Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's Time We Had This Discussion


Do We Have Plans To Invade The Middle East?

Back in the "70's, When Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney were still in Gerald Ford's White House, Robert Redford starred in "Three Days Of The Condor". This brilliant and thrilling movie foretold what we are living through today.
Think about it:
The U.S. economy is on the brink of destruction - The second Republican Great Depression. The blood and treasure of our great nation has been squandered in a grand chess game, played out by the puppet-masters and paid for with your children's
financial and physical legacy.
Self defense is more than kicking somebody's ass. It's knowing your rights when oppressed by authority. It's picking your fights wisely. It's feeding your family.
Self defense is considering the "worst case scenario".
We are in for hard times, possibly as bad as the crash of 1929. There are riots in third-world countries due to a decrease in rice production. Wheat production can not keep up with demand, and the bio-fuel scam is using up valuable cropland. Infrastructure in our country is literally collapsing. It is time to really, REALLY change the direction our country is going, and it's gonna' be hard work.
I know most people read this Blog for a lively discussion on martial arts, but protecting yourself also means not being willfully ignorant. With that being said, I am going to print this article in it's entirety.
Coming up in the next few months, I'd like to explore some ideas on how we will continue to protect our families, feed ourselves, and guard our financial resources.
Here's the article, from the Sacramento Bee:

