Monday, September 17, 2007

Iraq and Oil

It is a constant refrain that we hear - the war in Iraq was/is about oil. Even Alan Greenspan has said it (so it must be true). No blood for oil. Bush went into Iraq for his oil buddies.

Help me understand this. It honestly doesn't make any sense to me. Here's my logic.

If we went into Iraq to get oil, we would have a larger supply of oil at our disposal.
A larger supply of oil means lower oil prices.
Lower oil prices means people feeling better about the economy.
People feeling better about the economy means higher presidential approval ratings.

But ...

Oil supplies are down.
Prices are higher.
Public confidence in the economy is down.
And so are the President's poll numbers.

The facts being what they are, this argument against the war just makes no sense to me. What am I missing?


A said...

The same people that would say that it is because of oil would probably say that ultimately el presidente doesn't care about his approval ratings, but it is all about the almighty dollar. So, the war wasn't to gain control of the oil directly and increase the supply "at our disposal" but to make sure that it is in "friendly" hands from which we can purchase it. The more difficult it seems it is to get the oil from these "friendly" hands given the current conflicts means Georgie's money grubbing oil tycoons in the great country of Texas can charge more for their product and line their ranches with ducats and fill their 10 gallon hats with change.
Not saying it is true or that I believe it, but that's how the logic goes on the "other side" of the argument.

Matthew said...

I think Greenspan did release a statement clarifying himself a bit more.

Holy crow! Didn't you just open a can of worms, though?

You're a much braver soul than I am. Be sure to send any threats you get to the appropriate authorities.

I will basically go along with "a" on this one. This is, thankfully (you'll understand why I write "thankfully" in a bit), the mainstream opposition view (or at least I surely do hope it is). The reason why it doesn't make any sense, IMHO, is because when you have enough hatred, you don't really need a coherent reason.

There exists a loonier element out there that is insistent that the whole thing is not so much about mere money but is more about the "elites" (which includes Bush, Cheney, and also a whole slew of other people depending on the type of looney you find yourself dealing with) securing their power base through control over all major infrastructures (especially oil and energy production). I like to think this element is in the extreme minority, though.

There a LOT of conspiracy theories flying around over Iraq. A guy (has his Master's degree! ) where I work seems to think that removing Saddam had as much to do with the Bush family's ties to the House of Saud and in avenging the assassination attempt against Bush Sr. as it was with helping out Haliburton. The extremist, minority opinion isn't all that rare at the U of A. You'd think educated people would be more resistant to this sort of thing, but nooo...if you aren't certain that Bush is Evil incarnate, they you need to be VERY careful with whom you share your opinions on campus.

You can read the nutbar perspecitve at (I wouldn't spend much time there--I suspect exposure to that kind of hatred and vitriol causes some sort of spiritual or mental damage after a while) or an allied site. It promotes an exceptionally dark, deranged view of the world. A site called is a place where you can got for the San Francisco/Berkely nutbar perspective (warning: some of the protests covered entail nudity, and they all entail disturbing protest messages: "no blood for oil" is as tame as they get).

There seem to be people out there who have this need to hate something, and "Bush and Co." seem to provide them with excuses (or "reasons" depending on your perspective) for almost unlimited, no-holds-barred venting. Don't believe me--check out the Daily Kos.

I don't know what these people are going to do when Bush is finally out of office (or, more troubling, at whom they are going to direct their rage); although, I do have a cousin (of whom I am so...very..."proud" *teeth grinding*) who's convinced that "they" are going to orchestrate a war with Iran just before the presidential elections so that Bush can remain in place indefinitely and implement a police state. And you thought I was a nut... :-/

Robb said...

OK, I can see that side of the argument. But ... wouldn't lower gas prices mean that people will buy more thus raising profits for the oil companies even higher?

What was the outcome of the spike in gas prices over the summer? It solidified an American consensus to search for alternative fuels, which could ultimately put the oil companies out of business.

It seems that the oil tycoons would want the public to have blind confidence in the oil supply to keep them "addicted" to it, as the President said we were. Low supply and high prices don't do that.

It just doesn't add up.

Robb said...

