1
   

Was the Iraq War a "war for oil"?

 
 
josh0335
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 05:35 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;111582 wrote:
What has the currency to do with it? The charge was that the United States would grab the oil. It didn't It is Iraq's oid, and Iraq is selling it. (I think you may mean, "else", not "less").


Basic economics my friend. If countries change their exchange reserves from dollars to euros (which will happen if ME countries start selling oil in euros) the US will no longer be able to run a huge deficit as it has for many years. The charge was that oil was the reason for the invasion. The article claims it was all a conspiracy, but ignored the actual facts, that Iraq used to sell its oil in euros from 2000. After the invasion it was changed back to dollars. Which countries ended up getting the oil contracts is irrelevant. What's relevant is that they sell the oil in dollars. It's interesting that since 2000, other countries such as Iran and Syria (who sell oil in both dollars and euros) have been trying to move away from the dollar completely. Axis of Evil, eh?
0 Replies
 
Bones-O
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 05:46 am
@kennethamy,
Just because Iraq owns and sells the oil, it does not follow that the war was not primarily about oil. I think most people can understand the difference between Saddam Hussein being owning a huge oil resource (exp. post-Gulf I) and a west-backed government owning it. Especially concerning questions of where we might get our oil in the future.

And then there's a quote from one of the architects himself: "We had to go on - Iraq is swimming in a sea of oil."

Just some thoughts.

Bones
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 07:03 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;111723 wrote:
My feeling about it - OK this is subjective - is that after 9/11, Afghanistan just wasn't a big enough target. The US wanted revenge: it had to show the world, and 'the terrorists' in particular, that the kind of attack that had been made had real consequences. It saw this attack as an act of war; although the problem is, in the 21st Century, the very definition of 'war' is much less clear cut. But anyway, there had to be a military response. The only question was, against whom? Afghanistan is just a bunch of hill tribes in a mountanous desert; you could go in an blow the Taliban to smithereens, but so what? Afghanistan is always at war. It doesn't make much difference.

Blair has just said, come right out and said, OK the 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' were just a pretext. If we had known they weren't there, we would have found another reason.

Don't get me wrong. Sadam Hussein was a merciless evil tyrant and if anyone deserved to be shot, it was him and his odious sons. But it is perfectly clear now, if it wasn't before, that the rationale that was given for the invasion was a falsehood. There were no nuclear stockpiles or chemical weapons factories. But the US was itching for a fight, so who was it going to be?

I think everything else was just a footnote to the main rationale.

It was a revenge attack, pure and simple.

---------- Post added 12-16-2009 at 05:32 PM ----------

The reasoning was, if we don't find the weapons, people will forget that it was the reason that was given. And then, the oil fields will be liberated, and the economic benefits will be so great, we will be able to justify it in hindsight by saying 'We didn't go to war for the oil, but look at the benefits...'

Which is exactly what Hitchens is saying. I think he is sticking to the script.

One of my favourite words, which I learned from Tenessee Williams plays - and I like it for its connotations of both deceipt and menace - is 'mendacity'. And I think the then US administration engaged in a considerable amount of it in order to embark on that adventure. I never demonstrated on the streets, or argued against it. But I think as history is witness now, there was considerable mendacity, and duplicity, involved in it.


I think you are making the mistake (many make) of thinking that there was only one motive for invading Iraq. There were, I think, a number of motives. Revenge might have been a reason (for an attack on Iraq?) but not the reason. There was no, "the reason". There were a number of different reasons. That is why Blair said what he said. There were, he is saying, a number of excellent reasons for attacking Iraq. If not for the WMD thing then the others would have been enough. For instance, don't forget the motive of opportunity. This was a good time to get rid of the menace of Iraq. It might not come up again for a long time. Another was to deliver a punch in the nose to the world of the Middle East to show them that we are not to be trifled with. And, many other good reasons.

