitchen with Dick
Cheney when the Iraq war was being cooked up," says the Web
site of a group called Consumers for Peace.
"Version two: As laid out
in an April 2003 article in Le Monde Diplomatique, "The war
against Saddam is about guaranteeing American hegemony rather than
about increasing the profits of Exxon." Yahya Sadowski, an
associate professor at the American University of Beirut, argues
that "the neo-conservative cabal" had a "grand
plan" to ramp up Iraqi production, "flood the world
market with Iraqi oil" and drive the price down to $15 a
barrel. That would stimulate the U.S. economy, "finally
destroy" OPEC, wreck the economies of "rogue
states" such as Iran and Venezuela, and "create more
opportunities for 'regime change.' "
Bechtel's pipeline would have carried a million barrels of Iraqi crude oil a day through Jordan to the Red Sea port of Aqaba.
"The men who courted Saddam while he gassed Iranians are now waging war against him, ostensibly because he holds these same weapons of mass destruction" said Jim Vallette, lead author of the report. "To a man, they now deny that oil has anything to do with the conflict. Yet during the Reagan Administration, and in the years leading up to the present conflict, these men shaped and implemented a strategy that has everything to do with securing Iraqi oil exports. All of this documentation suggests that Reagan Administration officials bent many rules to convince Saddam Hussein to open up a pipeline of central interest to the US, from Iraq to Jordan."
If this is on the level, the implications are extraordinary. I always had it in the back of my mind that Cheney was stonewalling on the energy task force to hide the corruption, the ties to Enron and so on. But what if the sons of bitches were sitting around deciding how to divvy up Iraq? What if that most reductionist of slogans is a simple statement of fact: it's all about the oil?
A U.S.-led ouster of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could open a bonanza for American oil companies long banished from Iraq, scuttling oil deals between
Baghdad and Russia, France and other countries, and reshuffling world petroleum markets, according to industry officials and leaders of the Iraqi opposition.
Although senior Bush administration officials say they have not begun to focus on the issues involving oil and
Iraq, American and foreign oil companies have already begun maneuvering for a stake in the country's huge
proven reserves of 112 billion barrels of crude oil, the largest in the world outside Saudi Arabia.
The importance of Iraq's oil has made it potentially one of the administration's biggest bargaining chips in
negotiations to win backing from the U.N. Security Council and Western allies for President Bush's call for
tough international action against Hussein. All five permanent members of the Security Council -- the United
States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- have international oil companies with major stakes in a change of
leadership in Baghdad.
The secretary of the army, Thomas White - currently, one supposes, planning a war not a million miles away from a rich source of oil - was actually an executive of the spectacularly corrupt and incompetent Enron Corporation, whose implosion began the unravelling of scoundrel capitalism.
to use the word "terror". Use it about Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden,
Yasser Arafat, and anyone who opposes Israel or America. Bush used it in his speech
yesterday, 30 times in half an hour - thatís one
"terrorism" a minute. But now letís list exactly what we
really must forget if we are to support this madness. Most important
of all, we absolutely must forget that President Ronald Reagan
dispatched a special envoy to meet Saddam Hussein in December 1983.
Itís essential to forget this for three reasons.
because the awful Saddam was already using gas against the Iranians
ó which is one of the reasons we are now supposed to go to war
with him. Secondly, the envoy was sent to Iraq to
arrange the re-opening of the US Embassy ó in order to secure
better trade and economic relations with the Butcher of Baghdad.
Thirdly, the envoy was Donald Rumsfeld.
Now you might think it strange that Rumsfeld, in the course of one
of his folksy press conferences, hasnít chatted to us about this
interesting tit-bit. You might think he would have wished to
enlighten us about the evil nature of the criminal with whom he so
warmly shook hands. But no.
This was the speech of a president in exile.
Like a deposed leader seeking refuge in a friendly nation, Bill
Clinton came to Blackpool to deliver a message that can barely be heard in today's America.
He had to be careful: an unwritten rule of US public life demands that "politics stops at the water's edge", that partisan hostilities be shelved when it comes to foreign policy. Convention also dictates that a former president give respectful support to his successor, especially when speaking abroad.
But yesterday Clinton - whose dazzling, dizzying career broke every rule in the US book - broke those rules, too. He did it artfully, sometimes in code, but the 42nd president of the United States used the floor of the Labour party conference to unleash an acid critique of the Bush administration.
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