Steven Mufson: A crude case for war?
By Steven Mufson -
Published 12:00 am PDT Tuesday, March 18, 2008
It's hard to miss the point of the "Blood for Oil" Web site. It features one poster of an American flag with "Blood for oil?" in white block letters where the stars should be and two dripping red handprints across the stripes. Another shows a photo of President Bush with a thin black line on his upper lip. "Got oil?" the headline asks wryly.
Five years after the United States invaded Iraq, plenty of people believe that the war was waged chiefly to secure U.S. petroleum supplies and to make Iraq safe -- and lucrative -- for the U.S. oil industry.
We may not know the real motivations behind the Iraq war for years, but it remains difficult to distill oil from all the possibilities.
That's because our society and economy have been nursed on cheap oil, and the idea that oil security is a right as well as a necessity has become part of our foreign policy DNA, handed down from Franklin D.
Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter to George H.W. Bush. And the war and its untidy aftermath have, in fact, swelled the coffers of the world's biggest oil companies.
But it hasn't happened in the way anyone might have imagined.
Instead of making Iraq an open economy fueled by a thriving oil sector, the war has failed to boost the flow of oil from Iraq's giant well-mapped reservoirs, which oil experts say could rival Saudi Arabia's and produce 6 million barrels a day, if not more. Thanks to insurgents' sabotage of pipelines and pumping stations, and foreign companies' fears about safety and contract risks in Iraq, the country is still struggling in vain to raise oil output to its prewar levels of about 2.5 million barrels a day.
As it turns out, that has kept oil off the international market at just the moment when the world desperately needs a cushion of supplies to keep prices down. Demand from China is booming, and political strife has limited oil production in Nigeria and Venezuela.
In the absence of Iraqi supplies, prices have soared three-and-a-half-fold since the U.S. invasion on March 20, 2003. (Last week, they shattered all previous records, even after adjusting for inflation.) The profits of the five biggest Western oil companies have jumped from $40 billion to $121 billion over the same period. While the United States has rid itself of Saddam Hussein and whatever threat he might have posed, oil revenues have filled the treasuries of petro-autocrats in Iran, Venezuela and Russia, emboldening those regimes and complicating U.S. diplomacy in new ways.
American consumers are paying for this turmoil at the pump. If the overthrow of Saddam was supposed to be a silver bullet for the American consumer, it turned out to be one that ricocheted and tore a hole through his wallet.
"If we went to war for oil, we did it as clumsily as anyone could do. And we spent more on the war than we could ever conceivably have gotten out of Iraq's oil fields even if we had particular control over them," says Anthony Cordesman, an expert on U.S. strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who rejects the idea that the war was designed on behalf of oil companies.
But that doesn't mean that oil had nothing to do with the invasion.
In his recent memoir, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said: "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil." Says Cordesman: "To say that we would have taken the same steps against a dictator in Africa or Burma as we took in Iraq is to ignore the strategic realities that drove American behavior." There is no single conspiracy theory about why the Bush administration allegedly waged this "war for oil." Here are two.
Version one: Bush, former Texas oilman, and Vice President Dick Cheney, former chief executive of the contracting and oil-services firm Halliburton, wanted to help their friends in the oil world. They sought to install a pro-Western government that would invite the major oil companies back into Iraq. "Exxon was in the kitchen with Dick Cheney when the Iraq war was being cooked up," says the Web site of a group called Consumers for Peace.
Version two: As laid out in an April 2003 article in Le Monde Diplomatique, "The war against Saddam is about guaranteeing American hegemony rather than about increasing the profits of Exxon." Yahya Sadowski, an associate professor at the American University of Beirut, argues that "the neo-conservative cabal" had a "grand plan" to ramp up Iraqi production, "flood the world market with Iraqi oil" and drive the price down to $15 a barrel. That would stimulate the U.S. economy, "finally destroy" OPEC, wreck the economies of "rogue states" such as Iran and Venezuela, and "create more opportunities for 'regime change.' " There are historical roots for all this suspicion. After World War I, the Western powers carved up oil-producing interests in the Middle East. In Iraq, the French were given about a quarter of the national consortium, and the U.S. government pressured its allies to turn over an equal share to a handful of American companies.
Even now, the fate of Iraq's concessions is laden with politics.
Russia's Lukoil hopes to regain access to a giant field. China is seeking new fields. The big U.S. firms are angling to return to fields they ran before sanctions barred them during the 1990s. Smaller U.S., Turkish, European and Korean firms are gambling on new exploration deals with the autonomous Kurdish regional authority despite threats from Baghdad.
"One can imagine Iraq's oil fields as a pimple waiting to be pricked," says Antonia Juhasz, author of "The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time." She notes that the Bush administration put former oil executives on the reconstruction team, hired the Virginia consulting firm BearingPoint to write a framework for Iraq's oil industry, picked the Iraqis who took key oil ministry posts and has pressured Iraq to adopt a petroleum law favorable to international companies.
The petroleum law has become a rallying point for critics who say that the war was about oil. It would allow long-term production-sharing agreements, which Juhasz says are only used in 12 percent of the world "and only where the country needs to entice the companies to come." Defenders of the law, including exiled Iraqi oil experts, say that it provides for different types of contracts; how generous they are will depend on how well they are negotiated, but the law sets minimum conditions.
Greg Muttitt, another widely quoted war critic, who works for Platform London, a group of British environmentalists, human rights campaigners, artists and activists, says that an occupied country can't negotiate freely. What ended up in the proposed petroleum law, he says, was "pretty close" to what was in papers drafted by the State Department before the invasion. "Perhaps not surprising," he adds, given lobbying by U.S. officials and the role of former oil company executives in the reconstruction hierarchy.
That's the theory. The problem is: The petroleum law has not been adopted.
The idea that the Bush administration was in the tank for the oil industry glosses over a story of conflicting views before the U.S.
invasion and the bungled execution of plans afterwards. There were two rival interagency policy groups before the war, one led by the Pentagon and one by the State Department. Some key differences were never resolved. Some Pentagon planners wanted Iraq to maximize oil output, while State worried that a flood of Iraqi oil could threaten Saudi interests and market share.
The notion of an oil war also conjures up an image of a swashbuckling, string-pulling oil industry that no longer reflects a business that in many ways has become cautious and fearful of political turmoil. Western oil interests did encourage the overthrow of Iranian leader Mohammed Mossadegh in the early 1950s and the war in Suez in 1956. But generally oil companies are content to forge alliances of convenience with leaders as diverse as Saudi kings, Angolan communists and Indonesia's late, long-time autocrat Suharto as long as they're predictable. On those leaders' politics, human rights record, ethnicity or religion, oil giants are agnostic.
"Companies don't like and won't make investments where there's uncertainty, and war is the biggest uncertainty of all," said Rob McKee, the former number two executive at ConocoPhillips and a former top U.S. official overseeing Iraq's oil sector. "On the other hand, companies were hoping that Iraq would open up, and as long as Saddam was there, Iraq couldn't. ... From that point of view, maybe they were happy that there would be a change." Still, the big firms had trepidations. In a conversation with an adviser shortly before the invasion, the chief executive of one of the five major oil companies described what he would say if asked to invest billions of dollars in Iraq after the war: Tell me about the contract system, arbitration, physical security and social cohesion, then we'll decide.
Five years later, they still haven't decided, and physical security is so tenuous that the oil giants are still declining Iraqi invitations to send their employees to inspect existing fields.
This wasn't what Bush administration planners had expected.
Leading administration officials expected a postwar Iraq to reclaim its former position among oil exporters. "We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon," then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told Congress just after the invasion, predicting that oil would generate $50 billion to $100 billion in revenues within two to three years.
Ironically, Iraq might approach that figure this year because of high prices, not higher production.
Prewar planning settled who would oversee Iraq's oil sector. The Pentagon picked Phil Carroll, a well-respected former top executive at Royal Dutch Shell, who was succeeded by McKee. War critics point to such industry ties as evidence of nefarious influence, but former administration members say the choices were made on the basis of expertise. "If you wanted to get someone to help run an oil industry, who would you choose?" asked one person involved in selecting Carroll. "A broker on an exchange? An environmental expert? Or the head of an oil company?" The controversial details were all part of the larger strategic picture. "When we first decided on the war, I don't remember oil playing an important part," says Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser under the elder Bush and a critic of the current president's decision to invade.
But that's because concern about oil supplies is part of the architecture of U.S. foreign policy. Scowcroft notes that oil can't be disregarded because Iraq and its neighbors sit on two-thirds of the world's oil reserves. But oil needn't be mentioned either because it's self-evident. War critics might call that the perfect conspiracy.
In a sense, though, all Americans are part of that conspiracy. We have built a society that is profligate with its energy and relies on petroleum that happens to be pooled under some unstable or unfriendly regimes. We have frittered away energy resources with little regard for the strategic consequences. And now it's hard and expensive to change our ways.
Zaab Sethna, a business consultant and former official of the Iraqi National Congress, says that he attended many Pentagon and State Department meetings and never heard postwar oil policy discussed.
But, he says, "Let's not kid ourselves. Iraq is sitting on a very large portion of oil itself and is in a key region of the world. And that makes it important for U.S. security interests. ... The Iraqi opposition ... realized that Rwanda wouldn't be getting the attention of the superpower." Until Rwanda discovers oil.