It is just too simple to thing there was but one reason for the decision. The world is not like that.
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 07:24 am
@kennethamy,
The problem with Blair cedeing that he would have wanted to go to war were it not for WMD is that it speaks to him ignoring the letter and spirit of treaties and legal processes he claimed to uphold at the time (still does, as far as I know).

Whilst no particular reason given for the invasion of Iraq ammounts to "THE Reason" it probably was - at brass tacks - a resource war.

However - it can't be admitted that it was a resource war - because the key belligerants claim not to see resource wars as legitimate.

Hence or "neutralise WMD" are given as the official line for THE reason, generally, because "punch Middle East", "secure resources" and/or "get rid of tyrant" are not recognised as legitimate reasons to invade a sovereign state in the eyes of international laws the key belligerants claim to uphold.

Blair's admission that "even if there were no WMDs" he would "still have argued for Saddam's removal" are pretty moot - as there is no way he could have gathered support for a clearly illegal invasion. He had to sell it on the legal reason - the apparent/supposed/fabricated refusal to obey UN resolutions to decommission WMDs.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 08:15 am
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen;111763 wrote:
The problem with Blair cedeing that he would have wanted to go to war were it not for WMD is that it speaks to him ignoring the letter and spirit of treaties and legal processes he claimed to uphold at the time (still does, as far as I know).

Whilst no particular reason given for the invasion of Iraq ammounts to "THE Reason" it probably was - at brass tacks - a resource war.

However - it can't be admitted that it was a resource war - because the key belligerants claim not to see resource wars as legitimate.

Hence or "neutralise WMD" are given as the official line for THE reason, generally, because "punch Middle East", "secure resources" and/or "get rid of tyrant" are not recognised as legitimate reasons to invade a sovereign state in the eyes of international laws the key belligerants claim to uphold.

Blair's admission that "even if there were no WMDs" he would "still have argued for Saddam's removal" are pretty moot - as there is no way he could have gathered support for a clearly illegal invasion. He had to sell it on the legal reason - the apparent/supposed/fabricated refusal to obey UN resolutions to decommission WMDs.


Of course it was mainly what you call a "resource war" if that means that we went to war because we wanted to safeguard and preserve "the free flow of oil at reasonable prices" (the formulaic phrase) which we believed was in danger. There is nothing secret about that. And neither is there anything disreputable about it. Nations have to protect their vital economic interests just as they have to protect their territory and sovereignty. That is a given. What would you expect? Why aren't what ou call "resource wars" if that means protecting vital resources seen as legitimate, if that is true, I don't understand.
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 08:25 am
@kennethamy,
The treaties that Britain and the US are signatories to tend to stress that the sovereignty and liberty (such as it is) of people living in a given place are more important than the rights of foreign nations to interfere with them in order to get their resources for any price - fair or not.

Such things are against the Geneva Convention, and are antithetical to being a member of the UN.

So if country A are sat on masses of oil and they don't want to distribute it to country B - that's their right. Take Brazil, for an example, they've recently struck oil. Should they be invaded if they decide not to sell it?

If so, should anyone be able to invade them - or is such a thing merely the privilidge of the USA do you reckon?

For the record - yes, I would find such an invasion disreputable.

In fact - prior to Gulf War 2 Iraq were trading with France and the US. That oil wasn't at risk. It embarrassed the US to deal with a tyrant in Iraq (the US prefers friendlier tyrants - like the house of Saud) - but that wasn't stopping trade, really.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 08:34 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;111766 wrote:
Of course it was mainly what you call a "resource war" if that means that we went to war because we wanted to safeguard and preserve "the free flow of oil at reasonable prices" (the formulaic phrase) which we believed was in danger. There is nothing secret about that. And neither is there anything disreputable about it. Nations have to protect their vital economic interests just as they have to protect their territory and sovereignty. That is a given. What would you expect? Why aren't what ou call "resource wars" if that means protecting vital resources seen as legitimate, if that is true, I don't understand.

