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This War is Not for Oil

by Stop the Bullshit Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 11:48 PM

This article explains exactly why the war in Iraq is not for oil.

I am tired of these war protesters saying this war is for oil. They say the war is for oil while not really telling us why it wouldn't make sense for the United States to attack Iraq for its oil. I am not an expert on the subject so I thought maybe you people would become convinced this war is not really for oil if you hear from an expert who actually knows something about oil. His name is Jerry Taylor, and he is an oil expert and the Director of Natural Resources Studies at the Cato Institute in Washington. He has even testified on Capital Hill and served on congressional testimony bodies.

Mr. Taylor spoke to BBC news.com

(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2861721.stm) about this "Blood for Oil" argument. Mr. Taylor says that: "Is the war with Iraq about oil when all is said and done? The anti-war movement seems to think so. I am not so sure.

Unless the peace movement has discovered telepathy, I doubt that it's in any better position to divine the hidden thoughts or secret motivations of George Bush and Tony Blair than I am. Arguing about unstated motives, therefore, is a waste of time - claims cannot be proven or disproven.

Is it so difficult to imagine that both Bush and Blair sincerely believe - rightly or wrongly - that a well-armed Iraq poses an intolerable danger to the civilized world? If access to oil were of concern to them, one might have expected members of their administrations to hint as much. After all, the Thatcher and Bush "senior" administrations were quite open about the role that oil played in justifying the first go-around in Kuwait. Polls in the United States revealed at the time, moreover, that the public responded favourably to the argument. Why the supposed reticence now?

Regardless, it's difficult to know exactly what's being alleged when one is confronted by the slogan "No Blood for Oil!"

If the argument is that war is primarily being executed to ensure global access to Iraqi oil reserves, then it flounders upon misunderstanding. The only thing preventing Iraqi oil from entering the world market in force is the partial U.N. embargo on Iraqi exports. Surely if access to Iraqi oil were the issue, it would have occurred to Bush and Blair that removing the embargo is about 100 billion dollars cheaper - and less politically risky - than going to war.

If the argument is that war is being undertaken to grab Iraqi reserves, flood the market with oil, bust the OPEC cartel, and provide cheap energy to western consumers, then war would be a dagger pointed at the heart of big oil companies. That's because low prices equal low profits. But if the market were flooded with cheap Iraqi oil, it would also wipe out the small-time producers in Texas, Oklahoma, and the American Southwest that President Bush has long considered his best political friends.

Accordingly, it's impossible to square this story with the allegation that President Bush is a puppet of the oil industry. If oil company "fat cats" were calling the shots - as is often alleged by the protesters - President Bush would almost certainly not go to war. He would instead embrace the Franco-German-Russian plan of muscular but indefinite inspections. Because keeping the world on the precipice of uncertainty regarding conflict is the best guarantee that oil prices, (and thus, oil profits,) will remain at current levels.

If the argument is that "Big Oil" is less interested in high prices than it is with outright ownership of the Iraqi reserves, then how can we account for Secretary of State Colin Powell's repeated promise that the oil reserves will be transferred to the Iraqi government after a new leadership is established? Do the protestors think that this high-profile public commitment is a bald-faced lie? If outright ownership of oil is the real goal of this war, then I'm forced to wonder why the U.S. didn't seize the Kuwaiti fields more than 10 years ago.

If the argument is that this war is aimed at installing a pro-American regime more inclined to grant oil contracts to American and British rather than French and Russian oil firms, then it invites a similar charge that France and Russia are against war, primarily to protect their cosy economic relationships with the existing Iraqi regime. Regardless, only one or two American or British firms in this scenario would "win" economically while the rest would lose because increased production would lower global oil prices and thus profits. Because no one knows who would win the post-war contract "lottery," it makes little sense for the oil industry (or the politicians who supposedly cater to them) to support war.

Moreover, the profit opportunities afforded by Iraqi development contracts are overstated. The post-war Iraqi regime would certainly ensure that most of the profits from development were captured by the new government, whose reconstruction needs will be monumental. In fact, Secretary Powell has repeatedly hinted that Iraqi oil revenues would be used for exactly that purpose. Big money in the oil industry goes to those who own their reserves or who secure favourable development contracts, not to those who are forced to surrender most of the profits up-front through negotiation.