8 comments:

Hand2Hand said...

I listened to an interview on Democracy Now, I believe it was with investigative journalist Greg Palast (might want to double check)
where he determined the war in Iraq was about oil, specifically, about getting control of Iraqi oil.

But the purpose was not to get the oil for ourselves but to keep it off the world market. When combined with reduced output from U.S. refineries, the war has resulted in reducing the amount of oil available and artificially inflating the price, thereby giving obscene windfall profits to the oil companies.

Not that oil isn't a finite resource. We are near, if we haven't already passed, the point of peak oil production.

But we've seen oil prices nearly double in the first four years of the Bush regime. Those prices have to do with the war and by speculators who are literally betting on an interruption of oil production or delivery as a result of this war.

I remember at the start of 2003 I had a new roof put on my house. The contractor told me that I should get it done quickly because once the war starts, the cost of petroleum products, (like shingles) are sure to shoot up.

So far, it looks like he's right.

Sa Bum Nim Pieschala said...

You civvies never cease to amaze me.

But since I honestly do know something, I had a clearance once. I will say only one thing, you can look up my military record. It's probably out there.

Just something to think about, a hypothetical.

We hate communism, we need oil, and who screws with us (shoots down satelites) and could jeopardize our (until Iraq) "non military" hold in that region? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

China! China! China! For Pete's sake!!!

They need oil more than us, they are the next super power to be. Just a guess, but I have solid reasons. (I'm a nut I know that)

Welcome to the new cold war! Only it's not nucl`r it's economic.

What if, and what if is all .. we put a pipeline through Jordan & Israel (both strong allies) along old Brit pipeline routes and said "Screw the straights of Hormuz." Then lowered the price per barrel (those wacky Texans) and shared the technology with Saudi (ally) .. Europe (our friends) profit, Russia's Gazprom gets screwed .. Iran's chief export would plummet in value, Syria gets hosed, or so does Venesueala (that dickhead)

China's supply of oil would be expensive a master stroke if I do say so. I'm proud to have a regime this smart! Look out for #1 why else have a military?

But then, that's probably all BS but it will make you think. Read "War is a racket", read about Gen. Smedley USMC x2 medal of honor receiptiant, FDR & George Prescott Bush.

I don't believe in conspiracy theories. But I like the game "Risk" :)

Free speech ain't it great? Especially when not in German or Japanese or Russian or Chinese .. :)

Sa Bum Nim Pieschala said...

on a lighter note .. I wish i was a gym teacher ... http://listoftheday.blogspot.com/2008/03/great-motivational-posters-vol-2.html

Sa Bum Nim Pieschala said...

http://listoftheday.blogspot.com/

2008/03/great-motivational-posters-vol-2.html

Dojo Rat said...

You guys are reading the right stuff, with slightly different opinions. I have read both Smedley Butler (War Is A Racket) and Greg Palast (The Best Democracy Money Can Buy).

