30
Jun
08

The biggest armed robbery in history?

Be honest, how many of you have heard of the Iraqi Oil Law? And how many of you can tell what it is?

The Hydrocarbon or Oil Law is, according to President Bush, designed to “share oil revenues among all of Iraq’s citizens” – Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds – and to help unify the country.

Critics say it threatens to hand over the country’s resources to foreign-owned companies, throwing the country into further sectarian chaos. It hasn’t been passed yet, because of such stiff opposition in parliament and beyond.

And it hasn’t exactly made the front pages, well, not that I’ve seen (feel free to correct me). After all the accusations that the war was about oil, this controversial bill has been talked about (outside of Iraq) precious little.

Then, last week, I saw this:

Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back

BIG OIL IS BACK

Despite the Oil Law being on hold, the Iraqi government has offered a series of short term contracts to Big Oil, decades after Saddam Hussein threw them out when he nationalised the oil industry. And not just any old Big Oil, but Exxon Mobil (US), Shell (Netherlands), Total (France), Chevron (US) and BP (UK) and a number of smaller oil companies, none of them Russian, Chinese or Indian.

Which made me wonder: why do western countries get preference?

The companies have been advising the Iraqi government for free for a number of years, so for two years they get to make a start on reviving Iraqi Oil. They will get paid for it, they will not get control of the reserves.

This is designed to get around the Oil Law that is not yet law, because no one in Iraq can quite agree on who should have control or Iraq’s oil: be it a unified Iraq, a federal Iraq, or Big Oil (who will, after all, do all the work).

 

THE VIEW FROM BAGHDAD…

Our regular contributor Lubna in Baghdad had this to say this morning:

The Iraq war was all about controlling Iraq’s vast natural resources, the most important of which is of course oil… Anyone who claims that Mr Bush is a good intentioned man who started the Iraq war in order to free us Iraqis from Saddam’s iron fist is (with all due respect) either naive or with hidden agenda…

This war was started in the 1st place in order to deprive us of all our vast natural resources and make the fate of ours, our children and grandchildren decided from the oval office…

Unfortunately the world attention is diverted away from Iraq at the moment and that gave a free space to the 21st century Ali Babas in both Washington and Baghdad to go on with one of the biggest armed robbery operations (if not the biggest at all) in modern history…

 

…AND THE REST OF THE WORLD

Tom Engelhardt takes a very interesting look back at 5 years of being repeatedly told that the war had nothing to with oil….

With global demand for energy on the rise, why would anybody want to invade, conquer, occupy, and garrison a country that, as Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz once observed, “floats on a sea of oil”?

Plenty of commentators believe the war really was about oil. As does Sandy at the Huffington Post.

Readers of the Herald Sun in Australia have already started talking.

On the other hand, there are people who think that it is the US government’s duty to take control.

So was the war about oil all along? 

After 5 years, is this a fair accusation? Hasn’t Iraq been freed to pursue democracy? Doesn’t it need investment, which the big oil companies are best placed to give? 

And, in an era of unendingly high fuel prices, can we really afford to criticise attempts to extract oil from Iraq’s vast reserves?

 

 


109 Responses to “The biggest armed robbery in history?”


  1. 1 G Ames
    June 23, 2008 at 23:28

    Do you really think that the Iraq people would harvest this oil alone without the help of the countries of Europe and the USA and China?

    Get real they can’t agree now on things now with the USA and Brit’s in there keeping some sort of peace while they try to sort out there differences.
    If they were not there they would still be fighting and the Oil would be in the ground for another 2000 years and they would miss the boat again.

    These people will be the riches nation opn earth if they get there act together and sign there HCL and let the rest of the world pay them for the next 100 years!

    Let’s get moving ! OR The world will pass them by ! They have a chance.

  2. 2 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 23:36

    Apparently some were not listening when Bush overtly claimed an objective of ‘breaking up OPEC’ upon invading Iraq. This is plan B.

  3. 3 Will Rhodes
    June 23, 2008 at 23:40

    So was the war about oil all along?

    Yes, obviously.

    After 5 years, is this a fair accusation? Hasn’t Iraq been freed to pursue democracy? Doesn’t it need investment, which the big oil companies are best placed to give?

    How can democracy be pursued when the people of Iraq are subjugated by an occupying force? You can only bring about a democracy to a country and her people when the people want it – and on their terms not on those imposed by others. Iraq should decide what kind of democracy they want certainly not Washington.

    The oil companies want that oil so bad they will invest as much as they need to take the profit to the US, France, UK, Holland – it won’t be reinvested in Iraq.

    And, in an era of unendingly high fuel prices, can we really afford to criticise attempts to extract oil from Iraq’s vast reserves?

    Yes. Not only is that a veiled argument – one made by John McCain and Bush – Iraq would need years of investment before anyone saw real oil reserves – and Iraq would quickly see the benefits of joining OPEC. If all went well and all the shooting stopped tomorrow – you wouldn’t see oil until, at least, 2012.

    The war in Iraq was supposed to last 6 months and the oil flow thereafter. That didn’t happen nor will it happen any time soon.

  4. June 24, 2008 at 00:05

    @ G Ames

    So what if they do keep their oil in the ground for 2000 years? It is their oil. The wanting self-deserving attitude of the west is offensive. Maybe they would like to just herd their goats and fight with each other over religious beliefs as they have for 10,000 years. What kind of attitude do you think the simple Iraqi is going to have when they seem men with American weapons and western uniforms stealing their land, oppressing and violating them in front of giant oil wells with English names on them? Oil wells on their historic lands and they don’t even own a car.

  5. 5 Carolien from the Netherlands
    June 24, 2008 at 00:23

    First off: yes, the war was about oil, never a doubt in my mind. We simply live in a world where the US is a superpower and can do as it pleases under the guise of human rights, democracy etc etc; this is now becoming more painfully obvious. That aside, foreign investment is needed in countries like Iraq, where people need to start rebuilding their lives. Big oil companies coming in is not so much a problem in itself, as this has the potential to create employment for Iraqis and improve the standard of living in Iraq. It would be problematic if these companies only hired Americans or Europeans to work for them. If they were to hire Iraqis and set up training programs etc; act in a socially responsible way, big oil companies could potentially become an important part in rebuilding the Iraqi economy. If they don’t get too greedy, that is, which is sadly often the case.

  6. June 24, 2008 at 01:12

    @ Carolien

    So last week people were shooting at each other, the next week you are working side by side in a dangerous oil refinery run by Western profiteers? Does this seem like a reality to you? In that country there are many that are not personally involved in the civil war, but they have friends and family who are and would kill them as traitors for working in such an environment. How do you hire Iraqis to do this job?

  7. 7 Zak
    June 24, 2008 at 01:48

    You know the problem with this topic and the attitude it spawns which will make efforts to rebut it futile? Lubna can make a generalization but when you just blow up that soundbite to become the title it’s sensationalized scandalously. You set the question as if, Iraq, after the ravaging years of war even had a choice in the matter. Don’t cheapen the claim that Iraq ever had to their own oil with a revoking premise; that snatch and grab idea lends absolution to Bush for his failed war. In the face of what the people have been through it’s very very weak words to draw upon.

    What this is, is occupation, and the taking of resources on a sustained basis. It’s isolationism, starvation, it’s assassination of Iraqi’s and Americans like Pat Tillman by Americans. But it is not anything quick, it’s slow and painful, like watching your loved ones die.

    As a journalist it requires more objectivity to remain neutral as you should; this instead elicits sensational claims that can only incite more violence. More thought was required to preserve a balance in presenting this question, it should be done with kid gloves.

  8. 8 Tom
    June 24, 2008 at 01:58

    The Iraq War is the Opium War of the 21st century.

    The difference between these 2 wars being that back then the British didn’t hide the fact that they wanted to force export their opium into China. The US, on the other hand, had to subtly legitimise their wars on fabricated allegations of WMDs and link with al-Qaeda, both have since proven to be lies.

  9. 9 Tino
    June 24, 2008 at 02:27

    You people are as ridiculous as this title. Did any of you even read the law itself, or is it just time to bash the US?

    http://www.krg.org/uploads/documents/Draft%20Iraq%20Oil%20and%20Gas%20Law%20English__2007_03_10_h23m31s47.pdf

    There is the ACTUAL law, in english. Please explain what is wrong with it, as I am on page 17/33 and have seen nothing alarming yet. Is it:

    “Fourth: All model contracts shall be formulated to honour the following objectives and
    criteria:
    1- National control;
    2- Ownership of the resources;
    DRAFT OIL AND GAS LAW PREPARED BY THE COMMITTEE ON 15 FEBRUARY 2007
    16
    3- Optimum economic return to the country;
    4- An appropriate return on investment to the investor; and
    5- Reasonable incentives to the investor for ensuring solutions which are optimal to the
    country in the long-term related to
    a- improved and enhanced recovery,
    b- technology transfer,
    c- training and development of Iraqi personnel,
    d- optimal utilisation of the infrastructure, and
    e- environmentally friendly solutions and plans.”

    Yeah, sounds horrible that any foreign company will be required to give optimal return to the country as well as transfer technology and training. I just love how you all like to jump up and say: “Yeah, war-mongering profiteering America sucks” “It is all about oil” blah blah blah. You guys do not even read the law you just jump on the next thing that sounds good, as usual. Worthless.

  10. 10 Tino
    June 24, 2008 at 02:32

    Few more points:

    “Eighth: The selection and ranking of successful applicants shall be on the basis of the quality
    and relevance of the proposed work plan and the anticipated economic return to Iraq.”

    They also have many points relating to transparency and publishing of contracts for all to see. It is READILY APPARENT that they cannot support the infrastructure required to maintain the industry – yet. It is just as apparent that the goal is to bring in foreign investment to build up said infrastructure and allow Iraq to control its own oil resources. You guys are simply too blinded by hatred – or stupidity – to actually read the law and see that everything in there makes perfect sense.

  11. 11 Will Rhodes
    June 24, 2008 at 03:18

    So much for American respect for Iraqi “sovereignty.” Further evidence can be found in the U.S. demands currently being negotiated. U.S. officials won’t discuss details. But Iraqi officials got so angry about them that they complained publicly. According to Iraqis, the Americans originally demanded 200 permanent facilities across the country — including 58 bases — plus indefinite continuation of other policies, including American rights to arrest and detain Iraqis; U.S. military and civilian contractor immunity from Iraqi prosecution; the U.S. right to take military action without Iraqi approval; and control of most Iraqi airspace and the right of air-to-air refueling, which some Iraqis fear would make their country a base for an attack on Iran. One Iraqi politician told London’s Independent: “If it is left to them, they would ask for immunity even for American dogs.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sandy-goodman/how-bush-is-winning-his-r_b_108650.html

  12. 12 Zak
    June 24, 2008 at 03:27

    Will
    that quote is an eyesore in more than one respect; seriously though you should slim it down or take it out of block format.

    There’s no question Bush is going to make his play for leader of the Aryan race here- he’s a sore loser. Looking at the NY Times article Shirley referenced on the T. Points thread it reminds me of WWII footage. The question is how do we stop it from happening?