If the argument is that the United States is going to war to tame OPEC by ensuring that a puppet regime friendly to America holds the second largest reserves within the cartel, then it runs up against the fact that the United States has never had much complaint with OPEC. Occasional posturing notwithstanding, both have the same goal: stable prices between 20 and 28 dollars a barrel. The cartel wants to keep prices in that range because it maximizes their profits. The United States wants to keep prices in that range because it ensures the continued existence of the oil industry in the United States without doing too much damage to the American economy. The United States doesn't need a client state within the cartel, particularly when the cost of procuring such a state will reach into the hundreds of billions of dollars.

Oil, however, is relevant to this extent: Whoever controls those reserves sits atop a large source of potential revenue which, in the hands of a rogue state, could bankroll a sizeable and dangerous military arsenal. That's why the United States and Great Britain care more about containing the ambitions of Saddam Hussein than, say, the ambitions of Robert Mugabe. Still, if seizing oil fields from anti-western regimes is the name of the game, why aren't U.S. troops massing on the Venezuelan border and menacing Castro "Mini-Me" Hugo Chavez?

In sum, the argument that the war with Iraq is fundamentally about oil doesn't add up. While everyone loves a nice, tidy political morality play, I doubt there is one to be found here."

This quote was an exact copy of the transcript of what Jerry Taylor said. If you still believe this war is for oil then I feel pity for you. You can see the transcript at --

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2861721.stm --- and then click on -Jerry Taylor: the war is not about "blood for oil"-



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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 46 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Cato institute you got to be kidding. OzzyTeppics Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 3:59 AM
The whole thing is a big pile of bullshit Pissed Off in Ohio Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 4:12 AM
MY DAD KILLS FOR THE USA MY DAD KILLS FOR THE USA Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 4:41 AM
To MY Dad Kills Buckeroo Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 4:49 AM
Bullshit Indeed! Jeff Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 5:13 AM
IF IT'S NOT FOR OIL... Fuck All Right Wingers Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 5:28 AM
Rightwingers do it Right Fuck the Protesters Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 6:02 AM
HERE YA GO, FUCK THE PROTESTORS Here's Bambi's Mom Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 6:57 AM
To Stupid Rightwinger Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 7:03 AM
Sheep, Deer...it's all the same TO YOU RIGHT WING FUCKERS Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 7:08 AM
Yes, Yes I will Rightwinger Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 7:12 AM
Liberal Ranting Doesn't Fool Me Stop the Bullshit Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 8:53 AM
Fine, have it your way! Eric Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 1:06 PM
wow wow Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 1:46 PM
Still Bullshit Jeff Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 3:52 PM
For long drawn out Post above Bill Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 4:08 PM
No Blood for oil, you say? Eric Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 5:34 PM
FUCK, ERIC, YOU ARE SO DUMB Eric, Get A Brain Transplant Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 6:32 PM
You are so clueless: BUSH ADMIRER SUCKS CHENEY'S DICK Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 6:43 PM
"legitimate reason" Eric Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 6:53 PM
"legitimate reason" Eric Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 6:54 PM
"legitimate reason" Eric Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 6:54 PM
"legitimate reason" Eric Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 6:54 PM
More? Eric Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 6:57 PM
That's... daveman Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 6:59 PM
Lazy bastards Eric('s conscience) Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 7:01 PM
Ask yourself this question: If they had no oil, would we be there? lame brain Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 7:02 PM
how much oil do they have in Afghanistan? someone else Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 7:09 PM
Someone else, daveman Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 7:15 PM
Oil and Afghanistan GET A CLUE Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 7:16 PM
Someone else, daveman Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 7:16 PM
I know you don't think could be me, could be someone else Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 7:38 PM
Already used to it daveman Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 7:44 PM
Yes, hemp. Sheepdog Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 9:48 PM
yes Sheepdog Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 10:47 PM
Scoreboard linda Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 10:50 PM
Polls do not measure... Diogenes Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 11:03 PM
Sheepdog Sickened Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 11:21 PM
Are dead Iraqi civilians only tragic if Iraqis kill them? Jeff Sunday, Apr. 06, 2003 at 4:53 PM
Re: Legitimate reasons #1-4 Jeff Sunday, Apr. 06, 2003 at 11:39 PM
Jeff: Great Response WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER Sunday, Apr. 06, 2003 at 11:45 PM
hahah Goodie Goodie Monday, Apr. 07, 2003 at 12:53 AM
Boy, ain't that the truth! Read your own words Monday, Apr. 07, 2003 at 5:04 AM

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