Maddow, Isikoff and Corn explain the Iraq War

Rachel maddow
 "MADDOW:  At the top of the list for Bremer is oil.

 BREMER:  I had been told we had to get the oil going because it was  an oil-dominated economy.  This was fairly straightforward.  Unless you can  get the oil going, you can`t get the economy going.

  MADDOW:  What Bremer and his team find when they get into Iraq is an  oil infrastructure decimated by decades of war, sanctions, and corruption.

   ROB MCKEE, COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY:  I was shocked when I got  there about how undercapitalized it had been, how neglected it was.

    BREMER:  The oil fields were being held together by baling wire and  duct tape, in some cases literally duct tape.

    MADDOW:  The day after Bremer arrives in Baghdad, the Bush  administration draws up secret policy guidelines, which are later  declassified, stating that the coalition will move to privatize state-owned  enterprises in Iraq, including the oil industry.

     BREMER:  Oil was the lifeblood of the Iraqi economy.  You got to get  the oil going if you`re going to get the economy going.  It was not  something we were going for selfish American reasons or because we wanted  more oil on the world market or all of these fantasies that people dream  up.  We were doing it because we were the Iraqi government."   MSNBC


It has been my contention for a decade that the neocon drive to invade Iraq and revolutionize the Middle East has to be seen against a long US policy of maintaining energy flows out of the Gulf (that Gulf).  That does not mean that the decision to invade Iraq was made by nefarious oil industry interests rather than by the Bush/neocon government.

 It should be remembered that Saddam would have been more than happy to have UN/US sanctions against  Iraqi oil production and exports relaxed so that Iraq could earn foreign exchange.

Maddow and MSNBC are relentlessly Left and anti-capitalist.  She, Isikoff and Corn take every opportunity in this production to exonerate the neocons and blame the war on business.  pl

This entry was posted in government, Iraq, Media, Oil. Bookmark the permalink.

79 Responses to Maddow, Isikoff and Corn explain the Iraq War

  1. Petrous says:

    OH, you mean the PERSIAN GULF !
    Yes, everyone is busy chipping away at something; Maddow’s stick is business. Then there are those who would like to get rid of the PERSIAN in the PERSIAN GULF name too and take every opportunity to try …… and fail….

  2. Jose says:

    Sir, respectfully, you wasted a couple of hours listening to MSNBC garbage. A better investment would have been to see the Heat get blown out by the Spurs. lol

  3. John says:

    There is a difference between the neocons and the predatory capitalist neoliberals? Coulda fooled me. Or is that a distinction without a difference?
    I do see a distinction between unregulated predatory capitalism, btw, and moderate, well regulated capitalism. I think that is where the problem lies.
    Look at Halliburton share prices for one tiny example.
    The hungry ghosts fed well on Iraq and Afghanistan.

  4. kao_hsien_chih says:

    This is something that I see often: I should be able to get off lightly for doing something because “I was trying to do good/meant well.” For someone who has a well-defined objective, which making money qualifies, there is no “higher” purpose that offers justification for the actions.
    To me, this seems almost disgusting. By invoking a “higher” purpose, those who seek excuses are merely tugging at the prejudices (and hubris) of their audience. The neocon ideology of exporting democracy at gunpoint is not something that those who subscribe to the idea of waging holy wars for the secular humanist religion of “democracy and freedom” ™ and the moral duty of every American to sacrifice hims/herself for the cause–which DC seems to be full of. That, obviously, cannot be criticized. The only thing that they can be criticized for is that they are heretics, corrupt, or at least, not true believers, in that they would allow such practical considerations as money get in their way(instead of putting all their faith in universal human desire for democracy, free markets, and the American way).

  5. turcopolier says:

    I did not watch it. that is why I had to ask for a transcript. pl

  6. Ryan says:

    I agree with you up to a point. Most of the time is wasted listening to these fools and liars, save events like this over Ukraine. I find it enlightening to compare with what I know about the issue from other sources and compare and contrast with the propaganda line put out by the “liberal” and neocon media. What they either lie about, obfuscate or leave out all together can be a most informative study in technique.
    Still, there are compelling health reasons to do this sparingly. Prolong exposure to cable and talk radio can kill a serious number of brain cells.