Free flow says it all... At reasonable prices is like saying: Your oil or your life...What happens if the vital resources are not your own??? What makes that legitimate???

...When everyone, including our bastard democrats said: We will use their oil revenues to repair their country, that would be like me saying: I am going to burn your house -and raid your bank account to pay to repair it... Who gives us the right to cause the damage we did when they were the victims of a madman, and not his comrads... We went there to rescue them and to hand them the bill...What sort of charity is that??? By what insanity is that fair or just, or, as you say: Legitmate...

If you are trying to justify this action and apologize for the U.S., how about telling us your stake in the thing???You think the obvious truth needs proof...Does the sun in the sky need proof??? It is your side that needs proof...Prove you have clean hands...Prove that a fraction of what we did we did out of the clearest motives and the purest morality...You know better...
0 Replies
 
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 08:39 am
@kennethamy,
To be fair, even someone like me, who thought the war lacked a coherent cassus beli and was generally pessimistic, could have been surprised at the vehemence of the insurgency.

I don't think the rebuilding effort was predicted to be as expensive as it turned out by those who proposed the war. By and large I think westerners did genuinely think the Iraqis wanted their style of government.

Though I still say pottery barn rules should apply. Otherwise the lesson of "a tyrant might be better than a vaccuum" won't be learned.

The US and it's allies thought they were breaking an earthernware jug, turned out it was an ebony bathtub.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 10:00 am
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen;111773 wrote:
To be fair, even someone like me, who thought the war lacked a coherent cassus beli and was generally pessimistic, could have been surprised at the vehemence of the insurgency.

I don't think the rebuilding effort was predicted to be as expensive as it turned out by those who proposed the war. By and large I think westerners did genuinely think the Iraqis wanted their style of government.

Though I still say pottery barn rules should apply. Otherwise the lesson of "a tyrant might be better than a vaccuum" won't be learned.

The US and it's allies thought they were breaking an earthernware jug, turned out it was an ebony bathtub.

They said from the start that oil revenues would pay for the war... How just is that???No judge hearing that proposal from a criminal would allow it; but it was said, and often, even in public, and echoed in the media... Well fine, go and kill them as long as we don't have to pay for it...Nothing could sound so cynical out of the mouth of liberty... Go forth and destroy life and the stuff of life, and take what is theirs to pay for what is theirs..Those people who said we went to war on principal are justifying an action on the basis of a quality they do not understand...Principals should help people reach rational conclusions and not be used only to justify irrational desires... We wanted the oil... We wanted rid of a pest, and we wanted to throw our weight around... To bad for us that our force stuck were it landed...Too bad every man with a gun is a democracy in action... To bad that they are so resiliant in their faith... Communism was easier to beat than Islam will prove to be... People should understand their enemy, and to understand Islam is to be one of them....Ignorance is our only excuse for being there...
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 11:05 am
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen;111769 wrote:
The treaties that Britain and the US are signatories to tend to stress that the sovereignty and liberty (such as it is) of people living in a given place are more important than the rights of foreign nations to interfere with them in order to get their resources for any price - fair or not.

Such things are against the Geneva Convention, and are antithetical to being a member of the UN.

So if country A are sat on masses of oil and they don't want to distribute it to country B - that's their right. Take Brazil, for an example, they've recently struck oil. Should they be invaded if they decide not to sell it?

If so, should anyone be able to invade them - or is such a thing merely the privilidge of the USA do you reckon?

For the record - yes, I would find such an invasion disreputable.

In fact - prior to Gulf War 2 Iraq were trading with France and the US. That oil wasn't at risk. It embarrassed the US to deal with a tyrant in Iraq (the US prefers friendlier tyrants - like the house of Saud) - but that wasn't stopping trade, really.