  13. 13 Mark
    June 24, 2008 at 03:39

    This is just more of BBC’s pack of anti-American lies. Who else has the technology to do the work? Besides, America has plenty of its own oil At least 87 billion barrels in known offshore reserves and at least another 10 billion in Alaska. That doesn’t count the 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the gulf of Mexico. Just drilling in Alaska alone using the existing pipeline would bring in another half a million barrels a day. And America has one quarter of the world’s coal, a virtually inexhaustable supply? So why would the US go to Iraq to steal a million or two million barrels a day at the cost of a trillion dollars? The whole stupid argument makes no sense and it never did. Too bad about Total though, Olde Europe should not have been allowed in.

  14. 14 Will Rhodes
    June 24, 2008 at 03:40

    It’s a quote, Zak – so I put it in quotes.

  15. 15 Zak
    June 24, 2008 at 03:44

    Just as well then suffice as to say it follows along the lines of the rest of this thread as being an incredible eyesore and I’d rather not look at it anyway so thanks for shoring that up for me (the point of the blog was to read what other people wrote not repeat quotes but apparently that got forgotten here).

  16. 16 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 24, 2008 at 04:24

    Once again I ask the simple question, thus far unanswered: What does it mean to say the Iraq war “is about oil?” It sounds like the US invaded to seize the oil and steal it. But in fact the US hasn’t taken one little drop of from Iraq. When the US wants oil, we buy it. That works just fine, even with countries who hate us, as most of them do. What we don’t do for oil is go to war, spend hundreds of billions of dollars, and then NOT take the blinkin’ oil. Ranting about “War for oil” worked before the war. But now it’s just silly, since we didn’t take the oil. Isn’t that obvious?

    Since we began this evil, greedy “war for oil” that took no oil, the price of oil has more than quadrupled. (Whether because of supply/demand as every other market for every other thing on earth, or by magical pixies or dark conspiracies, we mercifully needn’t argue today.) If there’s a “robbery”.here, it’s that massive transfer of wealth from the US–and from poor countries–to OPEC. We didn’t want it and we didn’t arrange it.

    It’s a very strange “war for oil” that doesn’t take any oil, an odd “robbery” where the robber spends billions and steals nothinig. So I continue to await a rational, coherent statement of what this accusation purports to mean.

  17. 17 Tom
    June 24, 2008 at 04:38

    Was the war about oil?

    The USA went into Iraq on the pretext to save the world from the non-existent WMD and to free the Iraqi people from the tyranny and terror. After 5 years of overthrowing Saddam and debunking of allegations, why do the US see the need for indefinite military presence inside Iraq – including unfettered access of Iraqi airspace? Why immune American military personnels from the jurisdiction of local laws? Why propose the Oil Law on the Iraqi people’s behalf stipulating exploration rights and guaranteeing profits for foreign oil companies?

    All these actions are signs of the US’ intention to turning Iraq into a puppet client state serving the master’s energy needs. No wonder the Iraqi government is having doubts surrounding the treaties.

  18. June 24, 2008 at 04:56

    We haven’t taken a drop? Did you read the story about the western big oil companies getting a “no-bid” contract? They are there doing it for free? Wold they have had that opportunity if the US hadn’t invaded.

    In the end this has been about increasing the price of oil and not about taking the oil in Iraq. The listed companies, being part of a free market, make their money 2 ways. 1) By selling the oil pumped out of the ground here in the United States. The fact is the price of their product has tripled since the Cheney energy committee meeting of ’01. Yet, their overhead costs and all other related cost have not changed. 2)Stock prices are directly linked to the amount of reserves they claim to have access to. Well guess what the big oil companies just inherited. Right, claims to more oil fields. That is why they are begging to drill in sites off limits even though they have thousands of acres they have not tapped yet in their possession.

    If it was not about oil what was it about. We have seen that they know there were no nuclear programs, no welcoming arms, and the Sunnis that were toppled are now being paid to hold the Shia they were sent to liberate at bay.

    “not about oil”

  19. 19 Anis
    June 24, 2008 at 05:20

    1. The war was about looking for Israel’s safety from Iraq.
    2. The war would also give opportunity to take close look at Iran, another threat to illegal Sate of Israel forced upon the native population.
    3. An opportunity to plunder Iraq’s resources; all colonialists were attracted to the lands they invaded for natural resources which they looted to make fortunes for themselves.
    4. Attempt to impose the new fanatical religion of ‘democracy’.

  20. June 24, 2008 at 05:32

    steal oil? That is only the speculation of idiots who are convinced the nature of mankind is as greedy and evil as they themselves who speculate and imagine the worst.

    America goes to war when trying to stabolize regions of the world that have really bad movements and dictators jeoprodizing our people and our traditional friends.

    Bush went to war only after our homeland was attacked by really waco enemies, and there was no way he could go to war leaving an avowed enemy like Saddam slithering in the grass where he intended to make his stand.

    It did not go as easily as we all thought, but wars are always filled with surprizes, mistakes, and losses. The democrates pretty much agreed with Bush that a stand had to be made. The difference is they wanted to quit and lose and simply blame the whole thing on Bush who had to stand virtually alone against all the quick to quit.

    America, instead of being vindictive or revengeful to our horrible enemies after WWII, our people, our leader did the unbelievable…..they did everything they could to help broken nations get up on their feet and start anew under the Marshall Plan and the reconstruction of Japan. We did not want their land, their oil, their resources….we wanted them to rebuild and become favored trading partners and allies….friends.

    Same, same Iraq, Afghanistan. Bush is fairly well off. Comes from a good and decent family, has a wonderful wife and children, and enough money. He does nothing except do the best he can for his country. He did not want to be a war time President. I believe he loves his family so much, that it pains him personally that our young people and their families have to suffer such terrible losses. He flat identifies with each and every family connected with the misfortunes of war. Still, this war or these two wars were going to happen whether he stood there or not at the helm. These were as unavoidable as WWI and WWII.

    Bush wants the families of Iraq to have a good and safe life with ample money and well meaning lives.

    Bottom line Bush and the Americans want Iraq to be a country that is at peace with itself and the world. And above all he wants the people of Iraq to harvest the benefits of their resources.

    troop

  21. 21 Nathan Xu- Australia
    June 24, 2008 at 05:46

    Regardless whether or not the oil law can be enforced. It will be many more years to come until Iraqi can live the life they once had. They maybe ‘free’ now, they are surely not sharing the nations wealth.

  22. 22 Mark
    June 24, 2008 at 05:57

    The biggest armed robbery in history was the British Empire which stole entire nations all over the globe. Imperial conquest and exploitation was the root of European wealth. Now those empires are gone and Europe is in decline.

  23. 23 viola
    June 24, 2008 at 06:10

    To say it was only about oil–ridiculous.

    To say it wasn’t at all about oil–ridiculous.

    To say it was about deposing a murderous despot, encouraging the establishment of a democracy, implementing a long-term global strategy vis-a-vis oil supplies and terrorism, maintaining an effective counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East, and stabilising the oil industry seems a little closer to describing the reality. The world is a complicated place, folks, and attempts to blame everything in the world on greed and imperialistic war-mongering is only a futile attempt to simplify it enough to understand.

    How many of you jumping on the “hate Bush, hate the U.S.” bandwagon would rather live in a dictatorship run by a Saddam Hussein type leader than a democracy run by a George Bush? Not that George Bush runs the country all by himself. There are, after all, three equally powerful branches of government in the United States, remember? Not to mention all the state governments that also have a fair share of power.

    Viola in British Columbia, Canada

  24. 24 Tino
    June 24, 2008 at 06:43

    “We haven’t taken a drop? Did you read the story about the western big oil companies getting a “no-bid” contract? They are there doing it for free? Wold they have had that opportunity if the US hadn’t invaded.”

    Did you read their law? You know the one they made on their own…

    Is it seriously still unclear to you that they WANT the help foreign companies can offer? Do you think you should be dictating their needs to them? The Iraqi oil industry needs technical assistance and foreign capital. Their laws are being set up to provide reasonable ROI for the companies but the contracts are awarded only after they have been examined and shown to benefit Iraq and its people. What is so hard to understand?

    See the previous point about us buying this so-called stolen oil. You guys have done nothing but spout out nonsense about robberies without putting forth any credible evidence – and the burden of proof would be on you since their law clearly stands in opposition to your claims.

  25. 25 Anis
    June 24, 2008 at 06:50

    It is surprising that everyone accuses USA / Bush and ‘coalition of the willing (read hungry East Europeans) of master minding invasion of Iraq and destruction of a civilised nation but no one asks for action against the perpetrators namely Bush, Blair etc. Unless criminals are brought to justice such madnesses will repeat again and again.

    America is a country of opportunities, it was a free country till recent past, it has the best brains contributing to the greatest developments for mankind in medicine, technology, space exploration etc. but is also infested with rogues who use power to destroy another country at will. Why? Just because they have power to do so? What is the difference between Osama and Bush? Don’t they behave identically? These people must be weeded out from the society. And brought to justice with exemplary punishments. But I do not see how Bush & Cheney can be booked. It is necessary for a free world to live in peace.

  26. 26 Tom
    June 24, 2008 at 07:21

    “Can we stick to commenting about the issue. If you’ve got nothing to add to the conversation, then don’t add it.” – Zk

    Isn’t this for the moderators to decide?

  27. 27 Anis
    June 24, 2008 at 08:43

    Tom: The issue is simple – Bush & his cohorts are armed robbers. One line reply agree or disagree. 90% of responders agree and just a handful disagree. Like 90% of Americans are hard working and honest people but only a small percentage are Bush-Cheney type who deserve to be sent somewhere.

    I will feel ashamed to have a President of my country who tells lies, goes out robbing people, killing people for no rhyme or reason. If you are an American then you should fulfill your responsibility toward civil society to show these people the right place. Americans are known for doing good things; please show your greatness by acting today. Please do not defend the offenders – that itself is a crime.

  28. 28 Mark from kansas
    June 24, 2008 at 08:53

    duh. What did Mr. Bush do before politics? What does his family do? What’s his friends do? What do his skull budies do? Oil. I am sure he and his friends will make insane amounts of money. Spoils of an illegal war. I dont know why this is not on the front page of every news paper. The only pace I even heard of this was on NPR and BBC. Once again we find the money, and it is disgusting that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis had to die for it. I am deeply ashamed of my country for these actions.

  29. 29 ZK
    June 24, 2008 at 09:00

    Tom: I am one of the mods on the blog, for the record.

  30. 30 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 24, 2008 at 09:34

    Anis ~~ Actually there is talk about US leaders being subject to war crimes trials. Recall Augusto Pinochet, late dictator of Chile, arrested iin London under a Spanish warrant.

    It’s clear that they broke laws here too, and they know it. They have been frantically destroying evidence (interrogation videotapes, thousands of email messages–that we know about), which of course is itself a criminal act.

    It’s fun to imagine Bush, Cheney, et alia locked up under their own rules, without charges or lawyers or habeous corpus, undergoing some “enhanced interrogation.” I’d settle for normal criminal prosecution though.

  31. 31 Mark from kansas
    June 24, 2008 at 09:50

    @Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)

    The only talk I have found is from froreign, and public journalists. That’s funny I think, that there are no mentions of these very real war crimes, and this “armed robery” on any of the comercial new sources I am not sure anything will be done if these dont make the main stream news. A crime isn’t a crime until it is reported, quick whats the number for 911?

  32. 32 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 24, 2008 at 10:26

    Mark, you’re asking why your scandalous story of “spoils” is not more prominently reported. Maybe because there’s no evidence, and not even a coherent description of the allegations. I asked for one, ten hours ago, and all I hear is crickets. Show me “the money.” Show me “the spoils.” Show me “the oil.” Or just set forth a statement of what you think was done, and why–how a “war for oil” yielded us no oil.