  7. Lee says:

    I saw just a few snips. It’s unfortunate she took such a singular view of the role of oil and not the delusional narratives about oil or flawed neocon doctrines advocating war. The Idea the US needs to maintain the flow of oil out of the Persian Gulf is a bit of a fairy tale like American power can bring democracy to the natives through aerial bombing. We’ve covered the place with our forces while our economy is unable to thrive on $100/barrel oil.
    As a principal actor Cheney was probably more aware of the intersecting lines of oil depletion with oil demand than anyone. At that intersection, which came around 2005, Saddam and sons would have tremendous ability to affect the price of oil. My take is that Cheney saw increased terrorism and chaos from war an acceptable risk compared to the words economy getting disrupted from Saddam’s behavior

  8. JohnH says:

    How reassuring to know that the same folks who were absolutely, positively certain that Saddam had WMDs had no clue that the Iraqi oil industry was held together by duct tape and bailing wire!
    Eleven years after Bremer decided that America needed to get Iraq’s oil industry up and running ASAP, Iraq is producing a grand total of 2.8 million barrels per day, about 10% more than Saddam produced. What success!!!
    Of course, no one really knows how much oil Iraq produces, because there are no meters on the wells. Nor do we know how the oil revenues are split between the Iraqi government and the oil producers, since the government never published the contracts. Nor were the contracts approved by the parliament, as required by the Iraqi constitution.
    My guess is that oil companies, which are not necessarily Western ones, are making out like bandits, returning maybe $15/barrel to the government, then selling it for over $100.
    Of course, Bremer would insist piously that the Americans had only the best interests of the Iraqi people in mind. What else would you expect him to say?

  9. Stephen Jones says:

    Yes, I agree with your assessment Colonel. I tuned in to that broadcast to see what the line was going to be and it was very clear after the first several minutes of introductory remarks and set up where the thrust of the piece was going. I lost interest pretty quickly though kept it on in case something of note jumped out at me later in the show that might relate to more relevant truths.
    I have to say I was not totally surprised by this abysmal failure to recognize the more dynamic impulses and motivations behind the Neocon push in that travesty. Without getting into the relative merits of so-called ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ or ‘conservative’ philosophies or ideologies, or the propensities so many of us have for adopting the more simpleminded explanations for things we may not want to examine too closely for fear of disturbing the security of our own preferred beliefs, I think this Maddow broadcast reflects the deeper problem inherent in something SST’s own ‘Confused Ponderer’ remarked upon a week or two ago in his/her excellent post.
    CP defines the similarity between the Neocons and the R2Pers as one characterized in a ‘utopian’ framework of sorts. I think that is fine and important as far as it goes yet I see the more defining impulse, the primary driving imperative, as an authoritarian one rooted in the sense of entitlement and the arrogance with which that entitlement is weaponized to inflict its delusional hegemonic ambitions upon the world at large.
    What makes the Maddow show misfire so troubling is, for me, not so much related to the essence of the ideological positioning of the Neocons or the R2Pers. It is that because the Neocons and the R2Pers are so close to each other in practical terms as far as how their ‘we are the bosses of everyone else because we have the power so we make our own rules’, etc., is imposed on others, left leaning people, even ones with pretty powerful intellects like Maddow, experience a cognitively dissonant cross-contamination of ideological allegiance in a way that winds up preventing them, in this case, from criticizing the Neocons on the merits and the evidence because to do so means they would have to, for the sake of ideological consistency, call out their feckless R2P idols like, well, the entire current administration’s foreign policy ‘team’ from the ponderous droning gasbag Kerry all the way down the line; Clapper, Rice, Power, Clinton, Nuland and Pyatt, and a host of others.
    So Maddow, consciously or not, winds up completely sidestepping the central force driving both the Iraq atrocity and the bulk of current US global policy today.
    I am by no means an expert or have any direct experience in policy matters like the ones involved here. I do have a good deal of experience wrangling with deception professionals in various environments, and all what I’ve posited above seems clear as a bell to me.