"Necessitas non habet legem" (Necessity knows no law) Oliver Cromwell.
Brazil is not the Middle East. The Middle East is vital, not to the United States which gets most of its oil from Canada and Mexico, but to Europe and Japan.And now, also to the developing countries around the world. A cut off of oil from the Middle East would harm India, Sri Lanka, Egypt and the African countries far more than the United States. Of course, the price oil is fungible, and the restriction of oil from the Middle East would raise the prices to unsustainable heights. Unfortunately, the world could not long endure such a restriction, let alone a cut off.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 12:57 pm
@kennethamy,
If there were an interest in Iraq it for the West, it is not just to have it, but to deny it...We hardly have to fear Their unity because the only thing that unites them is a common religon...This means they hate everyone not them, even communists... To me it does not make sense to waste the mobility of an army holding territory and being a target... The destruction of the enemy is the job of an army...Is the whole population our enemy???We play these people off against each other, and think that means we win...No government we set up will last the night of the day we leave...The bricks will jump out of that wall... But we never give up...If we want it we will never give it up... We still want property in Cuba how many years later...Does it matter whether originally got by hook or crook???
0 Replies
 
Bones-O
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 01:24 pm
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen;111769 wrote:
In fact - prior to Gulf War 2 Iraq were trading with France and the US. That oil wasn't at risk. It embarrassed the US to deal with a tyrant in Iraq (the US prefers friendlier tyrants - like the house of Saud) - but that wasn't stopping trade, really.


Again, not really the point. The question still stands: Who do you want controlling your future oil resources? A tyrant you went to war with, or a government you practically installed? It concerns the future, not the past.

Bones
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 02:04 pm
@Bones-O,
Bones-O!;111825 wrote:
Again, not really the point. The question still stands: Who do you want controlling your future oil resources? A tyrant you went to war with, or a government you practically installed? It concerns the future, not the past.

Bones

Who do you want holding your mortgage; a man you never met or a guy you know cheats on his wife??? What in the hell does what we want have to do with their oil??? Taking is the first law property... If we possess it we can certainly drive down the price to where we want it...Is that fair, or do we make fair for us every injustice we inflict upon the world???

If you want the legality of our actions laid out, see Lincoln on the Mexican War...Look at the Nuremberg trials, and the crime of taking too much for the support of ones troops...If we propose to support ourselves on their fuel, there are established international norms of behavior... It does not matter that the United Nations has prostituted itself on this issue... It is their loss, but no organization, especially one as corrupt as the U. N. can make legal what is unjust...
0 Replies
 
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 02:11 pm
@Bones-O,
Bones-O!;111825 wrote:
Who do you want controlling your future oil resources? A tyrant you went to war with, or a government you practically installed? It concerns the future, not the past.

Obviously I'd rather deal with a lovely utopian idealistic regime to our mutual propserity (in a hypothetical regard - in the case of oil I'd rather just see alternative energies developed rather than rely on a finite fossil fuel - but that's beside the point I suppose).

However, I'm also aware of the fact that various utopian (in theory) projects of the early-mid 20th century led us to a position that underlines respect for sovereignty - even if the sovereign, or even the whole culture that supports that sovereign, is not to our taste. That is UNLESS they pose a clear and present danger (having to pay more for oil is not danger - invading Kuwait is).

And that I don't really want to undermine international laws to that effect.

So if the tyrant in control of future oil resources has to be dealt with - I think it's the lesser of two evils (though I think the UK were observing sanctions against that particular tyrant right up to the wire and it didn't seem overly bothersome).

Kennethamy wrote:
(Necessity knows no law) Oliver Cromwell.

Men like Cromwell were visionary, I suppose, four hundred years ago.

These days his acts look a lot like Saddam Hussein's, especially in my part of the world were he oversaw a number of massacres, land grabs and devastation of economy and property (both in individual and community senses).

We've come a long way from where it was considered acceptable to simply wage war on a neighbour, or distant country, because you want what they have, or find them savage, etc.

I would say that was A Good Thing, myself.