    My impression is that Americans mostly aren’t interested in world affairs. Certainly those of us who are can find out everything we want from the better US (and better yet, British) newspapers online, and blogs, etc. Major newspapers are full of Iraq. Television and radio are full of Iraq. Whatever you’ve got for news in Kansas, the internet has democratized information flow. Some of the blogs make me grind my teeth, but that’s freedom.

    I trust you’re safe from thosse Midwestern floods I’m hearing about?

  33. 33 Mark from kansas
    June 24, 2008 at 11:04

    Jonathan

    The water is a little north and east of here… for now.

    Blogs and discussions are nice, but solid research and verifiable facts are what journalists do. I would like to but I don’t have the time or connections. I shouldn’t have to if I could, the press is supposed to be the “fourth branch” of the US government and it seems that all branches have failed the American people and indeed the world with this whole situation. We can not expect elected officals to act on something the voters don’t know about. The failure of the whole system has allowed these crimes and robberies to take place, and has failed to hold people accountable after the fact. All of this boils down to money, they can make any point they want about the strategic advantages, or the very real evil of Sadam Hussein, but the media companies stand to lose money some how by diggin into these subjects. Dont ask me how, imagine the ratings!

  34. 34 Mohammed Ali
    June 24, 2008 at 11:09

    My heart off to Lubna for putting the entire objective of the oil war waged on Iraq by Bush and his then Foreign Minister, Tony Blair of Britain, so succintly. I have argued over and over from the very inception of the war that it was not a war to get rid of WMD but “OIL WAR”.
    The fact that only big western oil companies have almost all of the oil contracts in Iraq prove this argument correct.
    I get really sick in my stomach when I hear people Bush and his supporters arguing that the war was intended to liberate the people of Iraq, what a mockery to hundreds of thousands of people that have loss their precious lives on this “Liberation War”. Let’s agree that Saddam was a brutal dictator. On the basis of this presumptive argument, let us compare the number persons that were killed during the quarter century of Saddam’s rule and the 4 years of occupation led by the Americans. The number of deaths during Saddam’s quarter century of rule is infinitestimal compare to the 4 years of occupation led by the Americans. If liberation for the Iraqi people in the American context means more deaths and tortures, then I prefer being under the rule of a dictator.

  35. 35 Anis
    June 24, 2008 at 11:19

    Jonathan: All those who perpetrated genocide have gone unpunished. Look at Mladic and Karajic of Serbia. They cannot be caught. Pinochet somehow escaped punishment. He was not even handed out a token punishment. Pol Pot of Cambodia died a peaceful death in some forest. What you say about talks on some kind of criminal procedure against Bush & Blair but that is only that far. No one will ever do anything to bring these rotten creatures to justice.

    A war raged against a helpless people who were made destitutes by the sanctions for so many years. Bush went and just killed people left right and centre. Bush has committed genocide. He must be charged. I will also like UN to be reprimanded for its role in keeping quiet completely defying all moral norms. Is that organistaion there to remain silent spectator just because the perpetrator happens to be President of US? Is this acceptable?

    I feel there is another dimension of immorality in the show. I cannot understand Pope’s closeness with Bush. What is happening there? I can understand Sarkozy & Angela Merkel cozying up with Bush but how can you explain Pope’s action? I am intrigued. Can some one throw some light on this matter? I will appreciate.

  36. 36 Mark from kansas
    June 24, 2008 at 11:24

    @troop

    Afganistan was a just cause, that we are not paying enough attention to.

    Iraq was started to eliminate the nuclear wepons progamss and other wepons of mass destruction programs. Every other reason after that was PR and politcal pandering.

    I suppose you could use the “Boondocks Excuse”, Absence of evidence is not evidence of abbsence. Where are the wepons troop? Anyone find them yet? I havent seen them have you?
    Those wepons must be at the bottom of the oil wells! Mr. Bush has some friends who could look down there. In fact they could be anywhere in the oil reserves, we should have Mr. bushes budies check them all. Sadam Hussein could use the wepons to destabalise the region with a massive war that will increase tensions between Shite and Suni countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran, and endanger Israel our best, although biased, source of intelegence. That would be a terrible plight for the world! It would increase oil and food prices, which would result in hundreds of millions of people to starve to death. Not to mention destabalise many developing countries. We have to Stay in Iraq and find those wepons, for the sake of the whole planet.

  37. 37 Tom
    June 24, 2008 at 11:44

    “I am one of the mods on the blog, for the record.” – Zk

    Fair enough. 😛

  38. 38 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 24, 2008 at 12:02

    Well, much as I enjoy the crickets, I’m off to bed, disappointed yet again in my hope to hear a case for this notion of a “war about oil” in which no oil was taken. (The “news” that an oil-producing country is contracting with oil companies for extraction and sale of its oil is not surprising, impressive, or revelatory of anything whatever.)

    Viola ~~ Whatever the war’s real purpose, it was not to “establish a counterbalance to Iran.” Iraq was a counterbalance to Iran before the US destroyed it. Iran got exactly what it wanted. The man most responsible for urging the US to invade Iraq may have been working for Iran. (I forget his name–leader of the “Iraqi National Congress,” embezzler, con man, distrusted by CIA, beloved of Rumsfeld.)

    Dwight~~Your economic descriptions continue to impress. Good to see that your beer budget survives the rise in housing and fuel costs.

  39. 39 Tom
    June 24, 2008 at 12:08

    Anis – “If you are an American then you should fulfill your responsibility toward civil society to show these people the right place. ”

    I am an Australian and I did my part by voting John Howard out of office. Believe me, it was the best feeling seeing that man leaves.

  40. 40 Tom
    June 24, 2008 at 12:16

    Sure, no oil has yet been taken but the country is already in tight grip of the US and the oil companies are eagerly queuing up.

    An armed robbery doesn’t happen only after the money has changed hands. It happens much earlier when the robber plots his moves before yelling out “Don’t Move!”

  41. 41 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 24, 2008 at 12:35

    Mark, you make my point: Real research has disclosed no real evidence of the “robberies and crimes” you speak of. That is why real journalists do not publish these fairy tales in real newspapers. They aren’t true. Sarcasm and straw men don’t make it true.

    Anis: Pinochet “somehow escaped punishment” by DYING. That’s not a failure of the legal system. Likewise for Pol Pot. War crimes are stubborn things; I don’t think Henry Kissinger travels outside the country much anymore. The Serbs just formed a government that wants to join the EU, which will demand the surrender of those swine as price of admission. The UN is useless, as it always has been and always will be. It does harm only by promising to do good and failing. Also, look up “genocide” because it doesn’t mean what you think.

    Finally, if by “Pope” you mean the Pope, in Rome, he’s not especially close to Bush. It’s quite normal for the President and the Pope to maintain some relations. They are, after all, both heads of major corporations. (sly grin) Where do you hear this stuff?

  42. 42 Hanson Klitte, Belgium
    June 24, 2008 at 12:46

    If America didn’t go to Iraq over oil, but to save Iraqi people against tyranny and opression, why didn’t America intervene in Bosnia, or why doesn’t it intervene in Zimbabwe. Please Jonathan don’t insult people’s intelligence that it was anything else but oil.

  43. 43 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 24, 2008 at 12:54

    No, Tom, a robbery doesn’t happen when it’s “plotted.” It happens when it’s executed. But this robbery doesn’t happen at all. Oil companies are “eagerly queuing up” to extract and market Iraq’s oil, in the service of Iraq, for which Iraq will be paid handsomely, not to steal it, rob it, or seize it. What don’t you get about that? That’s what oil companies do for oil-producing countries. No invasion necessary. By contrast, a war of seizure and brutality is, oh, for instance Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait, which is seldom spoken of for some reason. Iraq announced that it had annexed, absorbed Kuwait, that the country did not exist. Iraq stole everything it could, and destroyed the rest. That is what a real war of robbery looks like.

    Iraq is already making so much money lately that even its politicians can’t steal it fast enough, which is pretty impressive. If you’re determined to find a real robbery in progress, I’d suggest you look at Iraq’s own government, whose corruptionn is legendary, pervasive, breathtaking, and proven.

  44. 44 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 24, 2008 at 13:08

    Oh please, Hanson. I didn’t SAY we went to war to save Iraqis from tyranny and oppression. And as it happens, it was the US that pushed Europe into action in Bosnia, too little, too late, but we did it. And Kosovo. No oil there that I know of. Even if we hadn’t, your point makes no sense. It’s a false dichotomy that the only two possible reasons for Iraq were oil and opression, and another that intervention in one place requires intervention everywhere. We intervened in Somalia for humanitarian reasons; no oil there either. Vietnam–no oil. Getting the picture? If we were to go about the world, acting as the world’s policeman, you’d be howling about that, with more justification. Your intelligence is insulted not by me, but by your own lazy dragging out of tiresome straw men, and reliance on obviously faulty logic. So is mine, actually.

  45. 45 VictorK
    June 24, 2008 at 13:13

    An interesting piece by Christopher Hitchens supporting the Hydrocarbon law .

    http://www.slate.com/id/2161629/

    As Viola pointed out, there were a plethora of motives – good, bad and indifferent -underlying the invasion of Iraq, as there are in its continuing occupation. It’s absurd to try to reduce it all to the hysterical ‘THEY CAME TO ROB US!!!’ (what, like they robbed the Kuwaitis when that country was entirely within the power of the US?).

    Jonathan in SF has noted the glaring contradiction between people screaming that it’s ALL about oil, yet no looting of resources having happened over the course of the occupation, with American priorities lying elsewhere, e.g. the on-going pacification of the country and the introduction of democratic institutions (does Bush get even a small amount of credit for delivering on that pledge? Imagine the screams if he’d reneged on that promise by pleading the difficulty of democratising Iraq at a time of occupation). Tino has highlighted the facts that make the Oil law a perfectly reasonable undertaking and not the Capitalist Vampires’ Charter that some apparently would like it to be (some critics of Bush, that is), presumably because they care more to denounce and bash the usual individual and national targets than to support viable solutions to Iraq’s problems. I’ve always supported withdrawal, but until that happens we need to deal with the situation as it is.

    Is the real objection, for some, to the fact that it is Western companies who are getting the contracts and who will profit from their labours in Iraq’s oil fields? The story mentioned that none of the contractors were from India, China or Russia, as if there weren’t perfectly good business and, more to the point, political reasons for excluding Russia and China, at least, while India’s contribution to the Coalition effort, I suspect, doesn’t warrant its being rewarded with a lucrative contract that the sacrifice of other nations has made possible (so what’s France doing there?). The culture of corruption that afflicts Iraq is unlikely to be improved by using Russian and Chinese contractors, and overcoming that culture will be an important part of the revenue-sharing arrangements that the Oil law is intended to bring about, with the consequent material and political benefits. Western companies can operate in Iraq with minimal corruption and can be held accountable for even the small amount of corruption they may be guilty of. Not so China and Russia, whose oil companies are directly or indirectly under the control of the state, an unacceptable complication in an already politically fraught situation.

    One doesn’t have to like what’s going on in Iraq to see in the Oil Law something that could operate for the benefit of Iraqis. But don’t underestimate the Iraqi talent for taking a golden opportunity, transforming it into a disaster and then blaming everybody but themselves for the outcome.