  10. Haralambos says:

    With all due respect, Colonel Lang,
    As you know far better and with a much more nuanced understanding than I, the dichotomy “nefarious oil industry interests”/”neocon government” oversimplifies the various interests and issues. I recall much ink spilled at the time over Cheney and his role in the energy policy, the Bush family connections to oil, speculation regarding the motives (to gain access to the oil to profit from it by sitting on it, selling it, gaining more leverage in the market . . .) to name just a few of the purported motives at the time.
    Recent events regarding Russia and the current crisis suggest that several of the major factors in our blinkered American view of the world regarding the motives of other include our sense of our American exceptionalism, your often- mentioned delusion that the world want to be like us in terms of government and governance, the neglect of curiosity regarding foreign languages, geography and history on the part of students due to lack of support for them and the legacy of the “greed is good” mantra leading many university students and graduates to opt for business and finance careers. Witness this piece today, as the NYTimes seems to be playing catch-up on its coverage of the current events regarding US-Russian relations:
    I often wonder about how many of my fellow Americans comprehend “A Committee of Correspondence” or have sworn an oath including the following words ”support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”.

  11. Marco Naccio says:

    The prime motivation for the Iraq War for Israel was the Israel-firster neocon contingent. No disagreement there.
    However, the theatrics of Maddow (& Co.) in ignoring these facts are due to her holding forth on a msm platform, where honest discussion of the Israel-firster impetus behind the war (or even the use of that term) are totally verboten. In fact, had Maddow engaged with those facts, she wouldn’t have a job. Her job is to avoid discussion of these topics, because it’s not part of the faux-progressive agenda she’s allowed to discuss.
    Does all this make her “anti-capitalist” or a leftist? Not even close. There’s nothing particularly leftist about her. She’s an “establishment liberal” at best who very carefully avoids discussion of the neocon agenda. Because she wants to stay employed. Likewise, the fact that she gladly cashes those big paychecks indicates she’s firmly a part of the capitalist system.
    I’m all for criticizing Maddow, but off-target ad hominems don’t elevate the discussion.

  12. turcopolier says:

    “Leftist?” you don’t like that? I suppose that this judgment depends on your point of reference on the political scale fro left to right. Describing Maddow’s political position as I understand it is not an “as hominem attack.”Perhaps to you Maddow and Corn are not leftists but they are to me and my opinion counts here. You are warned that if you take another critical shot at my right to say what I please here, you will be banned. pl

  13. turcopolier says:

    “I recall much ink spilled at the time over Cheney and his role in the energy policy, the Bush family connections to oil, speculation regarding the motives (to gain access to the oil to profit from it by sitting on it, selling it, gaining more leverage in the market” Yes , a lot of that was written and it was mostly bilge scribbled by people who are incapable of understanding anything except in economic terms. pl

  14. gemini333 says:

    I don’t think there is as much of a gap between the public and private sector now. So distinguishing between national interests and business interests is harder to do.

  15. Tyler says:

    Seems like the call has gone out among the Tribe. This morning Mark Levin was attempting to exonerate the neocons, saying that “neocon = jewish = you anti semite!” Not that all neocons are jewish (Cheney most notably), but noticing things is looked down upon in this Brave New America.
    Not surprising that Maddow would be carrying some water.

  16. DH says:

    Colonel, I recently read a take on the Iraq War that took into account the non-oily nature of it. It surmised that Bush II went into Iraq to repay Saudi Arabia for their citizen’s part in the WTC bombing and to also shake up countries so no true hegemon would prevail.

  17. All – My biggest take away from the broadcast was at the very top where we were informed that President Bush’d very first national security meeting focused on toppling Saddam and Ms. Rice’s positions of Iraq as the most destabilizing influence in the ME.This meeting was held 9 months before 9/11he Bush administration wanted that war from his earliest days I’m office.Then there are still the unanswered questions about Vice President Cheney’d secret meetings with top oil executives.
    I don’t blame the oil companies because they are just opportunistic capitalist (sorry for the redundancy).
    Bush’s desire to depose Saddam is the tree from which all if the things wrong with the Iraq war sprang.
    I fully understand the frequent derision of liberals on this board what with all their attempts to limit voting right and health care, their insistence that corporation are people, and their never ending hand wringing over made up scandals and their pandering to the most reactionary members of their party,

  18. turcopolier says:

    Richard Armstrong
    that meeting was fully documented in my article “Drinking the Koolaid” in the Summer edition of MEP. There is nothing mysterious about Cheney’s meetings with oilys. He was a former oil service industry executive and Bush had put him in charge of an energy task force. As for your cute baloney about “liberals,” you are inviting real attacks on their faults which are many. pl pl

  19. Mark Gaughan says:

    I think it was a combination of Neo-con beliefs and oil company profits.
    From a comment I made on 31 August 2012 at 05:15 PM:
    Iraq was invaded so that Big Oil could get a piece of the very lucrative oil business in Iraq. They’re getting a percentage of every barrel sold. They’re charging fees for their services.
    Reply 31 August 2012 at 05:15 PM

  20. Mark Gaughan says:

    from today:
    At least 82 people were killed and 176 were wounded across Iraq today. Most of the casualties were civilians. A series of bombings once again took place in Baghdad province, but there were significant blasts in nearby cities as well.

