Friday, May 04, 2007

Iraq was a war to stop the flow of oil

* scott horton interviewed Palast - palast (again) raises an issue that we've been discussing lately:
"(Iraq) was not a 'war for oil', it was a war to stop the flow of oil"

Simon weighs in:
Karen Kwiatowski at least concedes the possibility that the decision, as she somewhat euphemistically puts it, to "do" Iraq goes back to 1991. She doesn't believe, or doesn't want to believe, that all of this occurred just because one man wanted to show his own dad that he was a finer cut made of the same cloth.

We have to go back to 1991 to explore whether any of this could be true.

On January 9 1991 President George Herbert Walker Bush sent a letter to Saddam Hussein via his Secretary of State James Baker. Mr. Baker in turn handed the letter to Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, at a six-hour meeting to discuss possible Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait before the expiration of the U.N. deadline, then just five days away, as called for by U.N. Resolution 678, which demanded that Iraq complied fully with resolution 660 [1990], and subsequent resolutions 661, 662, 664, 665, 666, 667, 669, 670, 674 and 677, with full regard to Iraq withdrawing immediately and unconditionally from Kuwait. Mr. Aziz read this letter, and considering it to be threatening, refused to accept the missive. As part of the letter, President Bush had written:

"Let me explain that the United States will not tolerate the use of chemical or biological weapons, nor the destruction of the oil wells and installations in Kuwait. Furthermore, you will be held directly responsible for any act of terrorism against any member of the coalition. If you order any such reckless act, the American people will ask me for the hardest reprisal and you, as well as your country will pay a terrible price. I am writing this letter not to threaten you, but to notify you I am doing this without the least sense of ease because the American people is not at odds with the Iraqi people."

On January 15 President Bush signed National Security Directive 54. This document authorised US forces to act in support of the UN resolutions; furthermore it broadly placed the above conditions into the form of a Presidential Directive for all time, this from Paragraph 10:

"Should Iraq resort to using chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons, or be found supporting terrorist acts against the U.S. or coalition partners anywhere in the world, or destroy Kuwait's oil fields, it shall become an explicit objective of the United States to replace the current leadership of Iraq. I also want to preserve the option of authorizing additional punitive actions against Iraq."

It now appears that Saddam Hussein did commit many of these acts despite being specifically warned against doing so by the US President. In committing these actions he deliberately and knowingly called the US President's bluff. In fact it is highly likely that the only one of these acts which he did not commit was that of using a nuclear weapon, this was simply because he did not possess one.

President Bush later demonstrated great remorse for not being able to remove Saddam Hussein from power at this time. Whilst being interviewed by ABC's This Week his then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, upon being asked why Operation Desert Storm had not gone "all the way" to remove Saddam Hussein from power, said: "I think for us to get American military personnel involved in a civil war inside Iraq would literally be a quagmire" and: "Once we got to Baghdad, what would we do? Who would we put in power? What kind of government? Would it be a Sunni government, a Shia government, a Kurdish government? Would it be secular, along the lines of the Baath party, would it be fundamentalist Islamic? I do not think the United States wants to have U.S. military forces accept casualties and accept responsibility of trying to govern Iraq. I think it makes no sense at all."

This was not really the predominant motive for promoting and accepting the ceasefire, although it was patently germane (then if not now). The overriding reason for ending the war when and as they did was because a major assault on Baghdad may have provoked Saddam into more serious use of his not-insubstantial stocks of biological weaponry. His line of reasoning is exposed in the Iraq Survey Group Final Report>Regime Strategic Intent>Annex D:

Saddam: We will never lower our heads as long as we are alive, even if we have to destroy everybody.

Given all of this, can anyone really be surprised that President George Bush '43 wanted to put an end to what President George Bush '41 could not because he thought Saddam was a dangerous man?

Did 43 invade Iraq because he thought Saddam was dangerous? That certainly has the benefit of being a simple explanation. (Although 'dangerous' implies both intent and capability, and there are serious doubts about 'capability' in 2003.)


«—U®Anu§—» said...

(singing) Where do I begin to tell the story of how great a love can be? I was up all night before the morning of the preemptive invasion. I went into our usual chatroom (now nonexistant so MSN didn't have to turn over a log of all conversations and IP addresses to the government) and was talking loudly to everyone about women's breasts. They were talking about what they believed were the reasons for going to war, and whatever reasons they gave, I cursed at them and told them to shut up, that I was talking about boobs (real ones, not the falsies working in Washington).

Finally, I told them my version of the bottom line for going to war. Does it still hold up? I said, these guys are crazy. They want to take over the world and think destroying it and killing everybody is how to do it.

Was I wrong to hate war and republicans, and to say that? Tonight's GOP debate was ample proof I was right. That they don't have the political and military acumen to pull it off doesn't mean they don't want it.

Enlightenment said...

Regarding Iraq being a war to "shut down the flow of oil" as the primary reason for invasion and occupation, I would have to respectfully disagree. Though I agree that there are short-term benefits for the oil barons in spike in prices whenever there is even a threat of some of the Middle Eastern oil flow, that would be a bonus but not the primary reason.

