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07 July 2006

Is It Really About The Oil?

Update: There are several comments worth reading, and as if on cue Kevin Phillips answers in the affirmative in The American Conservative.

For those of you who think that our adventures in Iraq are about the oil, I have a little challenge for you. I happen to think it's not about the oil at all, but all about neoconservative ideology within the Bush Administration. I believe they believe they can transform the world into a better place by defeating radical and despotic elements within Islam and establishing democratic societies in the Mideast.

As for the oil angle, anecdotal evidence such as our securing the Iraqi Oil Ministry after the invasion while we let every other institution be looted beyond usefulness is consistent with a neocon attitude that there were no institutions worth saving in Saddam's Iraq other than the oil industry. And from 9/11 on, it has been the neocons cheering for the war. Conspicuously silent, ambiguous, or outright skeptical were former Bush 41 officials, including GHWB himself.

So my challenge to the oil-based motivists: How do you explain the administration's hostile dealings with Iran in terms of the petroleum factor. Bush sure seems to be hankering for an attack, which seems perfectly consistent with the trasformation strategy, but I don't see the oil angle? What am I missing? For background, here's Seymour Hersh's latest on Iran in the New Yorker.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Dano said...

North Korea has ICBM's and a nuclear program but no oil. Hence no invasion.

If they didn't have oil we would treat them as we do Africa, which is to ignore them, regardless of this week's genocide.

July 07, 2006 10:42 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

Well that's what confuses me - if it's Iran's oil that we're interested in, we're not worrying about centrifuges - we're more likely talking about trading centrifuges - say 10 centrifuges for each million barrels. We'd be sucking up to the mullahs, not calling them names. If oil is the quest, we have a funny way of seeking it.

July 07, 2006 6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Neo-Cons are afraid of religious fanatics ever getting in control of a nuclear arsenal. Mutally-Assured-Destruction would not sway a Wahhabist.

Dano, our present military and political brass is probably baffled the Chinese (perhaps with Japanese assistance) have not been able to dissuade the North Koreans and their leader. I imagine they were suprised when Kim Jong Il turned out to be the man he is, and are mystified as to why that man doesn't seemingly want to better his country's circumstances (they are horribly poor, despite the megalomania) instead of thumbing the eye of the rest of the world with military threats derived from nuclear arms.

However, it really does make sense for a Communist regime that holds its own people more-or-less hostage (N.Koreans aren't allowed to emigrate) that would no doubt be voted out of power if elections were ever held, to not want to be a democracy. With (most) of the rest of the world decidedly against their form of authoritarian government from without and the eagerness of their own populace (as any human beings would be) desire to leave N.Korea from within, nuclear arms are a safety blanket for despots to threaten everyone with. "You'll take my gun after you pry it from my cold, dead hands"-type of mentality. The brass in N.Korea would probably be strung up if the people were liberated to do so, and nukes are the way that same brass wants to keep that from happening. If we felt for sure N.Korea could eviscerate Los Angelos and San Fran, we wouldn't move on them. The Chinese would probably have the same fear about their cities. Pyongang is a hermit's kingdom.

I keep coming back to Israel as the Neo-Cons main motivator. They are preoccupied with "clearing out" the middle east of would-be trouble for her long term. Keeping nukes away from the middle east is a way of assuring Israel that she would never be threatened by other middle eastern states. Although the will to keep Iran from having nukes could probably be thwarted by the world not needing her number one consumer product, oil. I dont think the Iranians are as determined as Kim Jong Il, who would see his nation in starvation to keep putting precious resources in a nuclear program. They'd halt it in order to be prosperous. N.Korea apparently doesn't care.

Thats why I keep banging the drumbeat for new fuels. Oil is what ultimately gives the mullahs power. Those economies would be hurt to an extent that nukes and other WMD's would be the last thing on the leader's mind if the G-8 could "get off" the oil "drug". N.Korea, however, is a different story. I just see a ruling hegemonic elite there that does not want to give up their lives of underage boys and girl, hookers, priveledge and wealth to bring that country to prosperity. They'd be out of their good gig, perhaps killed by their former gulagees, and definitely off "the party". Its a prison-state. Hopefully ostracization from the rest of the earth until Kim's inevitable death (what we are still waiting for in Cuba) will give the opportunity for change in that country. Im still suprised China puts up with it though. If Cuba for instance, developed nuclear weapons close to our own shores................Im very confident we'd destroy those weapons and oust that government.

