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June 26, 2005

War For Oil

-- by Dave Johnson

This comes out of a comment I left in the Already Lost? post. Let's see if I can start a blog fight and a comment flame war. But please, read the whole post (and this one) before going off.

America leaving Iraq now means leaving the people and the oil there under the control of the Islamic Republic that arises after we leave. (Think about what that means for the women, for example.) It probably means that much of the rest of the Middle East also becomes an Islamic Republic, and their oil (and the resources that oil control brings) will eventually be denied to the West, perhaps even used against the West. And because of the current situation there, leaving Iraq now likely means ever-expanding terrorist war against us -- against you and me.

Invading Iraq really, really did NOT make us safer. That is not just a political slogan. This would not have happened had we not invaded, but it will happen if we leave, having invaded. It was not you and me who brought this on, but it is you and me who will pay.

The Bush people like to talk about "facts on the ground." Well, regardless of how we feel about what Bush has done, the facts on the ground NOW are that he has initiated a sequence of events, and we have to deal with things as they are, not as we wish them to be.

And, yes, a lot of this IS about control of the oil now. Our way of life depends on oil. That includes the fertilizer that feeds billions of people. It includes the gas to transport food and everything else we all consume. This is just today's reality. We don't have alternative energy sources in place (compare the waste from nuclear to the consequences of just dumping carbon and other pollutants into the air). We don't have efficient public transportation. We don't have energy efficient buildings.

WAIT - before you say it, think about how much you might be part of the problem. Are you absolutely and completely energy efficient? Do you think about the energy consequences of everything you routinely do -- and encourage others to do the same? Do you own a hybrid, or take public transportation or ride a bike to work? Do you have passive solar heating installed? Do you keep your furnace off except for a few blast each day? Do you go around your house turning off every light? Do you take elevators instead of stairs? Do you have any electronics on "standby" - using energy even when turned off? Think it through before you say what you were about to say.

So I think we have to SOLVE the Iraq problem, not just leave. Advocating that we just up and leave Iraq is similar to using energy in the wasteful ways we have gotten used to: It puts off the resulting problems for a while, but ultimately makes them worse.

Update - Maybe I worded some of my thoughts better in a comment I left at this excellent post:

I wonder what you think "throw in the towel" means in this case? It sure would be nice and easy and clean if it meant we could just walk away and then everything would be all right.

But it doesn't mean that. We started a WAR. We CAN'T just "throw in the towel" and make everything OK again. It is WAAAYYY too late for that.

If we leave, what happens to the people in Iraq? Think about what an Islamic Republic means for the women there. Then think about what that means to US. Leaving could mean that the people who are driving bombs into crowds are likely to end up running the country. We will leave behind millions of people who hate us (many hating us for leaving after starting what we started there), but who will then have the resources of an oil-rich nation at their disposal.

[. . .] When we all said "Not in our name!" it wasn't just a political slogan. It was REAL. Bush started a war in our name, and now they are at war with US - namely you and me. Just leaving abandons the Iraqi people to the mess WE (Bush, in our name) created, and in the longer term possibly brings it here. Perhaps Bush has f**ked us even more than we already think. I suggest we take Bush out of our thoughts for a minute and think about where Iraq is today, and what needs to be done to bring real peace.

I think that restoring order, if done right, would mean much LESS violence than we are seeing now. It means having enough people there to help a legitimate government start tracking down and jailing the people who are setting off bombs, which would enable Iraq to start building a real police and justice system.

We broke it, we HAVE TO fix it. Even if it means restoring a draft. It would certainly be nice if we could only draft the kids of people who voted FOR this war.

Posted by Dave Johnson at June 26, 2005 12:08 PM

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Tracked on June 27, 2005 1:14 AM


Comments

Solution = leave now.

Posted by: richard at June 26, 2005 1:22 PM

Does my wife taking mass transit (Long Island to Manhattan and back commute) cancel out the V-8 Explorer? You know I love ya, Dave, and you're absolutely right. I just explained this to somebody the other day. As a combat vet, I certainly don't want to see one more American die over there, nor any more innocent Iraqis, but if we cut and run, we're leaving a valuable resource in a highly unstable place. I could imagine what the announcement of a pullout would do to the price of oil. The next loud noise you hear is the housing bubble going boom.