Quote:
Unfortunately, the world could not long endure such a restriction, let alone a cut off.

Yet "The World" voted rather overwhelmingly to wait until the evidence was in regarding WMDs before launching an attack on Iraq.

The US (with the UK as allies on this occasion) might behave as if it represents the will of "The World" - but it doesn't. Attacking a sovereign state outside of the law sets a poor precedent and a bad example.

Back to the 1930s if such an example proliferates, I suppose.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 02:15 pm
@kennethamy,
Who says Cromwell spoke Latin??? The guy was Round Head, a Protestant and Anti Papist...As far as I can tell he never had a classical education...Maybe a later generation is stuffing words in his mouth...

If he were a visionary he would have had the American Revolution in England...Instead, he bagan the counter revolution before the revolution was finished all to have the status quo all over again...So muuch death and hope for so little gain is the tragedy of history...

Just a side note...
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 02:30 pm
@Fido,
Fido;111840 wrote:
Who says Cromwell spoke Latin??? The guy was Round Head, a Protestant and Anti Papist...As far as I can tell he never had a classical education...Maybe a later generation is stuffing words in his mouth...

He was educated middle class - from rural aristocratic stock (albeit minor aristocracy) - he probably knew Latin for the same reason most French people speak some English. Nothing to do with his religion - it was an important trading language and the only way to appreciate much of what was considered literature at the time.

I mean, even in parts of the British Isles at the time you'd have communities that spoke no English - but had a resident Latin speaker or two.

Quote:
If he were a visionary he would have had the American Revolution in England...Instead, he bagan the counter revolution before the revolution was finished all to have the status quo all over again...So muuch death and hope for so little gain is the tragedy of history...

His rule had it's benefits too. Modern parliament came about partly because of his leadership (though he felt he could be personally above it from time to time). Religious tolerance in England towards non-Catholics dates back to him, he ended the banishment of Jews from England. The monarchy had it's power checked by parliament ever since the death of Charles I. He saw off a threat from Catholic europe without another war - whilst the rest of Europe was even more war-torn than Britain.

Such things are broadly progressive, I would say (though acheived through excessive use of force).

But he was also a terrible persecutor of those he feared and/or disliked, and his excesses in this regard are similar to those of modern tyrants like Saddam or Mugabe.

Also - seeing as an American style revolution is still not saleable to the UK at large I suspect it's proposal would have been laughed at or derided as blasphemy during such times. The mindset of people of the 16th and 17th centuries were simply too embedded in a social order that would have been inimicable to ideas such as "all men are created equally" or seperation of church and state.

Instead - Cromwell's ideas led to a society in which such things could be countenanced (though the British still prefer to cling to class division in a cosmetic sense, at least).
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 04:19 pm
@kennethamy,
When things are moving it the time to keep them moving because it is impossible to get them going and they do not keep going without a lot of effort...From my reading of the situation he could have done much more just by allowing more...Didn't he turn the guns on his own side???As far as the statement, I will go back to God's own Englishman...I am not side tracking this discussion... Let me get back to you with a pm or something...
0 Replies
 
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 04:27 pm
@kennethamy,
I'd rather you start a thread in the Philosophy of History section about him, to be honest. I find discussions by PM a bit boring because other people can't weigh in.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 04:32 pm
@kennethamy,
I meant only about that particular point; his speaking of latin... There is much of that to English Law... Was he a barrister???..
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 08:41 pm
@kennethamy,
We only seem eager to "export democracy" wherever resources and strategic positions happen to be. The US exports jobs, ideology, and air strikes. But maybe I'm being cynical. I admit that. Still, there's no shortage of opium in Afghanistan, and no shortage of opiates in the Red White and Blue. --(our
current export, or more current)
Just imagine those billions of tax-payer dollars spent on infrastructure, and all the jobs that would create. If benevolence motivates invasion, I can offer benevolence what seems like a better outlet....
 

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