July 07, 2006 9:58 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Obviously China doesn't fear NK's nukes, which makes sense. If NK attacked the U.S., we would absolutely devastate it - no doubt. After 9/11, I know many people who were puzzled why we weren't just nuking Afghanistan, that's how bad the anger was. We would just completely destroy N.Korea if they attacked us. China would do the same.

The reason we can't attack N. Korea now is that they have 13,000 pieces of artillery aimed right at Seoul, which means they could kill tens of thousands within minutes of an attack. So our hands are rather tied.

July 07, 2006 10:49 PM  
Anonymous Dano said...

Giving China credit that it wouldn't nuke korea if they attacked to put in new government they would be stuck like we are in Iraq. Plus they share a border which if I am in NK I want out as soon as the opportunity arises.

As anyone with High school age children knows the asians are way smarter than we are.

July 08, 2006 8:35 AM  
Blogger NewsVeiws said...

I agree, it's not ''about the oil'' OR about ''the neocons'' or even ''9/11-related''.
To president bush ''get saddam'' was as much a part of his own personal agenda as his desire for another '86-style ''amnesty for illegals''.
Nothing more, nothing less...

July 09, 2006 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Derek Copold said...

I think any search for ONE BIG CAUSE is futile. Iraq went down because a number of things came together to make it so. Oil, Isreal, neocon teleology, Bush's desire to one-up Daddy, Saddam's vulnerability, and the aftermath of 9/11 all came together at the same time to create storm conditions. Take any one or two of these things away, and the invasion probably would not have happened.

July 10, 2006 9:16 PM  
Blogger NewsVeiws said...

I disaagree Derek. As I said ''get saddam'' was #3 on his list of 'Things to do after the oath of office'. 9/11 acutally 'threw a monkey wrench' into his plans. He wanted 'amnasty' finished first. That he used 9/11 as an excuse for 'get saddam' is obvious.
While 9/11 made the 'get saddam' part of his agenda easier, it also made the 'amnasty' part vastly more difficult...

July 11, 2006 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Dano said...

Newsview what was #2 on the list?

July 11, 2006 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Derek Copold said...

I don't deny that W would have liked to have gotten Saddam, but that would have been nearly impossible without having 9/11 to browbeat the Democrats and moderate Republicans into giving him his resolution allowing armed action. Motivation alone won't do it. You need the means. Politically speaking, that was sorely lacking before 9/11.

July 12, 2006 1:30 AM  
Anonymous gcochran said...

At this point, I think it's a Seinfeld war: a war about nothing.

July 14, 2006 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Harlem said...

As is not unusual, I am somewhere in the middle here.
I think the best evidence that it is "mostly" about oil is the emphasis put on Iraq vs. Afghanistan after 9/11. We went in to Afghanistan but not with the resolve, fire power and determination that we went into Iraq with, even though we knew (or had good reason to believe) that was where OBL was. Why the difference? It's, in my opinion, a combination of oil and Bush's "Daddy fixation" with Iraq.
As Dano points out, if it was all about "American Imperialism" (spreading democracy), there are clearly many softer targets in Africa as well as South & Central America. It's the oil, they've just f*cked it up and clearly underestimated the resistance or overestimated our ability to roll over same.
We are, so far, sitting back and watching Isreal, the Palestinians & Lebanon raise the stakes over the past few days. We are not stepping in because we know Isreal can take care of itself, with us standing behind them like the bully ready to pounce if things get too hairy for our little buddy.
Forget North Korea. I'm confident that China will address that (along with Japan) when they view it as a true threat. It doesn't need to be a direct threat to either country to prompt them to act. Just the idea that their major trading partner (us) could be harmed will be enough to make them act. I also think China will step up as a means of solidifying themselves as a major politcal world power (read old USSR)in order to try to change the world balance from there being only one superpower. Relax, when the time comes, China will step in and Kim Jong Il will disappear and a new China supported leader will emerge. Not necessarily different, just new.
At the risk of beating a dead horse, I'll say we need to concentrate our efforts on getting the hell out of Iraq and reconstituting our forces. Time to play some defense, which includes the aggressive pursuit of alternative energy sources.

July 14, 2006 6:25 PM  

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