Posted by: The Fixer at June 26, 2005 1:47 PM

All well and good to say we must SOLVE the Iraq problem. Such conviction is to be commended. So, since we're also trying to look at this realistically, what's your solution? Of all the options available, which one leads through the land of reality to the magical solution? Honestly, I don't see too many. None, in fact. This being the case, your premise, that there really is a wonderful solution out there somewhere, is sort of off-base.

The question now becomes, what available path creates the least damage? Pulling out is definitely on the table if you look at it that way. I'm not defending it, or promoting pulling out, I'm just saying, it's definitely on the table.

Posted by: Bribes at June 26, 2005 3:06 PM

Start from the premise that we HAVE TO solve it. We can't "just leave" because there is no place to leave TO. The problems will come here, worse than ever. It's like saying we should "just leave' global warming or the Federal Debt. Sure, Bush is largely responsible for the state of all of these situations but -WE- are the ones in the crosshairs.

So just walking away is not an option. For the people of Iraq it could mean civil war then an Islamic Republic that represses the people, particularly women. For us it means the things written about.

Think about the wild west, towns where criminal gangs were in control. Or Chicago in the 20's. (Or Washington today.) "The law" came in WITH ENOUGH FORCE to get things under control and bring the bad guys to justice. We need to triple the number of troops there. That will LOWER the violence.

It means bringing in the UN. I say just hand control of Iraq over to the UN, and beg for forgiveness for what we have done. Then supply sufficient forces of our own, while they bring in forces from around the world to bring this under control.

By the way, none of this will happen with Bush in charge of things. It will just get worse, possibly into a situation where nukes are being used on populations.

Posted by: Dave Johnson at June 26, 2005 3:21 PM

That last sentence is way too scarey.
Look what BushCo has wrought. It is certainly a catch 22 situation. On the one hand I would love to see us leave. We had no business there in the first place. We did what the former SU used to do and that should be a clue to everyone but too many kickass Bush followers out there who would not even blink over using nukes. We used them once, the only Country to ever have caused so many deaths with WMD's. On the other hand we need to stay but we need to stay smartly. Some countries have offered to train the Iraqies - on their soil. Fly them to those countries and train them. 300 billion closing in and what have we accomplished? The infrastructure is still worse than it was under Saddam. Bring in foreign countries to do some of the work instead of letting Halliburton steal it all. Turn it over to the UN only when we can save enough face to leave. As you said, won't happen under this administration. They are now consorting with the enemy, having secret meetings; why is everything in this AD secret? And yes, to really accomplish this we need a draft. That woman Marine was pulled from a mailroom to go to the front line because of lack of troops. They need help. We are miserably letting our military shoulder too much with no relief in sight. God help us all to survive the calamity of Bush's reign!

Posted by: Nancy at June 26, 2005 4:20 PM

"Solution = leave now."

Only if the problem is "How do we get the left blamed for an economic meltdown from Bush's war?"

Posted by: Stirling Newberry at June 26, 2005 4:25 PM

Just walking away was never the intent, even for those of us who say "Leave NOW". I still say that, but to me that we must "hand control of Iraq over to the UN, and beg for forgiveness for what we have done. Then supply sufficient forces of our own, while they bring in forces from around the world to bring this under control."

I dare say most people who've been calling for an immediate pullout have that in mind.

Posted by: Michael Miller at June 26, 2005 4:26 PM

Let's not DARE talk alternative energy. And let's squash Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s efforts to raise minimum fuel standards. A mere 5 mpg difference would result in complete independence from middle east oil. (Shh! Don't tell the Saudis!)

God, the wasted potential of the last 5 years. We really coulda been something, we coulda been a contender, and people woulda liked us.

Posted by: Fred at June 26, 2005 4:30 PM

If we just leave the price of oil will go up? Gee, isn't that what has happened since the illegal invasion? And Cui bono? Seems to me oil co. profits have fucking skyrocketed.

Posted by: Vinnie at June 26, 2005 8:02 PM

Catch 22 it is. But, even if I grant the premise that there's a solution, making even the slightest progress on in the next 3.5 years runs into a reality roadblock. We still have President Doofus in charge of things. That means that we're committed to 3 1/2 years of 180 degree wrong decisions. As much as we're stuck trying to fix his fuxup, there's no starting that process until 2009. 2009!

If we leave Iraq before then, it will be because Republican's want out also, afeared that Georgie will get us in an even bigger mess and get them all kicked out of office. Or else, because he does get us in an even bigger mess and start something with Iran and we need the troops.

