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War for oil ? I don't think so
ifihadahif Posted: Thu Jan 15 15:29:22 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  A War for Oil?
By Paul Geary and Tom Elia

In its opposition to the War on Iraq, one of the most common refrains emanating from anti-war opponents on the Left has been that the War in Iraq was "a war for oil."

The argument has taken two forms. The most primitive iteration of the argument claims that President Bush waged war on Iraq to enrich his friends in the oil industry and to give the US control of Iraq's vast oil reserves.

The adherents of this belief (more like an article of faith to many on the far Left) eschewed all other reasons given for going to war in Iraq, calling them "lies." To them, this war represented a grab for Iraq's most precious natural resource by the politicians "bought and sold" by "Big Oil."

The second more nuanced argument proffered by the Left (particularly the Democratic Party candidates for president) had to thread the smaller eye of a needle--not wanting to alienate the fringes of their party, but at the same time trying to stay away from the simple-mindedness of its "war for oil" argument--instead choosing to try and link a specific oil industry company, Halliburton (actually an oil services company), with its famous former ties to Vice President Cheney, to no-bid contracts and war profiteering (as evidenced by the recent claims of alleged overcharging on gasoline purchases by Halliburton totaling over $60 million).

This argument had the advantage of not sounding quite so simple as the first, while still holding the interest of the "war for oil" crowd (so important for keeping the base energized in the upcoming elections) by involving a big, bad oil company complete with ties to an important administration official.

Both arguments at least held their own--with the second argument gaining political and media traction--until the entire premise was dealt some doses of reality in the last few weeks.

The first "war for oil" argument was dispatched when, on January 8th, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bush administration plans to hand over the operation of the Iraqi oil fields to a proposed Iraqi state oil company, modeled after those in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Presumably the Iraqis would take full control of the operation perhaps next summer when the new government takes over.

This would mean that US oil companies would not control the oil--or the profits coming from its sale--the Iraqis would.

The second argument was severely damaged when SEC documents released November 7th revealed that Halliburton's activities in Iraq for the first three quarters of 2003 yielded just $46 million in operating profits on $1.3 billion in sales, a margin of about 3.5%. (When Cheney took office, Halliburton was trading around $50; in 2002 it traded around $10; it is now trading about $28, tracking approximately with the rest of the stock market the last twelve months.)

Then on January 7th the New York Times reported that the Defense Department doesn't believe that Halliburton overcharged the military for gasoline (it was locked into a long-term contract it had signed with a Kuwaiti firm when the price was higher).

Despite the fact that Democrats had charged Halliburton with profiteering, the company made a 3.5% profit on all its business in Iraq for the first three quarters of the year and wasn't guilty of "gouging the taxpayer" on the infamous gasoline deal.

If the Bush administration has been trying to help US oil companies in general, and Halliburton specifically, it's not done a very good job so far.

However, compare these facts with what Democratic candidates for president have been saying.

Howard Dean: "George W. Bush is preventing entire nations from bidding on contracts in Iraq so his campaign contributors can continue to overcharge the American taxpayers."

John Edwards says he would end the "war-profiteering."

Dick Gephardt: "(the) policy in Iraq of putting the corporate special interests first is unacceptable."

Wesley Clark said the president is "more concerned about the success of Halliburton than having a success strategy in Iraq."

Unfortunately, it's become axiomatic that honest disagreement with administration policy isn't enough even for prominent Democrats. The discourse has degenerated into a pitched battle over who can convince us that the administration is fundamentally corrupt, and that George W. Bush is a bad, bad man fighting for the oil profits of US firms.

No matter the facts.

mat_j Posted: Sat Jan 17 23:26:30 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  He's absolutly fucking right, it wasn't a war for oil, think of all the glass you could make with that sand and a nuke.


ifihadahif Posted: Sun Jan 18 08:41:49 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  mat_j said:
>He's absolutly fucking right, it wasn't a war for oil, think of all the glass you could make with that sand and a nuke.

that's exactly what I thought.
We could own the chandelier market !

addi Posted: Sun Jan 18 09:27:10 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  mat_j said:
>He's absolutly fucking right, it wasn't a war for oil, think of all the glass you could make with that sand and a nuke.

LOL!! Good one, mat!



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