  21. turcopolier says:

    Mark Gaughan
    Believe what you will. I give up. pl

  22. Mark Gaughan says:

    Off topic, but I just have to say thanks PL for having SST. I read it every day and tell everyone to read it. Thanks so much. I’ve learned a lot from you and some of the others that post here.
    I just saw your response to my comment come up as I was typing this. I don’t believe anything. I think. I think you do too.

  23. turcopolier says:

    mak gaughan
    Are you the sports announcer? You believe that I, too, think? Well, thanks. Mark, the mere fact that people make money from historical events like the invasion and occupation of Iraq does not mean they caused the event. American business made vast amounts of money in WW2. Did American business cause he war? pl

  24. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Gee…I should proofread better. The bottom line is, can liberationists criticize others who claim to be wanting to “liberate” peoples? No, the only possible criticism is that, “they don’t really mean that. they have some hidden agenda that corrupts the holy cause of liberating peoples at gunpoint.” Oil (or whatever) makes for a convenient excuse, unlike the true believers who just want to bomb people to liberate them.

  25. VietnamVet says:

    I agree there were a lot of reasons Bush II decided to invade Iraq besides oil but it was somewhere in the middle of the list. On top was the fact that the USA had been at war with Iraq since the 1990, admittedly low grade, but the President decided to show his old man up by finishing the war for good. He failed.
    He did succeed in implanting neo-cons through out the State Department and DOD. He privatized logistics and security. He showed that a voluntary army will fight loosing wars forever. He made it possible for Israeli Firsters and R2Pers to involve America into wars in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.

  26. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    All, to get a head start on Spring Cleaning, I was going through an old file late Friday. I happened onto a cryptic note made in Nov 2005; it was probably my first visit to SST , via a link from Emptywheel (Marcy Wheeler).
    The topic of the SST post of 11 Nov 2005 was “Habakkuk on”Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence”. If Maddow and the MSNBC reporters would all read that older post, they would realize that rather than give the neocons an ‘out’ by blaming the oil companies for the Iraq War, they would better inform their audience by tracing:
    (1) the changes in institutional structures (CIA, DoD) the past 20+ years, and
    (2) neocon approaches to ‘textual analysis’, which directly contributed to the ‘intelligence failure’ of false claims about WMD in Iraq.
    What struck me (forcibly) is that the 2005 post seems even more ominous and timely today – in view of the Ukrainian conflict – than it was 8+ years ago.
    The older post examines the institutional problems that stem from ‘careerism’, which enabled the neocons to dominate US intelligence and defense institutions.
    In addition, the neocons were Straussians, and Habbukak examines how the neocons used Leo Strauss’s textual analysis. Rather than compile information from a variety of sources (as US intelligence officer Sherman Kent had advocated), the neocons obsessed on ‘textual analysis’ of limited documents, thereby ignoring the larger, more complex realities of the ME and Iraq.
    Habbakuk helps the reader understand how someone like the well-credentialed Ahmed Chalabi was uniquely suited to lead the neocons into foreign policy disaster, with the rest of us still paying the price.
    Blaming the oil companies for Iraq and ME wars deflects responsibility from the neocons, who bent intelligence to their policy desires. IOW, those of you who dislike ‘lefties’ can relish the irony of Lefty Maddow and MSNBC letting the likes of Wolfowitz, Chalabi, Feith, Cheney, et al off the hook for their culpability. Tis a bitter irony, indeed!
    If anyone has time to read the older SST post, you will see that the neocons convinced themselves (aided by Chalabi) that the Iraqi Shia were ‘secular’, and therefore would not be controlled by Iran. It was the kind of error that a Straussian would make.
    This matters because the neocons appear to be stirring up the pot in Ukraine and elsewhere, and blaming corporations or oil companies for this kind of nonsense gives ‘cover’ to those most determined to create trouble: the neocons.

