Iraq Study Group: Get the oil

This will inspire rage in certain quarters of Reformed Leftist, where the the sanctity of US motives in Iraq draws quasi-religious devotion. But in an above-linked article in the LA Times, a writer makes the following case:

All told, the Iraq Study Group has simply made the case for extending the war until foreign oil companies — presumably American ones — have guaranteed legal access to all of Iraq's oil fields and until they are assured the best legal and financial terms possible.


Paul Hue said...

None of this amounts to "stealing" oil, for one thing. And for another, with the people of the Arabian 2/3's having demonstrating a greater fondness for tyranny than freedom, what is left to accomplish there? Take a look to the Kurdish 1/3 for an accurate image of what Bush II and the other neocons want as a first draft of a free, democratic, and prosperous Arabia.

Paul Hue said...

From the article:
Recommendation No. 63, which calls on the U.S. to "assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise" and to "encourage investment in Iraq's oil sector by the international community and by international energy companies." This recommendation would turn Iraq's nationalized oil industry into a commercial entity that could be partly or fully privatized by foreign firms.

I can't imagine a better suggestion for maximizing the financial benefits to the maximum number of Iraqis. But I can understand why socialists would interpret this to indicate that Bush fought a "war to rob oil." Socialists believe that Walmart causes a net harm to poor people in particular, and the entire US in general, after all. They also believe that US oil firms rape the US population, hording wealth and making less wealth available to other Americans, especially poor Americans.

Paul Hue said...

My suggestion: Envelope all Iraqi oil fields in a single public corporation. Take an Iraqi census for a given date, counting all citizens. Multiply that by two, dividing this corporation into that many shares. Give each Iraqi citizen in the census one share, and put the rest of the shares up for international auction.

Paul Hue said...

"Much to the deep frustration of the U.S. government and American oil companies, that law has still not been passed."

So much for characterizations of the Iraqi govt as a puppet of either the US govt or oil companies or both!

Paul Hue said...

"oil executives told him that their companies would not enter Iraq without passage of the new oil law."

That's the threat? Seems like a fine one to me. Some free corporate officers tell officials of an independent govt the conditions of their participation. If the govt officials don't like those conditions, they can decline the business offer. What's wrong with this?

Tom Philpott said...

No, the Baker groop doesn't want to steal the oil; that would be crass. They just want the U.S. government to intervene so that our oil companies get the best deal possible there.

Nadir said...
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Nadir said...

"No, the Baker groop doesn't want to steal the oil; that would be crass. They just want the U.S. government to intervene so that our oil companies get the best deal possible there."

This is correct. We didn't invade Iraq to steal its oil. We invaded Iraq to liberate its people (and its oil) from Saddam Hussein's state owned oil company. The first act of the invasion was to "secure" the oil fields, and the profits from that oil were going to pay for the invasion itself.

If the primary reason for the invasion was for the oil, we certainly can't leave until we have secured access to that oil. This is the true meaning of defeat. Bush would gladly install another gangster like Hussein (or Hamid Karzai) if the oil could be secured for US corporations.

And don't forget that Hussein was going to begin trading oil in Euros (as Iran and Venezuela have since threatened). This is the threat those countries pose to US national security. They could bankrupt the US economy.