    To the critics of this Oil Law I would say: do you, in the immediate circumstances, have better alternatives? The oil is a resource that needs to be developed. The Oil Law was agreed by the Iraqis themselves, albeit under occupation. That has not prevented it being something that should operate to the benefit of Iraqis, even if the price to be paid is that others benefit too (the usual terms of any business exchange). Where is the difficulty with any of that, and what do the critics propose instead?

  46. June 24, 2008 at 13:13

    You mean the law made up at gun point, with pressure to show “political advancement” in light of the surge? This is a puppet government. Pull out US influence, let the forces that emerge reign in, and then abide by the laws they make. This is what has happened all over the Middle East. This is exactly how Saddam came to power. WE need a “trading partner” to sell us oil and protect our interests. So we prop up a militia, call it a government, and then say “see how we have helped the people?” Do you honestly think

    Saddam had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11. Again why him. When at that very moment there were people all over the world suffering at the hands of repressive dictators. When we still hadn’t nailed down Osama, the Taliban still hadn’t been quashed. Why not King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Saudis King. The homeland of 15 of the 19 hijackers? Why not Iran? I have heard nothing but how evil they are? The answer is low lying fruit.

    Don’t tell me how compassionate these criminals are. If you want to meet good Americans, read a book called, “Fair Game”. It is the same words uttered by Karl Rove when he felt spited that somebody would question his Iraq motive publicly. The outing of a covert CIA agent was more damaging to American security then any lack of media support could ever think of. And before any of the ridiculous banter that Plame was not a NOC, I will remind the reader that she spoke in front of congress about it. You can’t even speak in front of congress about taking steroids without being charged with perjury. Telling them you were a Covert agent would be pretty easy to disprove. Also the person that made that statement has apologized to her for it. George Tennet is the latest to come out and condemn the greedy unpatriotic environment of the current administration. HE is just the latest in a long line of people who have left the sphere of influence to talk about the thing they saw. But I suppose of them were “disgruntled” and wanted “book rights.”

    So if you care about Americans you don’t send them to war on false information. You don’t lie to them because you think the ficticious argument is more appealing. Rip a family apart to do it.

  47. 47 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 24, 2008 at 13:14

    @Hanson Klitte– OK, you got me. Sorry; thought you were serious. Big grin.

  48. June 24, 2008 at 13:31

    In reality not much has changed in Iraq. Do people honestly think that they human rights violations have stopped? On an earlier post discussion Iran the readers were informed of the heinous abuse of justice going on in Iran. Here is some news from Iraq.

    Woman with obvious signs of torture confesses.
    http://www.amnestyusa.org/global-write-a-thon/samar-saad-abdullah/page.do?id=1011517&n1=3&n2=34&n3=65

    Honor killings.
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5043032

  49. 49 Artash
    June 24, 2008 at 13:44

    @Jonathan, Mark etc etc

    If anyone criticises the US they are bad journalists? There is bias??? Please…

    I have read the legislation and I don’t like it. You may not see anything wrong with it, but plenty of Iraqis do – crazily, it’s THEIR coutnry. Thats why it hasn’t been approved yet. You may see this as a victory for democracy and freedom, but it doesn’t mean the future is rosy for the Iraqi state.

    If there weren’t US advisors to the government and Western companies getting the NO BID contracts, you could argue that it’s nothing to do with the OCCUPYING FORCES, but they are and it’s hard to not come to that conclusion. It’s not Russia thats there, nor China, and strangely they are not getting these contracts.

    Why do you think Venezuela, Russia, Bolivia are nationalising energy industries – why do you think Nigerians hate Shell so much? Because Big Oil are there for profit, THEIR profit, and don’t put enough back into the country they are in.

    If the war had ended when Bush said it did (Mission Accomplished), then we would have seen attempts to wrest control of natural resources earlier. As it was, the war didn’t end, it began. The US did not find a country ready to embrace them with open arms as they has hoped, but one that heavily resisted. (Yes, there were foreign fighters there too, but there were Iraqis fighting too).

    It’s only taken five years, because it has been too unstable.

    Yes, I must be biassed, anti American and a Bush Hater to have these thoughts… Or just maybe I have a point.

  50. 50 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 24, 2008 at 14:00

    Victor K ~~ Greetings. Good to see someone take up the cause of logic and reason. It’s a lost cause here though; casting pearls. Anyway, no, Bush gets no credit for anything and deserves none. That’s not “democracy” in Iraq; it’s just elections. If Bush had the brains of even an average house plant, he of all people would know the difference, since he came to power by subverting our own democratic process. Twice. They had elections under Saddam. Big deal. Indelible ink on the voters’ fingers was a nice touch, given that the Sunnis had been promised swift and certain death if they voted. Voter suppression–a little trick left over from Florida in 2000 election.

    Also surely you can’t, with a straight face, describe the operation of American corporations in Iraq even thus far as “minimally corrupt.” I think all previous records were broken. We’d have gold medals if corruption were an Olympic event, and the real money hasn’t started flowing yet..

    Why should oil contracts be awarded only to companies whose headquarters are in a country that was “willing” to sign on to the invasion and occupation of Iraq? Or denied to those who didn’t? I don’t get it.

    I’ll read Hitchens because he’s brilliant and witty, but he’s dead wrong about this war and always has been.

  51. 51 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 24, 2008 at 14:17

    Artash, you may well have a point, but not against me, because I didn’t say any of the things you’re disputing. I haven’t read the law, I don’t defend it, I don’t give a rat’s tail about Iraq. We never should have invaded, it’s doing nobody any good, it’s making millions of enemies in the Islamic world to no purpose, it’s torn apart Iraq, and ironically it’s done great damage to the “war on terror” by sapping the strength of the US armed forces and pulling resources away from Afghanistan, where bin Laden and his merry men were based.

    As far as I care, we should pull out yesterday and let them slaughter each other until they tire of the endeavor, or finish the job, or wise up and learn to live with each other. We have accomplished nothing there for them or ourselves. Whoever ends up with the job of running the place will want to sell the oil, and we will stand ready to buy it, to develop it, to do whatever needs doing, if we’re wanted. As a consumer, all oil is alike and all oil companies are alike to me.

    My only point, for the fifth time, is that we haven’t taken their oil. TAKEN. Like they did to Kuwait. Like colonial powers did to their colonies. Invade, occupy, TAKE stuff. We simply haven’t done that. It seems an obvious distinction, yet it escapes the knuckle-draggers who abound here.

  52. 52 Artash
    June 24, 2008 at 14:30

    @ Jonathan. Fair enough and my apologies

  53. 53 John in Salem
    June 24, 2008 at 14:37

    Okay ~ one more time….
    This is a direct quote from a paper co-authored by Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby and a lot of Pentagon people who are good friends of Bush and Cheney. Wolfowitz was credited by Donald Rumsfeld and Bush as being the primary architect of the war in Iraq. It was published in 1991.

    “In the Persian Gulf region, the presence of American forces, along with British and French units, has become a semipermanent fact of life. Though the immediate mission of those forces is to enforce the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq, they represent the long-term commitment of the United States and its major allies to a region of vital importance. Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein”.

    http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf
    The quote is from page 14.

    The primary strategic mission in Iraq was the establishment of a virtual Okinawa in the Middle East. The neo-con vision of the future in the period following the collapse ot the Soviet Union focused on the threats of Iran and Syria to the oil that will remain the life blood of the West for a good part of this century. This war was about securing Western access to that oil and countering those threats.
    If you want to believe our motives were more noble than that it makes no difference. If you want to believe we went there to steal the oil it still makes no difference. Iraq was intentionally destabilized and it is only our continued presence that prevents total anarchy.
    As much as I respect and agree with Lubna’s sentiments, the reality is that whether we call it “armed robbery” or “liberation”, our opinions mean nothing and
    the particulars of how the oil is apportioned are irrelevant – the mission was accomplished the day we invaded.

  54. 54 Tino
    June 24, 2008 at 15:25

    “The number of deaths during Saddam’s quarter century of rule is infinitestimal compare to the 4 years of occupation led by the Americans. If liberation for the Iraqi people in the American context means more deaths and tortures, then I prefer being under the rule of a dictator.”

    You are completely wrong. Just utterly and completely wrong. In addition, most of the deaths due to this war are attributed to the very people we are over there fighting.

    http://hrw.org/reports/1993/iraqanfal/ANFALPRE.htm

  55. 55 Nick in USA
    June 24, 2008 at 15:44

    Jonathan said:

    “My only point, for the fifth time, is that we haven’t taken their oil. TAKEN. Like they did to Kuwait. Like colonial powers did to their colonies. Invade, occupy, TAKE stuff. We simply haven’t done that. It seems an obvious distinction, yet it escapes the knuckle-draggers who abound here.”

    I think your statements were spot on in your last post, but this “we haven’t taken their oil” argument is only convenient right now. We will put big oil companies over there, and we will buy their oil. Will you completely throw out your comments when this happens? In addition, whether we are taking oil out of Iraq doesn’t determine whether oil was a motive in going to war. Simply by stabilizing and putting western influence in the region will eventually pay off in our ability to control oil flow from the middle east.

    I think Viola’s post has been the most accurate so far. There were many reasons that we went into Iraq. To say that oil was the only reason or wasn’t a reason at all is false.

  56. 56 Roberto
    June 24, 2008 at 15:48

    Which made me wonder: why do western countries get preference?
    ————————————————————————————————–

    ——– The thread topic as worded is a red herring that does nothing but inflame dialogue.

    Iraq has been in a state of sectarian anarchy and has no credible leaders. Obviously the GDub administration can’t be trusted to do anything credible so nobody really knows any the details of the oil contract which likely will be sifting as much as the sands.

    As such, the US coalition includes support by NATO members and has a large role in reestablishing the Iraqi oil industry. Since there was no support by the Russians or Chinese, for now they are out of the picture, but these relationships are not permanent. The Russians still have Iran and the Chinese will be buying as much as they can when it comes available.

    The claim that the Iraqi war was only about oil is so nonsensical as to begger belief. It would have been much easier to forgo any attempt at democracy which has cost the US a fortune in treasure and lives not to mention the cost to the Iraqis and impose a military rule using Baath administrators to continue to run minor day to day affairs. See Tibet for an example of that model.

    The oil coming out of Iraq has only been a bare trickle so far and had been steadily dwindling under Saddam because of sanctions and lack of maintenance of critical infrastructure. Terrorists blowing up everything and civilians stripping everything they could salvage didn’t help.

    The whole Iraqi affair has been disasterously conceived and implemented, but to call it a robbery when it has instead cost the US a fortune is ridiculous. Not even a botched robbery. More like a massive strategic blunder.

    Critics need to start holding themselves to higher standards.

  57. 57 Nick in USA
    June 24, 2008 at 15:58

    @ Tino and Mohammed Ali

    Sorry, but there is absolutely no way to know how many people died under Saddam’s rule or as a result of america’s war on Iraq. After a quick googling, I found http://www.iraqbodycount.org/, which claims to show documented deaths from violence attributed to “military or paramilitary action and the breakdown in civil security following the invasion”. The estimates are between 85-92,000. Does anyone feel they have a more accurate source for this information? I’d love to review it if anyone does. So far, I’ve yet to hear any explanation that could justify this many people losing their lives.

  58. 58 Artash
    June 24, 2008 at 16:56

    @ Nick

    It was deliberate US policy to not count Iraqi deaths in the first few years of the war. Not until they felt they could attribute iraqi deaths to suicide bomber and other iraqia did they start counting. Iraq Body Count have done what they could given the lack of information. Iraqis couldn’t count because their country was in chaos, the only people who had the means to count were the occuying armies.

