Once Again, It's the Oil Stupid

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A tip of the hat to Chris Floyd for making my point and providing the proof. Anyone who thinks we are in Iraq for reasons other than oil isn't paying attention. While pundits scratch their heads; baffled by a President unconcerned with public opinion, rebellious generals, and defections in his own party, Bush and puppet-master Cheney just keep marching forward with their agenda. It's a kind of anti-politics, which must sound to seasoned politicos like a whistle only dogs can hear.

It looks like political suicide but it's simply the Bush Administration fulfilling the purpose for which it was installed, no matter what the peasantry thinks. Bush will have his "surge." Tony Snow has made very clear that no political process can prevent him.

Snow held out hope that the Democrats would come to their senses about opposing this but admitted it could even be a battle royal. But what about calls for the Democrats to halt the build up by denying funding? Snow admitted congress had funding control but also pointed out that the president could ultimately do what he wants. "You know, Congress has the power of the purse," Snow said, then added: "The President has the ability to exercise his own authority if he thinks Congress has voted the wrong way."

The reason is not mysterious. It's not just political tone-deafness, delusional thinking, or unbridled arrogance. It's that America's will is not invested in the ambitions of the oil barons at the helm. Floyd puts it into perspective.

The reason that George W. Bush insists that "victory" is achievable in Iraq is not because he is deluded or isolated or ignorant or detached from reality or ill-advised. No, it's that his definition of "victory" is different from those bruited about in his own rhetoric and in the ever-earnest disquisitions of the chattering classes in print and on-line. For Bush, victory is indeed at hand. It could come at any moment now, could already have been achieved by the time you read this. And the driving force behind his planned "surge" of American troops is the need to preserve those fruits of victory that are now ripening in his hand.

At any time within the next few days, the Iraqi Council of Ministers is expected to approve a new "hydrocarbon law" essentially drawn up by the Bush Administration and its UK lackey, the Independent on Sunday reports.

As per the Independent, big oil, whose front men are still squatting in the White House, is about to achieve the objective for which this war was launched.

Iraq's massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days.

The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.

The Independent takes pains to point out that the warmongers have claimed from the beginning that this war was not being fought over oil.

Proposing the parliamentary motion for war in 2003, Tony Blair denied the "false claim" that "we want to seize" Iraq's oil revenues. He said the money should be put into a trust fund, run by the UN, for the Iraqis, but the idea came to nothing. The same year Colin Powell, then Secretary of State, said: "It cost a great deal of money to prosecute this war. But the oil of the Iraqi people belongs to the Iraqi people; it is their wealth, it will be used for their benefit. So we did not do it for oil."

Supporters say the provision allowing oil companies to take up to 75 per cent of the profits will last until they have recouped initial drilling costs. After that, they would collect about 20 per cent of all profits, according to industry sources in Iraq. But that is twice the industry average for such deals. [emphases added]

So now that the country lies prostrate -- war-torn, factionalized, economically crippled, with shattered infrastructure -- it's big oil to the rescue. They will help the fragile Iraqi government to harvest their oil, and for the favor they will take 3 quarters of the profit until they say they have recouped their costs. Such a deal!

I'm reminded of Tony Soprano explaining to his childhood friend why he's gutted his business in order to extract payment for gambling debts. Like the scorpion who's convinced the frog to take him across the river, he's stung him to death before ever reaching the shore. "It's my nature," he explains. The fictive version of the Ramsey Outdoor Store is lost and so it appears is the real-world Iraq. But not without providing enrichment for a criminal enterprise.