The main reason for invading and occupying Iraq would have to be the long-term matter of physically occupying Iraq's oil fields, and installing a puppet "Iraqi" oil ministry to grant sweetheart deals to American oil companies so they can suck the oil and natural gas out of Iraq at cost like they themselves owned it. A nice complacent puppet state with a friendly pro-U.S. puppet government that gladly grants the U.S. military permanent basing rights. Of course that isn't the way it turned out, and they were about as short-sighted and ignorant as they were with the Bay of Pigs fiasco, but that doesn't mean the way it turned out is the way they planned it, rather it is about the opposite. And their puppet "Iraqi" government is seen, both inside Iraq and by the majority of people just about everywhere but in the U.S., for what it is, the neo-colonial American manipulator with an "Iraqi" face. And this quagmire,
by any objective analysis,
has strengthened and is strengthening Iran's hand immeasurably.

So it hasn't gone anywhere near like what they planned, but their main reason for invading and occupying Iraq would have to be the long-term reason of long-term control of Iraq's oil extraction, repairing the years of damage and neglect to Iraq's oil infrastructure and making it into the most efficient oil producer it can be. It is a critical front in their global effort at resource domination which they not-so-convincingly disguise as the "war on terror". And Uranus, I couldn't agree more, "That they don't have the political and military acumen to pull it off doesn't mean they don't want it." And that they didn't have the foresight to see that this is the way it would turn out doesn't mean they intended it this way. The long-term, main reason for the war in Iraq is physical control over Iraq's vast oil resources.

Enlightenment said...

In the first paragraph it should read "a threat TO some of the Middle Eastern oil flow".

«—U®Anu§—» said...

Digby has 2 good articles up, 1 and 2. I can't help but comment...

Enlightenment said...

Uranus-- I'm sorry, but could you paste the addresses of the articles on here please? I don't know why but it won't click on them. I mean when I click on them it doesn't do anything. Maybe it's because I don't have Javascript but I couldn't get them to work. I think I found one of them on Digby but I'm not sure if it's one of the 2 you were talking about. Thanks very much, and sorry but it's an old computer.

«—U®Anu§—» said...

Sure: The Reassuring Old Line @ and St. Ronnie and the Mulletheads @ Seeing the GOP candidate pool was deeply troubling. I should be used to it by now.

Enlightenment said...

Thanks Uranus, I will check them out. And yes, the GOP debate, from the short amount of it I could stomach watching it seemed like a night at the B├╝rgerbrau Keller.

«—U®Anu§—» said...

I switched to Comedy Central. I couldn't believe the idiotic shit they were saying. It might play in Tel Aviv, but it wasn't the kind of thing a majority in the U.S. wants to hear.

Enlightenment said...

Two good articles about the GOP candidates Uranus, good call. Of special note:

"I, for one, found it extremely "reassuring" that only three out of ten of the Republican candidates for president don't believe in evolution."

Yes, and it seems that ten out of ten haven't been beneficiaries of evolution. To call them cavemen is an insult to cavemen.

lukery said...

i wish evolution was more discerning

Simon said...

it was a war to stop the flow of oil

I think it is far far easier to argue that the sanctions policy of the US against Iraq (which ran from 1991 up to 2003) was in part designed to keep the oil, as far as was possible, firmly buried in the ground. Partly to punish Saddam for his actions and partly to preserve it for the future. I don't though really think that this was a factor behind the thinking for this lastest war. Far more important is the fact that the oil gets sold in Dollars, rather than any other currency, reserve or otherwise.

Where Enlightenment says: The long-term, main reason for the war in Iraq is physical control over Iraq's vast oil resources., I myself would have said The long-term, main benefit of the war in Iraq is fiscal control over Iraq's vast oil resources. What is happening now is about control of the oil, I don't disagree with that, it is the nature of that control that I would dispute. As to the actual roots of the invasion, as I have stated, I think this is all directly linked back to GWI. There were and are many secondary reasons for the continued occupation of Iraq. As to the primary reason, I continue to believe that this was in essence a personal struggle between just two men. George Bush '43 saw that Saddam was dangerous. He knew that in some regards Saddam had gotten the better of his old man. He feared Saddam too. So he struck out, just like the cowboy that he is, against the rattlesnake that was disturbing his (and his wider family's) peace of mind.

noise said...

Any financial experts know how the euro plays into the petrodollar motive? Why didn't Bush declare war on the Eurozone countries if one of the primary concerns is preserving the dollar as foundation of oil trading?

«—U®Anu§—» said...

Other reasons I gave the day the war started were oil, euro trading vs. the dollar, balance of economic and political power, profiteering...but I was a little off, according to Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski:

The neoconservatives needed to do more than just topple Saddam Hussein. They wanted to put in a government friendly to the U.S., and they wanted permanent basing in Iraq. There are several reasons why they wanted to do that. None of those reasons, of course, were presented to the American people or to Congress.

PNAC is alive and well.

lukery said...

Any financial experts know how the euro plays into the petrodollar motive?

Noise - AFAIC, this is a red-herring - at least in the prime sense. That is, if oil is moved to a non-USD bourse, then both the supply and demand for USD shuold fall by the same amount... there is a separate issue about where/whether/how oil profits are repatriated. (e.g Palast was saying the other day on Horton that all Saudi profits are kept in the US)

noise said...

That was an exceptional interview.

Interesting about the prime sense. I wonder why some people who push the currency motive don't focus more on the eurozone side of it. Creating the eurozone was a gradual process and so was the climb in value vs. the dollar.

Yet I don't recall any overt US threats towards the eurozone countries.

lukery said...

if i'm not mistaken, wasn't Mahatir trying to create a 'muslim' currency basket for trading oil? that would make the euro thing a walk in the park :-)

of course, the USD has been sinking like crazy anyway.

speaking of interviews - i was 'half' going to be on AirAmerica today discussing barlow - but it looks like we'll do it in a few weeks when more of the articles have been published.