Matthew, you make me laugh.

A said...

Wait a minute, what doesn't add up? When did the oil companies post their all time record profits in their entire history? The last two quarters, when prices have been the highest they've ever been. I am not saying that the economic laws of supply and demand don't apply to gas/oil, but it is skewed by the fact that the American lifestyle IS addicted to it and requires it for many of its routine activities. Yes there is more interest in alternative fuels, but so far there is no ONE cure all, so people are nonplussed with the whole thing. Yeah, hydrogen and E-85 sound like great ideas, but they'll never solve the whole problem. For the average apathetic american, they just keep going to the pump because they really don't see any other viable alternative. People are driving less (or buying motorcycles) but they'll also sacrifice other things in their life before they radically change their driving habits. I think we (and "they") have seen that it does add up. When the supply is great and prices are low, people might buy more, but the profit margins shrink because of competition and pricing wars between stations. When it is high, the oil companies' increase their margins and blame other factors for the high prices resulting in the "record profits" we've seen over the past 6-9 months.

Ron said...

Keep in mind the two entities that started this war - Rumsfield and Chaney - and their corporate backgrounds. These two pushed The Pres into this war by exerting their extensive influence in the political and business arenas while overplaying flimsy evidence of Iraq's ties to Bin Laden. It's not so much about oil as it is about the money. Working in Houston - a city run on oil and home to Halaburton - it would be easy for me to sit back and be perfectly happy with strong local job growth... and thus a good housing market especially compared to the rest of the country. However, having attended the funeral of one friend killed when his helicopter was brought down by insurgents and then watching his wife who three months earlier buried her father who died at the hand of insurgents, sob over her husbands grave; having a good friend tell me how he cried as he wrote letters home to the families of the men killed under his command in the single worst IED attacks to date it's hard for me to just accept things for what they are presented. I feel sorry for The Pres - at heart he's a good man, but he didn't stand up to his advisors and he made the call.

If you get a chance try to watch the documentary "Why We Fight" which covers the rise of the mulitary industrial complex. Then if you can get "Syriana." Yes, I know it's a movie by the outspoken, undereducated, liberal Hollywood star factory, but it's based on the book by a former CIA officer that was very involved in situation and let go because he try to stand up to what he felt was wrong. At the very least it will give you a very accurate sense of how government sees and acts on their interests.

Matthew said...

Robb comment 1: I did sort of have a--admittedly--poorly expressed point (why, oh why, do I persist in trying to write at the wee hours of the morning?) in my prior comment. You keep trying to figure our a logical, rational basis for the "blood for oil" argument when there isn't necessarily one--folks will reinterpret and torture information until it conforms to their perspective (examples abound). It's not just Iraq--this sort of occurs in all aspects of our lives: sports, politics, jobs, religion, finances, etc.

People never let tiresome little things like the facts stand in the way of believing what they want to believe. :-(

Although it doesn't guarantee improved results or "truth" (whatever that is), I think the bulk of the citizenry would benefit with familiarization with a little thing called Occam's Razor. It won't stop all the conspiracy theories but at least they wouldn't be so terribly elaborate or numerous.

Robb comment 2: I hope that's a good thing...I guess it's better to laugh about something (or somebody) than to cry about it.

"a" comments: I kind of want to, but I can't say that I disagree on anything. Good assessment of a sucky situation.

Cheyne said...

I think that what your missing in understanding this argument is this question "Has the war gone the way the Bush administration thought that it would?" In my humble opinion it has not. My thoughts are that it has not, I don't think Bush, Cheney, or Rumsfeld are "evil". But I do think they are miss guided, and I do think that greed is part of the reason that they decided to go ahead a first strike war(I have seen videos showing Business meetings back when we were still talking about war with Iraq, that showed how when we go to war how we can expand business' to Iraq and how "we all" could get rich from this war). My problem with this war is Bush's stance that it is our duty as Americans to "spread democracy through the world (with force if need be)", this to me sounds a bit like "Roman" logic to me. As for the oil argument it is only part of the whole war in Iraq story. But I pray that God is with all of my neighbors in Iraq, solders as well as civilians.