1,000 Souls for Oil?

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Iran, United States Of America Views: 4206

The tragic milestone of 1,000 U.S. deaths in the Iraqi quagmire should cause introspection about why the United States really went to war and whether it has been worth it. While the Bush administration's public justifications never really added up, evidence exists that there was a hidden agenda behind the invasion of Iraq: securing oil.

Saddam never had a collaborative relationship with al Qaeda. Even if Saddam's nuclear weapons program had made more progress than his crude attempt at a restart-the worst case-it was known to be less advanced than those of North Korea and Iran. As for giving expensive nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons to unpredictable terrorist groups: Iraq was less of a state-sponsor of terrorism than Iran or Syria and didn't sponsor groups that focused their attacks on the United States. After no "weapons of mass destruction" or Iraqi links with al Qaeda were found, the Bush administration's fallback rationale for war was liberating oppressed peoples and creating democracy that would spread throughout the Middle East. Of course, this social engineering project also could have been attempted in Syria, Iran, or with U.S. Gulf allies, such as Saudi Arabia, albeit probably no more successfully than in Iraq.

So if the many and shifting stated justifications for the invasion fall apart under scrutiny, the average citizen is left to search for a legitimate secret reason for what has now become a deadly debacle. More evidence exists to support the unspoken theory of securing oil, than other covert motives. Some have alleged the war was a neo-conservative plan to take out a potential enemy of Israel. There may be some truth to this argument. But after making peace with the most menacing Arab nation-Egypt-and purportedly possessing hundreds of nuclear weapons, Israel is now relatively secure from existential threats. Besides, most experts agreed that Iran was closer to being a nuclear threat to Israel than Iraq. Syria was a bigger conventional threat than Saddam's regime because of its contiguous border with the Jewish state.

Others have speculated that Bush the younger and Vice President Cheney were sensitive to criticism that Bush the elder and Secretary of Defense Cheney didn't finish off Saddam when they had the chance. There may be some truth to that speculation as well.

Although the "help Israel" or "unfinished business" lines of reasoning may have played a role in the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq, confirming those hypotheses is challenging. More evidence exists to support the thesis that war was conducted to secure oil. Attempting to justify the march to war, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz implicitly argued that a U.S. invasion of Iraq could lower America's target profile from attacks by Islamist terrorists by allowing the removal of the U.S. military presence from the holy land of Saudi Arabia. Persian Gulf oil could be guarded from new military bases in Iraq, which are now being built. 

Bluntly admitting that the Iraq war was to protect oil might make it appear that United States engaged in imperial wars to grab resources, much like the Japanese did prior to World War II. So Wolfowitz was more indirect.

But is the conventional wisdom correct that the United States needs to exchange blood for oil? Many economists don't think so. Before the first Gulf War, two Nobel laureates in economics-Milton Friedman on the right and James Tobin on the left-stated that no war for oil was needed. 

In fact, the Persian Gulf countries need to sell oil more than the United States needs to buy it. Oil accounts for between 65 and 95 percent of the exports of Persian Gulf nations. In contrast, oil makes up only about 7 percent of U.S. imports. Thus, most states, whether their governments are friendly to the United States or not, have a huge incentive to export oil into the world market. 

Even when oil prices are periodically high, adverse economic effects are vastly overstated. The economic stagflation of the late 1970s was falsely attributed to rising petroleum prices originating from the 1973 "oil crisis". Instead bad economic policies of the U.S. government-for example, price controls and excessively lax monetary policy-were more to blame than high oil prices. In fact, economist Douglas Bohi has estimated that the petroleum shocks of the 1970s reduced the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by only .35 percent. More recently, according to Donald Losman of the National Defense University, although Germany faced a crude oil price increase of 211 percent between the fourth quarter of 1998 and third quarter of 2000, it experienced economic growth with falling unemployment and inflation.

The United States imports roughly 20 percent of its oil from the Persian Gulf. From the Far East, America imports about 80 percent of semiconductors-another product that is crucial for the U.S. economy and national security. Yet Washington never worries about shortages of or high prices for East Asian circuits and does not intervene militarily to make supplies of them secure. 

So even oil, the most defensible of the potential unstated reasons for invading Iraq, doesn't turn out to be very defensible at all. Could 1,000 Americans have died in vain?