    “General Tommy Franks, the US commander in the Iraq war last year, spelled it out before the invasion began.
    “We don’t do body counts,” he said, referring to the Iraqis that might be killed in the forthcoming conflict.

    His deputies were left to explain why a careful toll of American dead was kept but Iraqi deaths went unrecorded.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/dec/09/iraq.iraq

  59. 59 Nick in USA
    June 24, 2008 at 17:13

    @ Artash

    I remember general Franks saying that and I agree with you. The USA doesn’t want an accurate body count because it would be time consuming and it would only hurt their cause politically.

  60. 60 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 24, 2008 at 17:33

    Nick~~ I think the fact that we (US) never bothered to keep count of Iraqi civilian casualties makes a clear, and damning, statement of official priorities all by itself. But I was hearing estimates in six figures a couple of years ago. With no official count (GRRR!), and difficult, dangerous conditions (like neighborhoods where they kill Americans on sight, and anyone seen talking to Americans, often creatively over the course of an evening, with power drills and such), there’s a wide range of estimates. Sorry I don’t have sources on hand to cite for you. I heard a long piece on NPR maybe two years ago that talked about a study that some east caost university did, which came up with something over 100,000, a figure so large that it got reviewed over and over by the researchers, then by peers, and supposedly nobody could find a hole in the methodology. That figure, like yours, was inclusive of Iraqis killed by other Iraqis, which I assume comprises the majority. Arguably these are the fault of the US, since we destroyed the security and secret police infrastructure and neglected to replace it.

    Then there’s a couple of million refugees, actually most of the educated middle class left the country entirely.

    Optionally, compare the figure to estimates of how many people Saddam’s regime murdered, which is even murkier but I think I’ve heard something like 200,000. Very many more if you count the several wars he started, and still more if you add the dead from the opposing sides of the wars. Iran lost some frightful number of people, including children.

    One can say that nothing can justify this many people losing their lives, or one can consider some balance of Saddam victims and war victims to sectarian and US victims. I wouldn’t presume to be qualified for that sort of godlike moral calculation, and I don’t say any of this to justify the US invasion, which I opposed then and now, just to suggest that it’s more complex than the slogan spouters would have it.

  61. 61 viola
    June 24, 2008 at 18:27

    Jonathan in sunny San Francisco:

    I know about Saddam Hussein’s brutal strength and great personal courage in the battle to contain Iran’s sanctimonious mullahs and Syria’s undoubted ambitions in the Middle East. To all appearances, brutality is exactly what is required for anything resembling stability in that area of the world. Victor has often made that point and the logical point that follows: the rest of the world must accept that reality and leave them to it.

    That is such a sad sort of reality. Are the people of Iraq actually ungovernable except by brutality?

    My personal hope is that out of all the chaos, the Iraqi’s, with the help of the U.S.’s strength and the world community’s assistance, will forge a stronger nation based on something other than the brutal suppression of anyone who has a difference of opinion with a brutal dictator.

    Compared to that, who gets the oil advantage is small change.

  62. June 24, 2008 at 19:32

    Hello guys… Oh my goodness ! I’m really so sorry for the terribly late reply ! It’s just that last night I didn’t sleep at all and earlier today I had my rather harsh final year surgery exam, so right now I just feel that my little head has become a drum ! Please guys, forgive me ! Anyway, thanks alot for all of your supermarvellous responses to this topic, and I just want to make some points clear : 15 of my loved ones had died since 2003 and till now… Some of them were really soooo close to me, to the extent that I’d rather see me dead than to see them dead… Everything in my life has changed forever since their departure, and most importantly me… Many beautiful things inside me have been disrupted forever ever since… I say all this and I (as some of our Precious friends already know) am a firm supporter of Saddam’s departure… The Iraq war to me is simply a very big lie… To me, the Bush administration started the Iraq war for the sake of controlling our vast natural resources (the most important of which is oil of course), and also for the sake of establishing a vital strategic base in a region which is extremely important for both short and long term American interests… To me the hidden intentions behind this war were actually dirty and mean… Some of you guys may be interested in checking out this web link “The BBC uncovers lost Iraq billions” : news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7444083.stm. Also you guys may be interested in checking out those two websites : iraqoillaw.com and iraqog.com. I just want to make one thing clear here : I just adore so many aspects of the American civilisation, and I do have many Precious personal American friends, but the wound is just so big, so deep, so inflamed, and still severely bleeding ! Now guys, if you excuse me, but this headache is just driving me nuts ! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  63. 63 Tino
    June 24, 2008 at 19:39

    Nick

    The fact remains that more have died under Saddam than during the invasion. It also is a fact that the Iraqis cannot build up their oil industry without help and so wrote this law. Would you care to comment on exactly what is wrong with it?

  64. 64 Tino
    June 24, 2008 at 20:04

    Lubna

    What do you have against the Oil Law EXACTLY? Do you honestly think your country could, without foreign help/investment, develop the required infrastructure? As much as you seem to say you are not against America etc etc, that is all I ever see from you.

  65. 65 Tino
    June 24, 2008 at 20:08

    Also how would we be controlling your vast resources when everything approved must be shown to benefit your country and the people inside it?

    In addition:

    “Article 1: Ownership of Petroleum Resources
    Oil and gas are owned by all the people of Iraq in all the Regions and Governorates.”

  66. 66 Nick in USA
    June 24, 2008 at 20:18

    @ Tino

    Unfortunately, that fact doesn’t remain because we don’t know how many people died in either situation. Right now, we only have guestimates. We will probably never know. For something to be fact it must be proven. Have these death tolls been proven? Also, I have not spoken out about the law you speak of. However, without the war, these companies would still not be allowed into Iraq and the law would never have existed.

  67. 67 Nick in USA
    June 24, 2008 at 20:21

    Tino said:

    “Also how would we be controlling your vast resources when everything approved must be shown to benefit your country and the people inside it?”

    Who decides whether something benefits the Iraq? Elected officials?

  68. 68 Tino
    June 24, 2008 at 20:24

    Nick

    We do not know exact figured but it should be rather obvious more people died under Saddam. Counting all of the wars and internal executions etc, etc. The estimates for how many died under Saddam are far higher. I mean, you seriously think more have died in the last 5 years than all of the years under him?

  69. 69 Nick in USA
    June 24, 2008 at 20:48

    Tino

    I don’t have an opinion on the situation Tino. That’s the difference. I cannot have an opinion on the issue without factual information. The estimates for how many people died under Saddam are only estimates. It’s not something that can be estimated. Unless, you were the leader of Saddam’s secret killing squad, you don’t really know. It’s a wild guess. I know you feel strongly about it and you want to believe that he was a murderer of millions, but that’s just a feeling, it isn’t a fact.

  70. June 24, 2008 at 21:41

    Hello Precious Tino… I’m really very delighted to hear from you my good friend… My main problem with the proposed Iraq oil and gas law is THE PRODUCTION SHARING AGREEMENTS OR CONTRACTS… For more information, please check out this web link : platformlondon.org/carbonweb/showitem.asp?article=58&parent=4&link=Y&gp=3. With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  71. 71 Shirley
    June 24, 2008 at 22:20

    I feel somewhat abashed. The story of the U.S. rip-off and privatisation of Iraqi oil has been in the media for years. If the mainstream media has been ignoring it, then independent media sources have not. I fould a plethora of coverage through a radio network called Pacifica. Democracy Now, one of their shows, did several reports regarding the collusion between U.S. oil companies and Iraqi oil: August 04, 2003, September 09, 2003, May 17, 2004, June 30, 2004, and October 22, 2004.

    Especially standing out are the following two: November 17, 2004: DENIS HALLIDAY: [W]hen it came to the sale of oil by Iraq, including some 40% going to American companies indirectly, including Chevron…they also paid those kickbacks indirectly and certainly in full knowledge of what they were doing. As you know during the sanctions period, some 9 or 10% of the oil coming into the United States was Iraqi oil. and October 13, 2004: NAOMI KLEIN: [B]efore and after the invasion of Iraq, we were assured by…Paul Wolfowitz that Iraq’s oil revenues would go towards rebuilding the country. …the vast majority of the money has been going to oil companies. So we’ve seen things like Texaco receiving an award of $505 million…

    Then there were the reports, beggining in 2005, regarding the privatisation of Iraqi oil: March 21, 2005, April 07, 2005, June 13, 2005, December 07, 2006, December 11, 2006, December 07, 2007, and 14 Apr 2008.

    One of the more remarkable accounts was from May 15, 2007: A draft report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office Between shows between 100,000 and 300,000 barrels a day of Iraq’s declared oil production over the past four years is unaccounted for and could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling. The news comes as the Iraqi parliament is preparing to vote on a new law that would open up Iraq’s oil reserves to multinational oil companies.

    And Democracy Now is not the only Pacifica-based radio show covering this issue. Free Speech Radio News, one of the news shows, has the following:
    Thursday, May 24, 2007,
    August 3, 2007, and June 20, 2008. Flashpoints covered the process from a radicalised point of view: Tuesday Mar 25, 2003, Tuesday Nov 18, 2003, Tuesday, February 17, 2004, Tuesday, October 5, 2004, Monday, March 21, 2005, Wednesday, October 12, 2005, Thursday, November 24, 2005, Thursday, April 27, 2006, Tuesday, March 21, 2006, Tuesday, February 27, 2007, Thursday, March 1, 2007, Thursday, March 15, 2007, Thursday, May 10, 2007, Tuesday, May 29, 2007, and Wednesday, June 27, 2007. It just did not occur to me to look for things like this until one of us WHSayers posted the link to the NYT article about the U.S. privatisation of Iraqi oil.

  72. 72 Shirley
    June 24, 2008 at 22:39

    Somemore things that attracted my attention and that I wanted to share. Democracy Now has hosted guests who have explained the privatisation laws. Among them were an Iraqi blogger, an Iraqi union organiser, and a U.S. Representative. The interviews can really carry on, so here are a couple of excerpts.

    02 Feb 2007
    The Iraqi blogger Raed Jarrar has obtained a copy of the proposed oil law and has just translated it into English.

    RAED JARRAR: [T]here are three major points that I think we should talk about. Financially, it legalizes very unfair types of contracts that will put Iraq in very long-term contracts that can go up to thirty-five years and cause the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars from Iraqis for no cause. [T]he second point is concerning Iraq’s sovereignty. Iraq will not be capable of controlling the levels—the limits of production, which means that Iraq cannot be a part of OPEC anymore. [R]epresentatives from…ExxonMobil and Shell and [BP] will be on the federal board of Iraq approving their own contracts. [T]he third point is the point about keeping Iraq’s unity. The law will authorize all of the regional and small provinces’ authorities. [I]t will open the doors for splitting Iraq into three regions or even maybe three states in the very near future.

    May 24, 2007
    REP. DENNIS KUCINICH:

    [T]he benchmarks that the administration has been insisting upon…include a provision that insists that the Iraqi government pass a hydrocarbon act. That’s three lines…to permit multinational oil corporations to take over 80% of Iraq’s oil. I mean, this is a criminal action that is going on here, and we ought to be standing up against it and challenging it. We have no right to take Iraq’s oil or to facilitate the acquisition of Iraq’s oil on behalf of multinational corporations. You have to keep in mind that this process that the Bush administration has been pushing began even before the invasion of Iraq. Prior to the invasion of Iraq, Vice President Cheney was meeting with oil company executives. They were planning this takeover of Iraqi oil.