Unfortunately Piech, we have NO leverage against China, they own us now thanks to the Republicans and Bill Clinton (partly). But mostly since Nixon.
Chavez in Venezuela may be a dick, but the poor people love him and he is sticking it to Exxon. All of Latin America, except for our allies like Columbia in Cocaine producing regions, are turning left because they have been stomped on for so long.
And H2H, you are exactly right-- the war (occupation) was intended to keep the resources out of the hands of China, which is where both of your and Piech's theory merge.
I think there will be more to this discussion, but I have to split for a couple of days and will get back with you guys later--
D.R.

Sa Bum Nim Pieschala said...

DR,
I don't hear the same stuff as you. We'll probably disagree on this, all I can say is most of my friends (VFW & Amer Legion). Even if I could prove it I wouldn't. It's illegal for me. But I know China is true.

Where's Bin Laden hiding? Northern Packistan .. we cant go there we'll make somebody mad. (ignore the country of Iraq) Where does it border? China. Good place for intel guys too.(Especially signals).

Don't take my word for it. India loves the US China not big on India .. the enemy of my enemy ..
http://www.cfr.org/publication/10070/china_and_pakistan.html
A picture of the area, right where we'd want special ops too!
http://www.reisenett.no/map_collection/middle_east_and_asia/Afghan_Paki_Border_rel88.jpg

Leverage? How many aircraft carriers do they have? Or just subs? Big Army that can go nowhere .. SLBMS? Their ICBM's can't reach us and are targeted at India and Russia.

What if we made them look like crap on the world stage cold war style during the Olympics? Like Tiananmen Square.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Tianasquare.jpg
Oh "Hi Tibet". Sow some decent and psy ops.

Think like a true warhawk.

And understand that presidents change but the pentagon and "CONTPLANS" stay pretty much the same.

Appearance nobody every ever heard phrases like "total information warfare. i.e. in Desert Storm we got them to shell their own guys .. This time Bush got prime time on Iraqi TV before the invasion ..

Nobody asked how ..

And right from the Oath of Enlistment: "All enemies Foreign & Domestic ..." I had a Chinese girl tell me the Chinese were smarter because they knew they got fed crap information. Smart gal.

Oh war on the Press Goebbels would have been proud!!! Ticker tape parades! Just don't mention we never really went after the Republican Guard and fought conscripts per Russian military doctrine. Ooops, maybe end the cold war now.

The new Air Force motto "Ruling Space, Aerospace and Cyberspace (and missions not otherwise delegated)." Sorry no aliens though :) I can't speculate on the other branches. I'm sure they're just as nasty; The Navy has 16 carrier groups? One group is bigger than France's Navy.

My buddies who don't all know each other say the same "China thing" about this. So without outing anything, lets agree "Might does not make right" & "Might makes FACT" and follow read up on Goering.

I'm at peace with it all because it's bigger than me and I only stress about things I can change. Like myself.

I always tell students, "The biggest mistake you can make is to think the bad guy is 'just like you, you know has ethics, pretty ok guy usually". You can say that about the government as much as you can say it about other governments.

Not my policies, so don't shoot the messenger. I was a trusting and honorable trooper. I'm proud of my service & nobody cares what I think anyway.

But I will say, I do have a friend who can tell you Bush's favorite beer :). He also said Cheney is more evil then they give him credit for and unlike Bush treated the GI's like crap.

It's just war, in Rome the Legions are always busy.

Dojo Rat said...

Piesch;
something doesn't work with those links, I tried them. I do agree with some of your thoughts on China
1- The Iraq occupation was designed in part to keep oil out of Chinese hands, the same may be happening in Darfur Sudan right now.
2- your analogy with Rome-- you can't have too many circus's at the fall of an empire

Sa Bum Nim Pieschala said...

I knew you were cool DR. And thanks for showing me the respect of "prove it". The people who can won't and legally can't.

I honestly thought that Iraq in the beginning was just a land grab to secure a presence in the middle east. The Saudis with their religious views can be a bit fickle.

It wasn't until I started talking to guys who were coming back. They wanted to know the reality behind "Desert Storm" and likewise I was curious on some things. But they all said, Iraq is so bad now because of other countries involvement. Then we hear about the Iranian explosively formed projectile munitions (Chinese design), which Iraq never had.

It wasn't until I met a Green Barret who was a translator in Afganistan that he said, "no it's to keep China out." and he said it like "DUH!". Then I heard it from a couple other guys more or less the same thing.

But like I said (I think) and as Herman Goering kinda said. The people aren't the decision makers in any kind of government (paraphrasing).

Even if we knew the truth, it wouldn't make my life any better. I only worry about things I can change, like myself.

P.S. Bush is a typical Texas guy Icehouse beer, pretzels and football :)