Iraq and Big Oil
By Timothy V. Gatto
Each and every day there is the stench of death in the streets of Baghdad. Everyday the people go into the street and find family and friends unceremoniously lying in the gutters, their bodies hideously mutilated. The bodies have holes in them where torturers drilled into their bodies while they were still alive. Genitals have been mutilated and pulled off with pliers or cut off with scissors. They have been impaled with pipes and rebar and rifle barrels. Some have no ears, some are missing noses. This isn’t a once in a while thing, it happens everyday. Sometimes there are 14 bodies, a slow day. Sometimes fifty or sixty bodies are left out on bloody streets, a grim reminder of the ethnic hatred between the Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
Is this the “freedom” that we promised to bring to Iraq? Is this our shining example to other Muslims? So where does our responsibility end? Where did it start? Who is directly responsible for all of this death? George Bush? Certainly George W. Bush bears much of the blame. If you look at the entire events that led up to this catastrophe and honestly ask yourself who else, a number of people can also be blamed. Saddam Hussain himself for not letting the UN Inspectors have free reign when he knew that Bush and Company were surely going to invade (even though that might not have stopped this administrations plans). The majority in Congress that voted for the Authorization of Force in Iraq can also be held accountable. According to a number of sources, Saudi Arabia and the major oil companies are also complicit. The Mainstream Media can be put under a microscope for failing to put our government’s assertions that Iraq was a criminal state under closer scrutiny instead of hawking the party line. The media can also be held accountable. We can also blame some of the American People for treating this run up to war somewhat like a “sporting event”. Many in America seemed to have a voyeuristic predilection toward this war, as if the American Military was putting on a huge display of unstoppable force with themes such as “Shock and Awe” designed to titillate the senses. There is enough blame to fill The Grand Canyon, but we should try to get past that. I believe that this administration should be held accountable, but that isn’t the major priority.
The major priority that faces America in regard to Iraq is the sectarian violence. We can have no solution in Iraq while the people are being decimated by religion-based murder. While our troops are on the ground in places like Haifa Street and Sadr City, the local Sunni or Shiite Militia, when they take a break from fighting each other, take a few shots at the American Forces and the Iraqi Army and police. The Iraqi Police and Army work overtime, by day they fight alongside US forces and by night they fight alongside their favorite militia. Meanwhile the phony government inside the Green Zone prepares to take a two month vacation in order that they may give their time on Earth a two-month extension. Who is at fault is this? Could it be Bush and Cheney who installed the Shiite-led government?
That brings us to this Shiite government. The Sunni don’t want to participate. Iran now has a good foothold in Iraq because of their Shiite commonalties. You would believe that this does not please the United States, but you would be mistaken. If the United States can stop a direct seizure of Iraqi land and sovereignty by Iran, the United States is not totally against Iranian influence. There is a reason for this. The reason is oil. This is how the US and its OPEC friends play out the oil card.
The world is awash with oil. They want you to believe it isn’t. They want you to believe that oil is scarce. The reason for this mindset they offer is that scarce oil is more expensive than plentiful oil. When nations compete for every barrel of crude, the price goes up. Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world, and possibly more oil than Saudi Arabia by some estimates. Iraq has historically never been able to get its oil to foreign markets because of interference by OPEC and Big Oil. Saddam wasn’t taken out because we want Iraq’s oil; he was taken out because OPEC and BIG OIL did not want Saddam to flood the market with cheap oil. Cheap oil is anathema to Exxon-Mobil and the rest. Take this into account, The United States still produces oil. The major oil companies own this US oil. When OPEC brings the price of oil up, the American oil companies share windfall profits. There is not much profit to be made on cheap oil; this is one reason why Exxon/Mobil has had the most profitable year of any company in the history of the world. Now does this war become a bit more understandable? Saddam was a maverick in the midst of OPEC. He alone could play with the price of a barrel of crude. The truth is that Iraq has over 500 oil sites in the country and of that, they are only pumping out of 137. They are pumping less now with this war raging.
Now you may understand why the anarchy in Iraq does not concern some nations as much as it should. The longer Iraq is divided and fighting between Iraqi’s goes on at fever pitch, the longer Iraq does not produce oil and glut the market. The reason we went to war in Iraq was not to get their oil, but to stop them from producing oil. Peak oil is a myth. I’ll have to admit it was an idea that I once believed until I found out that the oil companies wrote the report that founded the idea of peak oil. The cold unvarnished truth is that Cheney and his Big Oil friends have manipulated this war from its inception until now, all to increase oil profits.
Now we have a nation drenched in blood. This problem won’t go away until our government really wants it to go away, and at this point in time they are happy with the status quo. American soldiers are dying for Big Oil. The Iraqi’s are dying for a resource that the rest of the world doesn’t want them to benefit from. This war and the reasoning behind it, is one of the most despicable things that the human race has ever been involved in. There are so many people that should be in jail for murder that the number boggles the mind. The truly sad part of this entire mess is that I’m not the only one saying this. The facts are that almost everyone connected with foreign policy knows that what I’m saying now to be true, and they have known it for a long time. How they never believed that the truth would finally come out is beyond me. Maybe they believed that if the truth were to come out that nobody would care. I care, and I believe that most decent people care.
Every day in Iraq, US Soldiers die for oil profits. Iraqi children become orphans for oil profits. Iraqi men fail to return home after going to the market for food and their women and children weep. This scene in Iraq will be played out thousands of times until someday the violence stops. What will be the legacy of this war? Eventually the citizen’s of this nation will understand the depths that some people sank to for profit. I can only hope that it doesn’t destroy the fabric of our nation. The other result will be an entire generation of Iraqi people that remember the United States as the harbinger of death and destruction. They will remember us as the people that savaged their lives. They will remember also, the way that the Sunni’s and Shiite’s killed each other with no regard for Allah, and they will stay bitter. The Sunni will hate the Shiites and vice versa. We will see a flood of terrorists come out of Iraq, bitter and set on vengeance. This will be the legacy of our involvement in Iraq.
Some want us to leave Iraq. I am one of them. I also want the people that caused this war and the people that set the policies after the invasion to pay for their treachery. This can’t be left unpunished. I also believe that we owe the Iraqi people something for their suffering, and that it should come out of the deep pockets of Big Oil. We need a bipartisan task force to look into these allegations. Those with connections to the oil industry should be excluded. We need to talk to the nations that border Iraq and with them, work out the best ways that we can stop this sectarian violence.
We also need to impeach those that caused this. This is something that is non-negotiable. We can not leave the people that brought this problem forth to stay in power. We can not leave them unpunished so that those who follow into government may see what happens when government is used to line the pockets of the few. This is a large agenda. It won’t happen unless Americans demand it. That we must do, for we are all culpable in some degree.
Former Chairman of the Liberal Party of America, Tim is a retired Army Sergeant. He currently lives in South Carolina. A regular contributor to OpEdNews, he is the author of Kimchee Kronicles and is currently at work on a new novel.