Ivan Eland is the Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California and author of the book, Putting "Defense" Back into U.S. Defense Policy: Rethinking U.S. Security in the Post-Cold War World.

  Category: Americas, World Affairs
  Topics: Iran, United States Of America
Views: 4206

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Older Comments:
Imaan means FAITH...it is not my name, my name is Akbar Khan. Goes to show, you didn't understand a word of my post, since that is what my entire post was about. Look at you talking about - the more people who are killed, the longer the US will stay - or how you said that - the US does not attack innocent civilians unless they are first attacked - WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH, don't try to sneak yourself out of this one by sweeping the crimes of Abu Ghraib and the carpet bombings and daily killings of Iraqi's under the rug!

I have looked at more than just two sides to the story. There are MORE sides in favour of getting the US out of Iraq than to keep them there.

I really have no sympathy for your comment, it is lame and undeserving of compassion. You rave about how you have seen people die, but that doesn't make you judge, jury and prosecutor. Only Iraqi's, (NOT YOU superhero) have the right to govern themselves. By you continually pushing your lie to spread democracy and establishing infrastructures in Iraq, all the while not giving the people of Iraq the opportunity to rule themselves, well then all you are doing is giving everyone the typical DOUBLE TALK that comes from the mouths of Pro-War goon heads. You profess that you want to spread freedom, yet on the other hand, you like having dictatorial rulers just as long as they obey your every command. Stop talking one thing and doing another - This is probably the biggest dilemma that faces people who refuse to truly understand the situation in Iraq. False pretenses, lack of UN support, or International Support, false allegations against the nation, timing alongside the sept 11 attacks to use it as a launching pad to take advantage of American emotions to invade Iraq, and then lastly gloat about it in the end that "we removed a terrible dictator" - Wow, we really see the benefits of that. Since your "Mission Accomplished," 850 US Solders have died out of 1000.

You should not believe what the liberal press is feeding the world. They only center on the negative. Incase you haven't noticed, the US was founded on religious freedom. The west is not there to convert or make the people into something they are not.
The civilized world is not out to get you. Try this on for size; you are an engineer trying to help rebuild and upgrade Iraq into a more economically sound country. You require personal protection to move from place to place. But, on one of your journeys the vehicle you are traveling in is hit by a wall of machine gun fire. The people protecting you return fire and flee. That sounds to me like a bad way to do business. It is a purely defensive strategy. You would have me believe that all the military personnel in Iraq are indiscriminately killing everyone in sight. I don't think so! Everyone in the world knows the US cannot fire at anyone unless they are fired upon. If there are women and children, the soldiers just have to avoid the area at all costs. No they don't shoot back. They just pick up their wounded and move. That's right.
Yea, I know what it's like to loose friends. You don't hear me complaining or saying that Islam is wrong. Maybe you should think about the hatred that is flowing trough your veins. The more innocents that are killed the longer the US will stay. If one would review the history books, they might find a way to deal with the terrible tyrants of the west.
There is an argument for every side of the story, a logical argument. Just as you and I exchange views in a civilized fashion.
I am not your enemy and I am definitely not a killer. But you don't care about any of that. Peace

Hey Sam, let me share something with you...you should be more than greatful that Canada is your neighbour. If it were not for Canada, there would be no hope for people like you who think that you can get blood out of a stone. The Ummah's faith will forever be there. You cannot shake it, you cannot diminish it, you cannot extinguish it. Coercing a nation of people to accept values which they deem are against their faith and their way of life, will only make people who support the cause which you believe in suffer, and likewise, many innocent people, Iraqi civilians to die. You go and tell those families in Iraq who have lost their loved ones that you are KILLING IN ORDER TO BRING ABOUT PEACE.

It's thinking and box-minded people like you who know nothing about the value of life, and human dignity. If you keep thinking the way you do, all that will happen is that you will keep digging a HOLE for yourself until the Earth swallows you up, and then, there's no running away or gettin away with comments and actions like yours. I think your response to Ahmed is Cowardly, and Repulsive...good luck with getting blood out of this stone, this Ummah which carries the strongest thing in existence that connects mankind with Al-Rab Al-Aalameen - IMAAN.