  27. Bill H says:

    Don’t you read? It was because Saddam tried to kill his father. 🙂

  28. The Virginian says:

    I’d suggest that capitalism in the West and EU are certainly regulated, but not always based on rigorous science and factual data. The sectors that made the most – and a mess of – Iraq and Afghanistan were the development beltway bandits that fed off USAID and DoD money as well as the internal / domestic actors that accessed this rent circuit. Halliburton’s role for the CPA and post CPA period was to support CPA operations – at present they are providing oilfield services to a mix of IOCs involved. It is worth noting that US companies did not “win” in the Iraqi energy game, only one US company won a contract (ExxonMobil, West Qurna 1 – at a remuneration fee of USD 1.90 per barrel before costs / taxes) and Occidental was with Eni on Zubayr though they either have or are looking to get out. Even ExxonMobil has recently sold down its shares of West Qurna 1 to the Chinese, though they are also involved in KRG exploration.

  29. The Virginian says:

    I think your commentary is quite uninformed. The Iraqi gov’t take of the technical services contracts (TSCs) is 97-98%, with IOCs being nothing more than Contractors – while seemingly good for the State this means that due to limited reward for investment IOCs are unwilling to take on more risk in the south, and it is the State’s responsibility to ensure necessary infrastructure, procurement, admin services, et al are in place whereas in a more profitable environment IOCs will take greater risk in terms of building infrastructure in hope of greater reward. That is not to say that there are no profits, but compared to elsewhere the pickings are not as profit intensive. There is a wide array of literature on this in various open sources. Services companies like Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger are subcontractors to IOCs (or national oil companies), thus their business model is different.
    The oil aspect of the invasion I’d suggest was less to do about US / Western companies, and more about US policy which was trying to build an alternative to KSA and to see new production come online to keep prices low. By itself oil was not the driver – the neo-con exploitation and lining up of perceived interests was the driver.

  30. The Virginian says:

    For an interesting look at reasons behind the US invasion I’d encourage interested readers to look at Raymond Hinnebusch’s piece at While I certainly see liberal academic overtones and some misperception of the energy industry and government capacity at play in the piece, it is certainly thought provoking.

  31. Eliot says:

    I always found the oil argument ludicrous. In a world of autarky, yes, I suppose it would make sense to invade your neighbor to secure precious resources. Fortunately for everyone, we have functional global markets that allow us to exchange goods at little expense.
    Why on earth would we invade Iraq for oil if we could simply buy it on the open market? So we could pay a six trillion dollar premium? If this was really about oil, or oil prices, why not allow Iraq to open the tap and let global prices fall accordingly?
    – Eliot

  32. Swerv21 says:

    As chief executive of Halliburton, Cheney would have been involved in long term strategic planning for the company- these analysis would have undoubtedly involved long term planning, market analysis, forecasting, risk analysis and so on.
    Halliburton would have been involved in making bets about the viability of things such as new drilling technologies that were about to come online and implications for non-conventional reserves (like shale) – things that, at the time, were more medium to long term developments. He would have also had to be involved in understanding likely economic risks both to the company and to the broader economy in bringing these reserves to market. These analyses would have informed his thinking- not just at an economic level- he would have naturally seen these in political and geo-strategic terms as well.
    We will never know this obviously, but it’s possible that he had foreseen the ‘shale oil revolution’ that was coming and understood that in the time required to bring these new reserves to market (and guarantee energy independence for the u.s.)- that the U.S. would have been vulnerable to a disruption in the flow of energy BEFORE these new reserves came online. A major economic disruption of that magnitude would have represented a unacceptable risk to the United States to this way of thinking.
    As the most of erratic of two energy wildcards left in the Middle East (Iran being the other) Saddam was the very personification of unacceptable risk.
    I don’t like Cheney- and I’m not trying to defend him. But I also don’t think he is stupid or blindly malevolent. He just has a certain world view…

  33. Mark Gaughan says:

    Good point

  34. Paul Escobar says:

    To the progressives who frequent this forum,
    They did not sell the Iraq war on the basis of financial incentives. They sold it on the basis of what is regularly discussed by Mr. Lang: a messianic zeal to re-design foreign/alien cultures.
    If you do not understand, address, and neutralize this basis for foreign intervention – you will see tragedies like the Iraq invasion/occupation repeat AD NAUSEAM.
    You can do better,
    Paul Escobar