    July 06, 2007
    FALEH ABOOD UMARA: [translated] Article 111 of the Iraqi Constitution states that the oil and gas of Iraq are owned by the Iraqi people and they have the right to control it. But…many of the articles of the law actually conflict with this preamble of the law, the most important point of which is the issue of the production-sharing agreements, which allows the international oil companies, especially the American ones, to exploit the oil fields without our knowledge of what they are actually doing with it. And they take about 50% of the production as their share, which we think it’s an obvious robbery of the Iraqi oil. We also object to the procedure by which these companies are given the contracts for exploiting the oil, because it allows the granting of the contracts with the aid of foreign advisers. We demanded that it’s actually the Iraqi experts that need to be consulted with regards to the granting of the contracts. And we know well that the law was actually written here in the United States, with the help of James Baker and Ms. Rice and the experts from the IMF.

  73. 73 Tino
    June 24, 2008 at 22:57

    Lubna,

    Since they plan to publish all contracts transparently – going by what the law says on this one, nothing else – shouldn’t you be waiting until then? What if they make it for less time. In addition, do they not deserve the profits after paying for the infrastructure, technology, and training – all of which are to be transferred to the Iraqi people? I still do not understand. Should we be expected to build everything, train everyone, and get….nothing?

  74. 74 Syed Hasan Turab
    June 24, 2008 at 23:38

    As far as oil harvesting is concerned, Iraqi’s feel more comfortable to deal with China compairing to any other country.By the way Iraqi knows hidden benifits & top of the line charges to whome they dont condier to deal at all.
    As far as distribution of oil wealth is concerned it was in the same way, nothing new evendently Saddam Hussain’s Govt record is crystel clear beside one mistake “He was trying to do oil trade in Iraqi Deenar ( In International Market) instead of US Dollor”, I think he was right in Iraqi way apparently he was wrong in US way. Finally Mr.Bush is in a position to dictate “My way or High Way”, nothing wrong for Iraqi Govt to follow new version of Saddam Hussain’s policy.

  75. 75 Shirley
    June 25, 2008 at 00:02

    Dwight,
    To my knowledge, sectarian fighting was not part of Iraqi culture, but rather an import from al Qaeda and other fanatics who swept into the region after we opened the borders wide open with our illegal invasion and occupation.

    Carolien: That aside, foreign investment is needed in countries like Iraq, where people need to start rebuilding their lives.

    No, it isn’t. After Desert Storm, the Iraqi people rebuilt their country within months. The reason that they have not been able to do so to this point is because we have not let them. We brought in our own corrupt corporations and let them run amock, doing half-jobs and null-jobs while charging full price. We have maintained an occupation that has established oppressive laws and puppet governments which prevent the Iraqi people grom achieving their own interests.

    It says volumes that we allowed the library and archives to be looted while our troops stood guard by the Ministry of Oil.

    Dwight: This is a puppet government. Pull out US influence, let the forces that emerge reign in, and then abide by the laws they make.

    I fully wgree with you on this.

  76. 76 Count Iblis
    June 25, 2008 at 01:10

    Tino, the death rate in Iraq is way higher now than it was under Saddam in the year 2002. This is the relevant comparison, because something like a war with Iran, gassing of Kurds etc. was never going to happen anymore.

    I agree with Lubna about the motivations for the Iraq war. I think that it was for flawed strategic reasons. In the 1990s the US and Britain were abusing the UNSC to try to remove Saddam from power. The WMD case against Iraq was motivated by the desire to keep sanctions in place, not by any real evidence of actual WMD in Iraq.

    This had to go wrong, and in late 1998 it led to a crisis about inspections of presidential palaces. A completely ridiculous situation as the inspectors knew that there were no WMD in these places.

    This led to a military action and then there were no inspections until in 2002 Bush demanded that the UN adopt a strong resolution against Iraq or he would start a war right away. By that time the US and Britain were afraid that Saddam had developed WMD. Perhaps they arrived at that conclusion after asking the question: “what would we do if we were in Saddam’s position?” 🙂

    Anyway, the fact that inspectors did not find any WMD was seen as proof that Saddam was not cooporating with the inspectors (no WMD found by inspectors means he is hiding them, right?)

    So, perhaps we can say that the US and Britain had become paranoid. Just like dictators like Saddam or Stalin they were afraid of unrealistic threats and resorted to violence to eliminate that imagined threat.

    The West is still suffering from paranoia. Iran is now asked to stop enriching uranium because we are afraid that they may produce nuclear weapons in the future.

    Dr. Rice explained on CNN on Sunday that any solution to this problem in which Iran is allowed to have an enrichment facility but with the most stringent type of inspections you can imagine, is not acceptable to the US. She explained that Iran could then kick the inspectors out and use the facility to make highty enriched uranium.

    Now, if there were any proof that Iran had an active nuclear weapons program, that they had diverted nuclear materials they got from the West for a peaceful program to a secret weapons program, or some other grave violation of the NPT, you could have some sympathy for such a hard line position.

    However, we don’t have any evidence of this sort against the Iranian nuclear program. But that doesn’t stop us from making the demand that Iran cannot be allowed to put their own uranium in their own centrifuges to make fuel for their own powerplants.

    When Iran doesn’t accept this radical slution, we say: “Diplomacy has failed”. So, this is really the situation with Saddam all over again. In his case we didn’t want to resolve the WMD issue as that would lead to sanctions against Saddam being lifted and the calculation then was that:

    Saddam + oil money = disaster.

    This time it is:

    Iran + knowhow about enrichment = disaster

    And to avert disaster, all options are on the table, no matter how many lives may be lost.

  77. 77 Tino
    June 25, 2008 at 02:27

    “Tino, the death rate in Iraq is way higher now than it was under Saddam in the year 2002. This is the relevant comparison, because something like a war with Iran, gassing of Kurds etc. was never going to happen anymore.”

    I agree the death rate is higher. Why do you not think those things could have happened again? Do you agree that most deaths are attributed to the very people we fight and their tactics of bombing innocents at will instead of avoiding civilian casualties? Also, the death rate has been dropping recently, by a large margin.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_bombings_in_Iraq_since_2003

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5052138.stm

    “Although about 80% of insurgent attacks are targeted against coalition forces, the Iraqi population suffers about 80% of all casualties, according to US officials in late 2005.”

    http://en.epochtimes.com/news/8-6-13/71831.html

    ” “Total security incidents have now fallen to their lowest level in over four years, notwithstanding a temporary increase in violence associated with recent Iraqi military operations in Basra, Sadr City, and Mosul,” Khalilzad said.

    Overall, civilian deaths due to violence has fallen by 75 percent since July 2007, while high-profile attacks like car bombings decreased in May 2008, dropping below a previous two-year low achieved in December 2007, he added. “

  78. 78 Shirley
    June 25, 2008 at 02:30

    To the argument that no oil has been taken by the U.S. from Iraq, I offer the following: The conspiracy theorist in me eans to the asusmption that it is the U.S. that is responsible for the lost oil referred to in the report (below) from Democracy Now.

    One of the more remarkable accounts was from May 15, 2007: A draft report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office Between shows between 100,000 and 300,000 barrels a day of Iraq’s declared oil production over the past four years is unaccounted for and could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling. The news comes as the Iraqi parliament is preparing to vote on a new law that would open up Iraq’s oil reserves to multinational oil companies.

  79. 79 viola
    June 25, 2008 at 02:53

    I wonder why the outrage generated in the Middle East when Al Queda or one of the other militant groups does something despicable is so minuscule compared to the outrage generated when the Americans do anything at all or, in many cases, don’t do whatever someone thinks they should do.

    That’s not a facetious question. When was the last time you read something good or even benign about the U.S.? Has the whole world accepted the Iranian Mullahs’ ridiculously and childishly referring to the U.S. as the Great Satan? It sometimes seems so.

    Whether or not the U.S. should have gone to war in Iraq, I can’t say, and, frankly, neither can you. I can say that if there is illegal hanky-panky going on with respect to Iraq’s oil so that the Iraqi people will not receive any benefits, then those illegally benefiting from the oil should be held accountable to the full extent of U.S. law.

    I can also say that as far as I can tell, the U.S. is certainly no dirtier in its dealings than other countries of the world and considerably cleaner than many.

  80. 80 Anis
    June 25, 2008 at 04:05

    Viola: Your desperate attempt to prop up US morale which goes hand in hand with Bush’s rating in US, let alone the World at large, is at best ‘last gasp’. If ‘The Great Satan’ is an accepted term for US it has been reconfirmed in multiples by Bush, the lowest living creature. Recall his ‘I am sorry’ statement made in Europe recently on the innocent Iraqi lives lost; this alone can be considered a defining statement and form a basis for initiating action against him in The Hague. You can cut down on the world wide acceptability of ‘The Great Satan’ by simply doing what you should do to send Bush to the last citadel of hope for mankind – The Hague. Just send him there. I wish I was an American. I would have contributed to that effort. Even though I am not an American, I am doing my best in that direction by appealing to people with better senses in America. They form 90% of American society, I am convinced.

  81. 81 Anis
    June 25, 2008 at 04:40

    Someone is labeling the formulae given below as ‘American and Western Paranoia’.

    Saddam + oil money = disaster. This time it is: Iran + knowhow about enrichment = disaster

    No one in the West suffers from paranoia. It is killing 2 birds in one shot. Their verbal pitch is showing signs of aggression. This is purely the Israel perspective. Israel is asking them to get Iran’s nuclear program out for whatever reasons they have in mind including annihilation of Israel by Iran’s bomb. This pressure put up by Israel could be back door diplomacy by USA / CIA. Jews also must be kept happy.

    Iran cannot use nuclear weapons for obvious reasons. Iran will be finished even before her nuclear weapon is air borne for a target. But clearing a hostile Iran from the path of increased availability of oil, will serve the best interest of USA. So finish a hostile Iran and install a pliable Government to ensure an easy oil supply line.

    War with Iran is fraught with 2 dangers.

    1. Oil prices can go beyond reach of most of the industries of this world. The spike could be anyone’s guess – $400? Hard to guess. To cut down on that spike Saudi has been pressured to accept increased production of oil. When that happens in practice, attack on Iran may become viable. Aug / Sep could see the action on Iran.

    2. Distance to attack Iran could be unmanageable. Iraq is being black mailed by holding their funds in New York State Bank to ransom – sign the security pact or else your money will be inaccessible. There will be more and more pressure points that will come to fore. Once Iraq gives in, the plan for attack on Iran can be finalised. Israeli skilled manpower may be used to do the job for Americans.

    Net result by October / November – a few hundred thousand Muslim casualties in Iran and its neighbourhood with the support of Saudi and Iraq. All for oil needed by USA and perceived Israeli security.

  82. 82 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 25, 2008 at 05:24

    Oh, dear, Shirley, please just think about that issue of “who took the trickle” for a moment with me. Without the distortion of your “conspiracy theorist” glasses, if they still come off. Someone is stealing a little bit of oil in Iraq. That’s the fact presented, no more. Either Iraqis are stealing it, or Americans, or both. You reflexively assume it’s Americans. Just think about why you do that, and ask yourself whether it’s really a logical conclusion, or driven by something else. All I have is logic, and I know that logic is a distant second to emotion in the hierarchy of human influences.

