Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Why We're Not Leaving the Middle East

It has nothing to do with shoving "democracy" down the throats of unwilling Iraqis. It has nothing to do with our pals in Israel or those evil Islamic extremists. It's the oil, bippy. We can't get enough of it. We're hooked.

And a harsh reality indeed awaits us as the full scope of the permanent energy crisis unfolds. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, world oil production peaked in December 2005 at just over 85 million barrels a day. Since then, it has trended absolutely flat at around 84 million. Yet world oil consumption rose consistently from 77 million barrels a day in 2001 to above 85 million so far this year. A clear picture emerges: demand now exceeds world supply. Or, put another way, oil production has not increased despite the ardent wish that it would by all involved, and despite the overwhelming incentive of prices having nearly quadrupled since 2001.


Anonymous said...

Certainly, oil was the real reason behind our invasion of Iraq. However, I'm not sure it's why we remain.
Short of dropping some of our own WMDs and eliminating 99.99999% of the population (or at least the Sunni faction), the civil war will continue until we're out of there and the Shiites are then free to eliminate the Sunni. And regardless of how it happens, once the Sunni are gone....Iraq moves closer to Iran (already dominated by the Shiite) and both ship their oil to friendly China.
So maybe bush just wants to prolong things long enough to turn it over to the next President in order to claim "I didn't quit, it was those commie pinko liberals that gave up."
I can envision his supporters (all 8 of them, not including his wife and dog) trying to rewrite history about the mistakes everyone but their guy made.

Bernie O'Hare said...

dg, The initial decision to invade Iraq has to go down as one of the biggest blunders this country has ever made. We'll be paying for that for years to come, whether we withdraw or stay.

Anonymous said...

We're in Iraq because GBI was called a "wimp" after wthdrawing troops before closing in on Sadaam in Gulf War I- The Movie. Shrub, at very least needs to redeem daddy's reputation by showing some stones. Now we have a sequel, directed by junior. Looks like a flop.

FtHillDem said...


In your opinion:

1. Was oil a morally justifiable reason for going to war in the first place?

2. Is oil a morally justifiable reason for continuing to fight there?

3. If the president were to try to justify his war on the grounds that it is about the control of an increasingly scarce, essential resource, would he gain the support of Americans?

My answers are,, and 3.I don't know. It is not moral to fight for oil when alternatives can be developed and conservation encouraged.

I am frightened about what the answer to #3 might be.

Bernie O'Hare said...


Morality and foreign policy are two different things. Historically, the US has pretty much acted in its own interests, devoid of any moral considerations. If we were to choose between a democratically elected government somewhere else as opposed to a dictator or oligarchy friendly to our interests, we'd pick the oligarchy or dictator every time.

Bush's decison to invade Iraq, if he is to be believed, is a sharp deviation from traditional American foreign policy. He would have us believe he was fighting for democracy. And he may have meant what he said.

Bush, unlike Clinton in Rwanda, did not hesitate to use the "genocide" word when speaking of Darfur. And he has applied pressure in that area to try and stop the killing. So he may be sincere.

So in Bush's case, we may have a guy who actually believes that the US must try, as the world's last remaining superpower, to stop senseless genocide and promote democracy. But this is not traditional American foreign policy, and I don't think it should be.

I don't think the US has any business sticking its nose into the affairs of other countries as a general rule, even when their leaders are corrupt and they routinely violate human rights. I do think the United Nations, and not the US, should step in whenever genocide is identified.

But the US will act in its own self-interest and will push others aside if they interfere with something we consider strategically important, like oil. We'll trump up some other reason, and jump in headfirst.

We've done it before. When we decided we needed some elbow room, we trumped up an "attack" from Mexico.

Our addiction to oil does not make an invasion or occupation morally justifiable, at least not in my opinion. The president has already hinted, in some speeches, that we need to secure the oil fields. He's not pulling out. And as oil becomes more scarce, his successor will be reluctant to leave as well. And it will be easy to persuade the American public. The argument can be made that the Arabs owwe us for all we've done for them.

And while we remain in Iraq, we're virtually guaranteeing that a new genocide will start with its current prime minister, who was in such a rush to hang Saddam. As the Iraqi army is strengthened, I'd expect to see a lot of Sunnis murdered.

It's a terrible situation. And I think we're there to stay.

FtHillDem said...

Yes, the war against Mexico was trumped up. And like the war against American Indians, it was in the self interest of a large number of Americans. Also, in those days we could get away with it because there were few consequences.

In today's global society, immoral foreign policy in support of "self interest" does have consequences. By war and other innaproppriate policies, our allies remove from us and we create a sea of "endless enemies". What goes around does eventually come around.

Morality aside, I don't see how what is happening in Iraq is in the national self interest. It may eventually turn out to be in the interest of multinational oil corporations (and then again they may have miscalculated). But how this is in the interest of the average citizen is beyond me. The hundreds of billions the war has cost so far could have been put to much better use. We could have used some of it for a big start in implementing alternative energy sources, and improving the energy efficiency of many products, like cars.

And we continue on this path. If we continue to waste hundreds of billions on wars like this, we have no chance at all to solve our real problems. It will make a small group of people very rich however.

Morality aside, those who are truly concerned to do what is in the national self interest will work to end our military misadventures in Iraq. You may be right that they will not succeed. I hope you are wrong.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Morality aside, those who are truly concerned to do what is in the national self interest will work to end our military misadventures in Iraq.
I am hoping for a happy ending, but just don't see it. I was fully prepared to accept the argument that more troops could actually help. I don't like the immediate withdrawal theory because it will cost too many innocent lives. But after listening to Bush last night, I know that 1,000,000 troops would not help. He is just not up to the job. I hate to say that because it means more Americans are going to die, but there it is. And we are now aiding an Iraqi government whose goal appears to be the extinction of the Sunnis.

Doctor Rick said...

Maybe you are senile? I stand corrected.

Though the liberals sought a mandamus in the deployment of troops and failed it wasn't because of oil or daddy, or whatever insidious act it is you liberals consider the war to be the manifistation of.

In this case, my misinformed consumer of Kool Aid, exactly how much oil have we to date extricated from the grounds and brought home from Iraq?


Doctor Rick said...

Though my commentary is mostly in jest (I know your not senile) I also had to post this other snide comment.

I think your right about Iraq going down as a huge blunder. Here is what it will read "The Democrats had years to get on board with the unpopular Administration and instead opted to oppose their actions. This may have been their biggest blunder as a party."

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dr Rick, We're way past whether this is a liberal or conservative mistake. The question is how do we fix things? We're all Americans. I think we all want what's best. We need a political solution, but Bush has rejected the ISG and latched on to Maliki's plan. And he'll just drive Iraq into Iran's arms.

Anonymous said...

Its all about oil. As dumb as Bush is, he's surrounded by some very smart, albeit evil, people who know damn well we can't democratize such a hardwired sectarian culture that's been in place for hundreds of generations.

But the "D" word & the "F" word that comes with it - freedom - make for a wonderfully noble notion & rationale.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's Mad Max time, bippy. I pretty much share your assessment, which means you must be wrong.