Posted by: DrLaniac at June 26, 2005 9:27 PM

A lot of what I'm hearing lately is an argument that goes like this: "We can't afford not to be imperialists" It's become a horrible fact of life that Bush and his invasion and occupation is "fueling" the cycle of violence. There could be a disruption of oil from Iraq when we leave; but an orderly withdrawal and an effort to bring some factions of the insurgents into the political process could really lessen the severity of this shock, if it comes at all.

Our toady corporate press has missed no opportunity to exaggerate the role of non-Iraqis in the conflict. Iraqis themselves sustain the insurgency, in numbers, and also put up the lion's share of effort in their opposition. Iraqis will be responsible for their country when the US leaves. Bush is just waiting for that "magic moment" when America can reamain in control of Iraq's puppets and it's assets, and bask in the glory of tickertape parades, back home. But that moment is never coming.

I've said it on my blog and elsewhere that "There will be no soft landing for America." The resources of Iraq are not America's to plunder. Shall we cry about Iraqi women who may end up wearing a veil?--or should we break down and sob over the SUV that will end up on blocks, while we bike to work. We seem to be torn in the manner of our remorse.

Healing, national healing, will only be possible, once we have left Iraq. This goes for both Iraqis and Americans.We have to get out of Iraq and face the music.An economic downturn? Well, our nation under George W. Bush has sown, and it will reap. It is guaranteed that we will suffer some; but at least this economic trouble is something that we can brace for, something that we can see coming.

The darker and more dreadful path, the more terrible and sorrowful and painful path, by far, lies waiting for us in Iraq, if we become more entrenched in this occupation. The worst will come if there is escalation and conscription. The graves will open up for our children. And in the end it will be like Vietnam. We will come to the end of being deceived. And like wretched Creon in the last scene of Antigone, we will know that in a case such as his, "Wisdom comes too late for a man."

Posted by: Copeland at June 27, 2005 12:34 AM

"Solution = leave now."

Only if the problem is "How do we get the left blamed for an economic meltdown from Bush's war?"

Read Dave's many posts on the folly of doing the wrong thing because you're afraid doing the right thing will make Rush Limbaugh say bad things about you. You seem not to understand it, and Dave, oddly, seems to have forgotten it.

Posted by: richard at June 27, 2005 11:55 AM

Excuse me. In the post above the first AND second paragraphs are quoted and both should be in italic font. Sorry for the confusion.

Posted by: richard at June 27, 2005 11:57 AM

I think pulling out would be the best move we could make in a bad situation, and I feel that your arguments against it bear some examination.

The Middle East will hate us: They already do, and they did so before we invaded Iraq. And with good reason.

There will be a disruption in the flow of oil: Would that necessarily be a bad thing? The result will be that prices will go up and we'll be forced to conserve and to pursue alternate energy sources. Since we really haven't done so of our own volition, maybe being forced to do so wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Will a legitimate government come to power?: Define 'legitimate'. It could be argued that Saddam's government was as legitimate as any other. The fact that their rulers come to power in a fashion different than ours (a system that is far from ideal) does not deligitimize their government. Like it or not, at some point we have to stop trying to apply our own cultural values onto other cultures.

The issue of women's rights: Again, we need to stop trying to apply our own values onto another culture. Of course, I personally disagree with the way women are treated in many countries (including our own). I do not, however, feel this empowers me to dictate to another country how they should define their societal rules. The fact that body image issues and eating disorders are rampant among American women is viewed (and rightfully so)as unconcionable by much of the world.

I guess the entirety of my point is this: There's a lot to be said for minding your own business.

Posted by: Terry at June 27, 2005 5:28 PM

The US military _has_ to leave, as rapidly and completely as possible. Throwing more troops at the problem will only make things worse. Yes, the consequences of pulling out may be messy, and they may end up with a regime worse than Saddam was, but there's nothing the US can do about that now.

What the US should be doing is providing billions in unconditional aid via NGOs to help repair the damage done to the country, wherever possible giving Iraqis the resources to fix things themselves, and providing supplies to keep people alive while the country is putting itself back together.