    Door #1: Iraq has been skimming oil routinely for maybe 20 years that we know about. Circumventing UN oil export sanctions, arranging elaborate evasions of weapons inspectors, corrupting UN personnel to get around the “Oil for food” program, smuggling oil out by tanker truck, pipeline, whatever works. Oil money went not for food but for a collection of vast palaces, statues of Saddam, expensive weaponry, etc. In short, doing exactly this sort of thing–removing oil from the accountable stream to someplace else. The systems are all in place and already working. Can you allow yourself to think that it just possibly might be Iraqis who are doing now what they’ve done for so long before we showed up?

    Door #2: Americans are siphoning off this oil, and managing to hide it or sneak away with it somehow, unnoticed by any Iraqis. Bear in mind, again, we had invaded the place. We could have done what they did to Kuwait: changed the labels on the whole country and announced it was our 51st state, period. All of its oil would be ours. Since you know we did not do that, why would we bother to divert this relative trickle? To save a few bucks? But surely we can agree by now that cost is literally no object in this endeavor. Pennies are not being pinched. Additionally, you’d have to posit that this inexplicable theft operation is the one thing the US has managed to do effectively and discreetly, in the whole botched operation. Further, that our own GAO would come along and be given access to the records disclosing it, and nobody would prevent them from publishing this information.It’s a whopping plateful of lumpy assumptions to swallow. Can you do it without gagging?

    OK. Can you consider these two alternative scenarios and objectively say which one seems maybe just a little bit more likely than the other?

    You seem to be a pleasant person You are also emotionally invested in your ideology. I don’t expect to have convinced you. I hope at least not to have antagonized you. So what’s the verdict?

  83. 83 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 25, 2008 at 05:59

    Given the recent history of diversion, corruption, and deception in Iraq’s oil industry, and the subsequent sabotage and destruction since US invasion, why on earth would anyone find it “remarkable” that oil is being diverted? It would be remarkable if it weren’t being diverted. More remarkable still if the US were successfully diverting it, and then investigating itself, and disclosing its own crime.

    It’s very remarkable that anyone would take that and assume the US took the oil. One has either to perform some impressive logical contortions, or simply to bypass logic and unblinkingly accept the absurdly improbable.

    It’s remarkable that, after convincing themselves of the near-impossible, the people who follow this sort of fundamentalist anti-American dogma then smile knowingly and tell each other how well-informed and perceptive they are. Oh, well. If everyone agreed on what was remarkable, what would be the point of remarking on anything?

  84. June 25, 2008 at 06:40

    Good morning guys, and also good morning to you Precious Tino… To reply to your point I say : The Iraqi State can actually hire those foreign oil companies, and pay them the amount of money that completely satisfies them in exchange for the job they’ll be doing in my Iraq… But the production sharing agreements will actually make those foreign oil companies PARTNERS in our national oil wealth… The PSAs will actually make a fraction of our national oil wealth a private property of the foreign oil companies… We Iraqis don’t want them to be partners in our national oil wealth, we want them to be employees that get paid very well for the quality of the job they’ll be doing in our Iraq… But to have them own a share of our national oil wealth for quite a long peroid of time and may be indefinitely ?! No thanks ! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  85. 85 Anis
    June 25, 2008 at 06:49

    Jonathan: Your response to Shirley is civilised and pleasant. Just as a reader of these entries here because of my interest in the subject, I find your response very human and appreciate its tone. Good.

    In door#2 you seem to have missed one possibilty – what if in the entire chain of security arrangement in Iraq – all were placed in win-win situation? Then everything is possible. Please do not conclude that American soldiers are incoruptible, because they have proven themselves to be just as low through various recorded acts of being low in their behaviour as any in the entire world. So, if you have interested American soldiers, interested Iraqi colluders, interested international illegal oil traders – then you have the infrastructure ready for transit of oil. That pinching could have taken place in good scale because source to destination it was all covered and none identified. You think American corporations, always on the look out for profits, will opt away from such opportunities?

  86. 86 Anis
    June 25, 2008 at 07:05

    Lubna: Then why Americans only for the job. Go for competitive bids and get the best out of the opportunity. Mind you as long as Dick Cheney is there you will be on the wrong side of the cash counter. This is golden rule your rulers must keep in mind.

    I must also tell you to beware of signing the security arrangement with USA – it is one of the steps that will take them closer to attacking Iran which is the first objective on their minds today. And if Iran is attacked Iraq will be twice vulnerable. Do not go by the Sunni Shia line of demarcation – it is a ploy that will keep Sunnis against Shias till Iran and Iraq are brought in their control. Colonial era will begin afresh with a new look.

  87. 87 Roberto
    June 25, 2008 at 09:17

    To my knowledge, sectarian fighting was not part of Iraqi culture, but rather an import from al Qaeda and other fanatics who swept into the region after we opened the borders wide open with our illegal invasion and occupation.
    ———————————————————————————————

    ——– This notion of a pure and wholesome culture before the advance of US troops simply is not true.

    The 1/3rd minority Sunnis under the aegis of the Baath party brutally suppressed the smaller minority Kurds and the vast majority Shiites. Shiites in particular were forced to fight in the front lines in Saddam’s wars against Iran and the US. Saddam got to kill two birds with one stone by pitting Iraqi Shiites against Iranian Shiites.

    Critics always forget that the US was already being blamed for the deaths of a half million Iraqi children because of their enforcement of UN sanctions, so the question arises, just what was the world and the US supposed to do about Saddam? Everyone knows he was doing a thriving black market business and plenty of essentials were entering the country.

    Even Lubna admits she is glad to be rid of him and his sick sons.

    Most in America know now that GDub has mismanaged his office and American credibility. This issue of Iraqi deaths will eventually be resolved with an acceptable range of figures, but it’s complete nonsense to completely blame the US for this brutal part of the world. They’d still be catching flak for maintaining the status quo by the usual suspects.

    Things could always be done better by any of us at any moment, so the real issue should be where does the US and Iraq go from here? I submit there is no consensus. 3 states are being thrown around which means means 3 small and weak states to be swallowed up by hungry neighbor states. Turks won’t stand for a Kurdistan, Iraqi Sunnis will be completely surrounded by hostile neighbors and Iraqi Shiites will most assuredly feel the growing might of the Iranian mullahs.

    Most understand that even if a majic wand could be waved and every American disappeared from Iraq that the bloodletting would only just begin. There is zero oil in Lebanon, yet look at what has happened there.

    I gravely regret that GDub has grossly mangled his moment in history, but what am I to make of histrionic headlines purporting the biggest armed robbery in history? Why can’t a more constructive talking point be designed rather than tabloid type?

  88. 88 Pangolin- California
    June 25, 2008 at 10:12

    Has anybody considered a Saudi diversion as a reason for the war? A blogger on the Peak Oil websites, Paul Chefurka proposes the hypothesis that Iraq was invaded to prop up Saudi oil exports and by proxy the US economy. http://www.paulchefurka.ca/Iraq%20and%20Saudi%20Arabia.html

    The US economy is utterly dependent upon a policy of endless growth. If the economy does not grow it is said to be in a recession and if it contracts enough we refer to it as a depression. In order to have endless growth the input of feedstocks must grow as well. The most important feedstock in the world is oil and the most important source of oil is Saudi Arabia.

    If it becomes general knowledge that Saudi Arabia’s oilfields are in decline all economic bets are off. Wall Street assets become worth pennies on the dollar as there is no way to assess profitability in an energy constrained society. Has anybody been following the failure of the airline and auto industries in the US? Two of the largest industries headed for bankruptcy by high oil prices.

    If oil was diverted from Basra to Saudi Arabia via the pipeline built in the 80’s the Saudi’s would be able to export their own oil while using Iraqi oil for domestic use. This would keep Saudi oil exports up and therefore prop up world financial markets long enough for informed parties to make one last run on the markets. Should the Iraqi’s achieve a unified government and domestic control of oil facilities they might object to this arrangement.

    Here we are five years later and the occupation of Iraq has no end in sight and the US controls the Iraqi oil production and ministry. Saudi Arabia is unable to keep up with world oil demand the the financial markets are in turmoil.

    Iraq’s oil is certainly being stolen; the question is where is it going? I think Paul Chefurka is right.

  89. 89 Shirley
    June 25, 2008 at 12:53

    Viola remarked, I wonder why the outrage generated in the Middle East when Al Queda or one of the other militant groups does something despicable is so minuscule compared to the outrage generated when the Americans do anything at all…

    Perhaps it is because we all know that al Qaeda thrives on murderous extremism and despotism. We, on the other hand, are supposed to operate on democratic ideals. We are supposed to have the higher moral ground. Al Qaeda blowing up dozens of women, children, elderly, and civilians in a market is not surprising. It is precisely what terrorists do. When Americans torture, use WMD or checmical weapons, bomb or otherwise attack ambulances and journalists, etc. we are obviously shocked, because te U.S. is supposedly a democracy and based on higher ideals than your average terrorist organisaiton. Or so I thought.

    Roberto: This notion of a pure and wholesome culture before the advance of US troops simply is not true. The 1/3rd minority Sunnis under the aegis of the Baath party brutally suppressed the smaller minority Kurds and the vast majority Shiites. Shiites in particular were forced to fight in the front lines in Saddam’s wars against Iran and the US. Saddam got to kill two birds with one stone by pitting Iraqi Shiites against Iranian Shiites.

    I was talking about the people, not the dictator that te U.S. imposed on them. Additionally, I did not imply that Iraqi culture was completely pure before the illegal U.S. invasion, just that sectarian fighting was not a part of it.

    Critics always forget that the US was already being blamed for the deaths of a half million Iraqi children because of their enforcement of UN sanctions, so the question arises, just what was the world and the US supposed to do about Saddam?

    Allow humanitarian groups to do their work, rather than criminalising them whenever they took food and medicines to Iraq. It would also have been nice if they had not allowed their pet corporations to obtain underhanded deals that bypassed the sanctions.

    Pangolin, what did you mean by “prop up Saudi oil exports”? I can’t understand the tangible of economic import of the phrase.

  90. 90 Shirley
    June 25, 2008 at 13:08

    Looks like in addition to spell cjecks, we should also be html’ing our posts to test them for tag accuracy. I am such a repeat offender on both counts. My bad.

  91. 91 Tino
    June 25, 2008 at 14:54

    Lubna,

    I cannot really fault that position. As long as we agree companies should be compensated for their work I do not care how it is done. I would point out that MANY other countries use PSAs, however (Jordan, Congo, etc.).

    “Then why Americans only for the job. Go for competitive bids and get the best out of the opportunity. Mind you as long as Dick Cheney is there you will be on the wrong side of the cash counter. This is golden rule your rulers must keep in mind.”

    Because we have fought to remove Saddam and restore control to the people. Why should a Russian or Chinese company come in after we did all that and get the contracts? Also, I thought it was just NATO countries that could get them, not solely the US (is this correct or no?).

  92. 92 Nick in USA
    June 25, 2008 at 15:04

    @ Shirley

    Unfortunately, both Democracy Now and Air America are both suspect in my book. I’m an independent with liberal leaning, but some of their information is false. I heard the host of Democracy now claim a civilian death toll of over 1,000,000 people as a result of operation desert storm prior to our second venture in Iraq. Granted, I would have liked to use that number to debate with Tino, but it’s just not accurate. On the other hand, Air America is just the left sided opposition to the Rush Limbaughs and Laura Ingrahams. They sensationalize everything and their facts are suspect.

