News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Don't Say It's About! It's about the Oil...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Don't Say It's About! It's about the Oil...

As I wrote several years ago, the question of why the US is in Iraq is about oil. Though the many innocent and trusting faces of people don't wish to believe this, well... read Alan Greenspan or any other knowing clone. It is about the oil, was about the oil, and will continue to be about the oil. And if you think that Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat will leave Iraq for humanitarian reasons, you are barking up a dead tree.

I have been thinking that the Bushistas may indeed have won and that I and my paranoia about getting out of Iraq were simply self-delusive. Why I haven't had time to elucidate these inchoate intimations is another story. Needless to say, some wits and bright bulbs have beat me to the punch. They do see that Bush et al indeed have won their war, and (as Rupert Murdoch would say) at minimal cost to highly fungible resources.

Robert Holt writes (via Empire Burlesque):

Presiding over this Balkanised Iraq will be a weak federal government in Baghdad, propped up and overseen by the Pentagon-scale US embassy that has just been constructed – a green zone within the Green Zone. As for the number of US troops permanently stationed in Iraq, the defence secretary, Robert Gates, told Congress at the end of September that ‘in his head’ he saw the long-term force as consisting of five combat brigades, a quarter of the current number, which, with support personnel, would mean 35,000 troops at the very minimum, probably accompanied by an equal number of mercenary contractors. (He may have been erring on the side of modesty, since the five super-bases can accommodate between ten and twenty thousand troops each.) These forces will occasionally leave their bases to tamp down civil skirmishes, at a declining cost in casualties. As a senior Bush administration official told the New York Times in June, the long-term bases ‘are all places we could fly in and out of without putting Americans on every street corner’. But their main day-to-day function will be to protect the oil infrastructure.

This is the ‘mess’ that Bush-Cheney is going to hand on to the next administration. What if that administration is a Democratic one? Will it dismantle the bases and withdraw US forces entirely? That seems unlikely, considering the many beneficiaries of the continued occupation of Iraq and the exploitation of its oil resources. The three principal Democratic candidates – Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards – have already hedged their bets, refusing to promise that, if elected, they would remove American forces from Iraq before 2013, the end of their first term.

Among the winners: oil-services companies like Halliburton; the oil companies themselves (the profits will be unimaginable, and even Democrats can be bought); US voters, who will be guaranteed price stability at the gas pump (which sometimes seems to be all they care about); Europe and Japan, which will both benefit from Western control of such a large part of the world’s oil reserves, and whose leaders will therefore wink at the permanent occupation; and, oddly enough, Osama bin Laden, who will never again have to worry about US troops profaning the holy places of Mecca and Medina, since the stability of the House of Saud will no longer be paramount among American concerns. Among the losers is Russia, which will no longer be able to lord its own energy resources over Europe. Another big loser is Opec, and especially Saudi Arabia, whose power to keep oil prices high by enforcing production quotas will be seriously compromised.
It's not about the oil. It is the oil. Whatever that means.

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