The US "broke it" in the first place by being fucking clueless and blundering in without any idea what it was doing. Staying there insisting that it's their job to fix it is just getting in the way of people who might have some hope of doing something useful, and pissing off the Iraqis even more. It's like responding to a minor leak at a nuclear power station by sending troops in to take over and push buttons at random - for god's sake, get out and let the technicians try to fix it before it blows! They might fail, or they might create a much worse leak in the process, but the alternative is guaranteed mushroom cloud.

As for Iraqi oil, that's very short term anyway. The country's entire reserves are only enough to supply the world for a handful of years at best. The world desperately needs to invest in energy effiency and alternatives to fossil fuels.

Posted by: felice at June 27, 2005 8:12 PM

People are voting with their feet. They arn't joining the army or Marines. We'll have to leave soon unless people start volunteering for the big sandy - and I don't think anyone is planning for that.

Posted by: VAdem at June 28, 2005 8:45 AM

What's the big deal? U.S. toops are still in Germany 60 years after WWII; 50 years after the Truce in Korea. U.S. troops will be in Iraq when your great grandchildren will be paying off the Bushdebt. Feeling screwed? Get used to it.

Posted by: Anonymous at June 28, 2005 9:30 AM

Solution = Impeach Bush:

Reading through the list of blogs I've come to one inescapable fact which is that Bush and Cheney should both be impeached for lying to this nation as to the reasons we invaded Iraq. Hell if Clinton can be impeached for lying about some skank sucking his dick then Bush and Cheney should definitely be impeached for lying about a war.
With Bush and Cheney gone then I think the American image would fair better with the world knowing we held our leaders accountable for their mistakes and lies. This would lead to a sooner and less expensive retreat from a war that can never be won by the US just like Vietnam.
In fact many congressmen and senators are viewing this war as another Vietnam because the circumstances are similar. However you have Michael Deaver (a Bush toadey) rejecting any parallels with Vietnam. He is quoted saying "There isn't any comparison between this and Vietnam," "There aren't student demonstrators all over the country. There aren't National Guardsmen tear-gassing peopleā€¦. We're a long way from that."
Michael Deaver may be correct in that statement as of the current moment but it will become exactly like Vietnam and all those protests will begin once the Feds institute the draft as they will have to due to the military not getting enough new recruits.
Once the draft is issued then I think you will be seeing alot more people pissed off at Bush and the mass protests will ensue just like back with Vietnam. This is probably the only reason that the Feds have not started the Draft yet knowing full well what it will do to the popularity of the Iraq war and the Republican party. It is also probably the same reason the Bush Adminstration has not put enough soldiers in Iraq to win the war because that would also mean requiring a draft and they'd rather use the amount of soldiers they have on hand rather than the amount they need to win successfully but would require a draft. I also love the fact how the "Leave no Child behind" act actually was the "Leave no Child from War" act which was used to slip in the little provision that our children's school data would be supplied to the military recruiters without our consent! Talk about trying to pull the wool over our eyes!
Bush has got some balls on him thats for sure. My experience though with those type of people are that they are the ones you find dead in an dark alley from talking too much trash to people they don't like or respect (Aka: Axis of evil speech)

Posted by: Scott Garthwaite at June 28, 2005 1:59 PM

In follow up to my previous note, Karl Rove has now admitted to speaking with the Time Magazine reporter yet denies actually telling the reporter the name of the CIA agent. Back in 2004 old Bush said sternly that he would fire and take care of the individual who leaked the CIA name. Now the truth has come out that it was Karl Rove that spoke to Matthew Cooper at Time magazine and most likely leaked Plame's name as retaliation to Ambassador Joe Wilson's suggestion that Iraq did not try to buy Uranium from Niger which was Bush's whole case for going to war with Iraq.
The Bush administration, instead of at least suspending Rove's security clearance if not out right firing and prosecuting him for treason, has proclaimed that they have confidence in Rove and are now trying to spin the facts to be that Rove had spoke to Cooper to on behalf of Dick Cheney to prevent a negative publication about the Uranium theory.
I'm sure that Bush does hves confidence in Karl Rove since most likely Karl Rove did exactly what Bush and Cheney wanted and that was to try to punish anyone who could show that the intelligence was being manipulated so that Bush could go to war in Iraq.
This to me is most likely the real story since Bush has lied so many times I can't even keep count anymore and I can only hope that the real facts get shown that Bush and Cheney directed Karl Rove to leak Plame's name and they are all eventually charged with Treason since they seem to think that they can act with impunity.

Posted by: Scott Garthwaite at July 12, 2005 3:23 PM

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