Where are you from, Canada? Like you know anything. Stay there and be an academic or whatever you want to be. Or, maybe you can go to Iraq, I've aready been, I bet you would make a bunch of friends. You know, I helped alot more than I hurt, that includes the people of Iraq. It's people like you that need to get a clue. Or, maybe you are the OTHER PEOPLE? Whatever, Peace

Oh spare us ..Sam. Its you who has no idea what you're talking about. You obviously are living in a fools paradise repeating the same old tired lies your incompetent leaders tell you.
Perhaps you should demand to be shipped of to Iraq to partake in your holy mission of rape and plunder. Either way, the result will be the same, western terrorists will be able to wreck the lives od millions of innocents and walk away with the riches claiming to be doing it in the name of democracy they dont even believe.

You have no idea what is going on in Iraq right now. Oil is not half as important as everyone thinks. If you all had any idea about the geo-political effect a democracy would have on that region, you might understand. Americans fight for what they believe and for hope. They can tell the difference between a person carrying an RPG vs. a shovel or some other constructive tool. It sounds to me like the individuals writing in this column only want to see women oppressed and the old ways where people are not equal, remain. Weak! Stop being angry and think. Teach your people about something other than hatred. Muslims are a strong and powerful people, stop living in the past and live in the future.
The true enemy is the men running around in PJs. Don't worry, peace will come, and the westerners will not stop until freedom is realized. You will see this catch like wildfire throughout the land. Just try to deny the people who deserve it. Don't comment on a place or region unless you have been there. Dealing with Israel does not count. There is a big difference. Both sides are lost in that WAR.

There is a saying "Lies, Damn lies & statistics".
The persentage is of no value unless it is tied down to how much is paid for 20% of the oil imported & how much on the other hand is paid for the alleged 80% of semiconductors. not to escape the picture that most of the semiconductor companies are parteners with American companies, that is to say American companies share in the profit generated from processing silicon, another word for SAND!!!!!!!!!!!!.

90000 + to go and more $billions of tax money for the Bush subjects to pay, then we can call it even. May it be EXTREMELY painfull for all the supporters of the current US administration.

I don't think you can compare semi-conductors to oil, even though like oil, the US economy is highly dependent on semi-conductors from Asia, it's not a limited natural resource, for one primary reason...OIL IS a limited natural resource and something which hte US economy is highly dependent on, so in that sense the two are incomparable.

On the other hand...US and British oil companies are blood thirsty bandits who will do anything to get fat and green.

Why not you add another 100,000 Iraqi SOULS into this? Why the other conveniently forgot those 100,000 souls?
Is it because number 100,000 IS LESS THAN 1,000 in order to consider or it's because they are Muslims?

It is of course true oil is one major reason for Bush invading Iraq. Yet it is true all khafiroon when they are greedy and want something that khafiroon have no morals and they do care of any consquences. Even when they fail with their evil schemes they dismiss it and pretend then go on to their next targets. So it does not matter whether deaths of their USA combatant invaders are 1,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 or more. This is how the khafiroon achieve things in life most they do not even deserve Khafiroon can never be trusted regardless age, sex, race or where they are from.

Why is everybody complaining about 1000 dead soldiers? This is war, folks. If you want to fight war, better get ready for some blood, even blood of your own soldiers; otherwise, don't get involved in any war. You cannot become an empire if you are not ready to shed blood, especially your own.

1000 dead!! Hell, old days there used to be 1000 casualties in one episode and nobody worried. Why worry so much now is beyond my comprehension?

1000 dead!!! Hell, we kill 50,000 every year on our highways in US just to automobile accidents; and half of them are due to drunk driving; do we really care about 50,000; hell, no; if we did, we would have made extremely tough drunk driving laws (like automatic suspensation of driver's license for 5 years, even if you had one beer and were on the road).

How many thousands we kill every year due to handguns!! Do we really care about these deaths? Hell, no. We always go for selling more guns and the most potent ones.

So what is this litany by the whole country of 1000 dead soldiers, when we don't give me a damn about vast number of other dead, especially by having terrible system of health care in US; no money, no access to health care; and today 45 MILLION have no access to health care; is anybody counting who die because of lack of health care. No, nobody is paying attention among the Compassionate Conservatives.

Crocodile tears. Usual Hypocrisy.

Hell, I worry about 200 BILLION spent on this useless war so far and no end in sight; may be it will eat up 1000 Billion dollars before it is over. Could buy lot of health care.

1000 dead!!! Give me a break.

Quit worrying. Shed blood. Enjoy being an empire.