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Friday, June 16, 2006

it's the oil, stupid

Greg Palast has a new book out, which I have not read, called Armed Madhouse. It covers many topics, but among other things it apparently purports that the war in Iraq was fought chiefly over oil. William Norman Grigg offers some comments in this post.
...Palast, in his new book Armed Madhouse, offers a pretty plausible answer to this question: Why did the US invade Iraq?

Short answer: It's the oil, stupid – and the point is not to sell it, but to control it.

This may seem like taking the long way around to an obvious conclusion, but Palast finds what I'd consider to be formidable – if not incontestable – support for his conclusions in pre-war reports about Iraq issued by the CFR.

In December 2000, while Bush and Gore were both trying to cheat their way to victory in the protracted presidential election, the CFR and the Houston-based James A. Baker III Institute at Rice University convened a Joint Task Force on Petroleum.

The final report of that body, produced with “the generous support of Khalid al-Turki” of Saudi Arabia, and published in April 2001, concluded that “Iraq has become a key `swing' producer [of petroleum], posing a difficult situation for the US government.... Saddam is a `destabilizing influence ... to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East.”

Therefore, concluded the CFR report, the US “should conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq, including military, energy, economic, and political/diplomatic assessments.”

That report – according to Palast, who cites individuals who participated in its composition -- “was handed directly to Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney met secretly with CFR task force members and other energy industry comrades to go over the maps of Iraq's oil fields. That, apparently, sealed it.”...
I've always believed that oil may have played a major role in the U.S. invasion of Iraq, but I never thought that could be the only reason; for example, there's the neocon dream of a "democratized" Middle East, support for Israel (whether the current war actually supports them is debatable), the excuse to crack down on civil liberties and increase the power of the federal governemnt (especially the executive branch), and the general benefits that any war offers the military/industrial complex. Since there's been no discernable connection between Iraq and 9/11, I've never believed the official line that it was part of any real "war on terror". But I'm intrigued enough from this new information supporting the oil angle that I may have to check out Armed Madhouse.

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