  93. 93 Nick in USA
    June 25, 2008 at 15:20

    Count Iblis said:

    “Anyway, the fact that inspectors did not find any WMD was seen as proof that Saddam was not cooporating with the inspectors (no WMD found by inspectors means he is hiding them, right?)”

    Count, I think some of your assessments on the build up to the Iraq war are correct, but I don’t think you were quite on the mark with the quoted statement. If I remember correctly, Saddam wouldn’t let inspectors into certain areas to check for WMDs, and that was what they used as proof that he was hiding something. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that he had them. If a foreign body tried to get into area 51 for an inspection, I’m quite sure the USA wouldn’t be real keen on that, but it’s not proof that there’s a spaceship inside.

  94. 94 Nick in USA
    June 25, 2008 at 15:28

    Tino said:

    “Total security incidents have now fallen to their lowest level in over four years, notwithstanding a temporary increase in violence associated with recent Iraqi military operations in Basra, Sadr City, and Mosul,” Khalilzad said.”

    Ok, I’ll accept the “surge is working” statistics, but it doesn’t justify the war. If I kill 5 people today, 4 people tomorrow, and continue to decrease by 1 each day, does that mean that I shouldn’t go to jail because I’m learning not to kill as many people and eventually I’ll be at 0?

  95. 95 Nick in USA
    June 25, 2008 at 15:43

    Tino said:

    “Because we have fought to remove Saddam and restore control to the people. Why should a Russian or Chinese company come in after we did all that and get the contracts? Also, I thought it was just NATO countries that could get them, not solely the US (is this correct or no?).”

    Tino, this really is not a good argument for you to make. Especially, in a thread entitled “the biggest armed robbery in history”. If the point of the war was not oil, then we have absolutely no claims to Iraqi oil. If however, you feel that the war gives us claim to their oil, then you’ve completely thrown out the war was not an armed robbery argument.

  96. June 25, 2008 at 16:25

    The funds should all be amassed into a central Bank after the foreign developers take their fair percentage of profit.

    One third of the net needs to be used to support the workings of the Government.

    One third of the net needs to be used to invest in diverse stocks both local businesses and foreign investments for a future long lasting dividend to each Iraqi citizen

    The last third of the net profit needs to be dolled out directly to each and every registered Iraqi citizen. That is child, wife, husband all get an individual check to your registered social security number or national passport #, Each year all citizens report to receive their checks.

    Eventually as oil peters out the investment funds will combine to ensure an annual dividend to each individual Iraqi citizen.

    This was done in Alaska for Alaskans.

    troop

  97. 97 Shirley
    June 25, 2008 at 16:48

    Hello, Nick
    While I did not mention Air America, I do think that one of the shows that I cited, Flashpoints, is on the same level. If I had a chance to, though, I would listen to it regularly. The live reports that they bring in from ignored hot spots around the world, the interviews conducted with avergae people and ignored pundits, and the regular updates on issues that interest me are all attractive for me in terms of a an investigative radio magasine. The host is definitely outspoken, which is why I feel that it is comparable.

    You raise an interesting point regarding Democracy Now. Was it the host or a guest whom you heard cite 1,000,000 killed in Desert Storm? Too bad their archives don’t go back that far. Do you think that they continue to make the same errors to date?

  98. 98 Nick in USA
    June 25, 2008 at 17:01

    @ Troop

    That is a great idea. I can’t see any faults in it other than it’s viability. The people who are currently laying claim to Iraq’s oil would undoubtedly try to prevent anything like this from happening. Also, who decides which companies will receive investment? Shiites will want to invest in their own infrastructure and Sunnis will do the same.

  99. 99 Tino
    June 25, 2008 at 17:25

    “If I kill 5 people today, 4 people tomorrow, and continue to decrease by 1 each day, does that mean that I shouldn’t go to jail because I’m learning not to kill as many people and eventually I’ll be at 0?”

    We aren’t killing the vast majority of the dead civilians, as I already stated. Hence why the surge reduced deaths instead of increasing them – which is what would have happened if we were killing most of the civilians.

    “If the point of the war was not oil, then we have absolutely no claims to Iraqi oil.”

    We aren’t stealing anything. We are developing infrastructure and transferring technology and training. I did not say we have claims merely that we SHOULD be getting preferential treatment in terms of contract awards since we are the ones who enabled them to make any decisions in the first place. I think the law, as it reads in the link I posted, seems entirely fair to all parties. Technology and training are REQUIRED to be transferred by the law. The Iraqi people are supposed to have final ownership of all oil. Every contract MUST be demonstrated to give a fair return to the country and the people. All you guys have been saying, excepting Lubna who actually took issue with a specific part of the law, is that we are robbing them. How? Nothing in the law is outrageous or ridiculous. You guys bring no constructive argument and repeat nonsense over and over again. I posted the law, I read the law….you guys are saying the fact that western companies are awarded the contracts makes it robbery – when the contracts MUST, again, be demonstrated to be of benefit to the Iraqi people.

    “The people who are currently laying claim to Iraq’s oil would undoubtedly try to prevent anything like this from happening.”

    Why would western companies, after getting their fair share of the profits, care what they do with the money? The only thing that would prevent this from happening is the Iraqi government. Nice try.

  100. 100 Anis
    June 25, 2008 at 18:14

    Tino: You shock me by saying ‘Because we have fought to remove Saddam and restore control to the people. Why should a Russian or Chinese company come in after we did all that and get the contracts? Also, I thought it was just NATO countries that could get them, not solely the US (is this correct or no?).’

    By your own argument America did not go there for oil. You went to liberate Iraq from a despot. That was also a show of democracy (by force though) by your favourite Bush but most hated by the World. What democracy is your Bush trying to impose there? Are you saying you have earned the right to all contracts just because you did everything in Iraq? Are you aware that your country is an aggressor and the act of invading Iraq was illegal? You as an American should be ashamed at the deed of Bush. Instead you are demanding right to all contracts. You have bled that well off country almost to death and you want the loot now? NATO did nothing in Iraq (get your facts clear) but it was ‘coalition of the willing’ – those hungry East Europeans from Europe’s backyard. They are not getting any part of the loot.

    Some of you Americans are the most immoral creatures in this World. Dick Cheney is the face of that ugly creature. He is at the helm of this murderous plan. I think his grave will be filled with the oil he loots.

  101. 101 Tino
    June 25, 2008 at 18:30

    “Some of you Americans are the most immoral creatures in this World.”

    Some of you non-americans are blinded by hatred. We could be immoral, but then you would be entirely too afraid to criticize us because if we were immoral, the power at our fingertips could easily be brought to bear. It is ridiculous that this nonsense keeps coming up. If we were as immoral as the people that we stand against, their countries would be nothing but ash. Sadly, on occasion, I wish we were immoral so you people could understand the real difference.

    “Instead you are demanding right to all contracts.”

    I am not demanding anything. I am saying they made the choice to award contracts and the fact that they went to the countries who fought to give them freedom seems reasonable enough. Saddam was immoral, people who slaughter their own citizens to remain in power are immoral.

    Could someone please explain to me what a legal invasion is?

    “because they have proven themselves to be just as low through various recorded acts of being low in their behaviour as any in the entire world.”

    Our troops have done nothing of the sort. Their ROI is insane, not that you would care. They cannot fire first, they must give multiple warnings at checkpoints, they cannot enter mosques, etc. And they, ON THE WHOLE, obey all of the rules set for them, despite it putting them at far greater danger.

    “You have bled that well off country almost to death and you want the loot now?”

    How? As usual, you toss out empty arguments with popularized nonsense. Please explain how the Iraqi Oil law is bad. Lubna put forth a constructive argument, why cant you? Little too hard to think instead of foaming at the mouth and trashing my country?

  102. 102 Nick in USA
    June 25, 2008 at 18:47

    Tino said:

    It doesn’t matter who is killing the civilians. The fact is that they are dead as a result of the war.

    “I did not say we have claims merely that we SHOULD be getting preferential treatment in terms of contract awards since we are the ones who enabled them to make any decisions in the first place.”

    This is a claim Tino. You are claiming preferential treatment. It’s that simple. If you want to claim that the war had nothing to do with oil, then you have absolutely no right to say american companies should get preferential treatment when dealing with oil.

    “Why would western companies, after getting their fair share of the profits, care what they do with the money? The only thing that would prevent this from happening is the Iraqi government. Nice try.”

    You think that most companies operate by taking their fair amount and then walking away? So the gas companies just charge the fair value of a barrel of oil and no more? That’s why we are paying $4.00 at the pump?

    I do agree that the Iraqi government would be a problem because they would be very easy for big oil companies to bribe.

  103. 103 David
    June 25, 2008 at 19:51

    Theft on a grand scale.

  104. 104 Tino
    June 25, 2008 at 20:35

    “This is a claim Tino. You are claiming preferential treatment. It’s that simple.”

    I think we should – I do not demand or think it is necessary. If they chose not to, that is their choice – but they did and you should respect that.

    “You think that most companies operate by taking their fair amount and then walking away? ”

    They would be limited by a contract agreed to with the Iraqi government so yeah I think they would be forced to respect it.

    “If you want to claim that the war had nothing to do with oil”

    I am sure it formed a partial reason but we are certainly not robbing them and thus the title of this thread is ridiculous.

  105. 105 Pangolin-California
    June 25, 2008 at 22:18

    @ Shirley- The reason Saudi Oil exports need to be propped up is explained in a thesis referred to as the ‘Export Land Model’ (see Wiki) Roughly put a country with an expanding population that exports oil must eventually come to the point where declining oil production and climbing domestic use eliminate exports to offshore buyers.

    The countries that currently demonstrate this model best are currently Mexico and Indonesia. In both these countries export declines exceed production declines by a significant percentage. There are some reports that Russia is exporting less petroleum this year than it has in the past.

    The point is that the US economy, and therefore the world, is utterly dependent upon exports from Saudi Arabia for it’s continued function without massive restructuring. The problem with massive restructuring is that it makes much of what passes for investments in the current stock market moot.

    We have to prop up the illusion that everything is fine until all the big players can get their cash out. Then the whole thing goes pop. If inflation is going up and the stock market is falling what does that mean your stock portfolio is actually worth in bags of wheat or gallons of gasoline?

    Oil imports were always a Ponzi scheme. The Bush administration managed to keep the scheme going another eight years by invading Iraq. Reality always wins the long battle.

  106. 106 Mark from kansas
    June 26, 2008 at 12:41

    I am begining to think the real robbery has taken place in the deregulation of commodity markets. While the world was not looking the life blood of the worlds economy was firmly placed in the hands of these “speculators” and now Big boys of oil have an exelent price, that “speculators” say will stay high forever, and a shot at the second largest reserve in the world. The scary thing is the Big boys of oil can bring the world to it’s knees. We can’t touch these people, all they have to do is say shut it down. The markets are not reflecting the normal behavior of economics. Demand is going down, supply is going up. Commodity regulators all over the world should shooting these barn sized ducks out of the sky. We are effectively being held hostage by big oil. While every military on the planet still uses gas and diseal fueled equipment they call the shots. What are you gona do about it?

  107. 107 Emile Barre
    July 1, 2008 at 23:20

    Pouring oil on troubled waters is never a good idea.

  108. 108 Jens
    July 2, 2008 at 00:04

    Emile,

    well the oil might smoothen the waves, BUT pouring it into a raging flame that is a different proposition.


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