  35. Colonel, you first sentence left me confused. Was your comment about Cheney’s meeting or Bush’s first meeting where the national security apparatus determined that toppling Saddam was priority number one?
    My attempt at irony may have been sophomoric baloney however the frequent attacks on liberals here began long before my snark, & are frequently merely ad hominem. Lots of us on the left can indeed be described as a bit loony, but many in Congress and state legislatures hold those exact positions and they certainly were not elected by liberals. In our republic elected representatives are supposed to represent their constituents. I believe the Republicans in Congress and state legislatures do just that.

  36. Lee says:

    As a single cause it is ludicrous. As a factor in
    Cheney’s view of future threats that can be pre-empted it is a factor. The fundamentals of oil depletion intersecting demand is something Cheney understands which most people don’t. Saddam would have as much ability to affect the price of oil after 2005 as he could invading Iran or Kuwait in the past. Maddow’s error is elevating the significance of oil to a singular cause which it isn’t.
    What Cheney/Bush couldn’t do any more than Obama can is acknowledge the growth we enjoyed came from an inheritance of cheap oil. That inheritance is declining and our ability to purchase from the world market has declined.
    Iraq can’t open the tap without 100’s billions investment in oil and social infrastructure.

  37. Lee says:

    I agree completely wrt fundamentals behind the invasion but we will no more learn the lessons of Iraq than we did Vietnam. An equally important lesson understanding the cost of unsustainable oil consumption and oil depletion hasn’t been learned after three significant oil price shocks hit the worlds economy.
    I figure we’ll do better when we can no longer afford to do worse.

  38. MRW says:

    I am far more cynical. Maddow bought a multi-million dollar nest downtown; she has a huge monthly nut. She needs that job to pay for it.
    I find her tedious, occasionally insightful, shrill, and an unremarkably common thinker. All you have to do is watch her show any night of the week to know what is the accepted perspective on the topic she’s covering.

  39. turcopolier says:

    Richard Armstrong
    I referred to Bush’s first meeting. pl

  40. eakens says:

    The best evidence for the invasion not being about natural resources was that they did call the invasion Operation Iraqi Liberation at first before realizing what the acronym was and changing it. They couldn’t have been that stupid on purpose!

  41. Stephen Jones says:

    I think there’s an important distinction to be made between the financial incentive associated with oil as fuel and the dynamic of the control of oil and other energy resources as a geopolitical weapon where those resources are witheld or made accessible in order to advance and increase hegemonic dominance over others.
    It seems apparent that many both self-described progressives and self-described conservatives miss this distinction and its implications as to motive.
    Colonel Lang has been correct on this all along, from the early aughts when he was still a welcomed guest on the talking head gasbag shows in the run up to the Iraq invasion, and his perspective remains every bit as solid today as far as I can see. Anyone paying attention and not diverted or inhibited by other ideological imperatives, progressive or conservative, should be able to discern the simple verities he speaks of in this.

  42. Charles I says:

    I agree now tho I think I can relate to eco-determinists in this way.
    Say eco-determinists are generally lefty like me, messiancally opposed to neocons, who appear to us as uniformly oily. Since we’d like rational explanations for their destructive zeal for war(n/ws/ our own, in my case, largely disabused notions of r2p & social engineering instincts) it is comforting in a simplistic manner to ascribe it to cool economic predation in lieu of greater comprehension of intangibles when opining to oppose the act.
    How do you neutralize a mob of zealots? Bring back the draft?

  43. Tyler says:

    Let’s not forget how Afghanistan went from “clear out al-Qaeda/Taliban” to “build schools for girls and bring liberal democracy to Afghanistan”.

  44. The sands of time will soon wash away the American adventure in Iraq the last several decades.
    Blame an incompetent Congress for the text of the AUMF.
    BTW has Congress weighed in on events in the Ukraine and/or Crimea.
    Is there any coherent open source book on Russian FP or is Putin the beginning and end of discussion?
    How long has Kerry been Secretary of State? Successes? Failures?

  45. Edward Amame says:

    I’m a liberal who’s left scratching my head at all the finger pointing going on here. I’ve always considered the brainiacs behind the Project for a New American Century/A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm the likeliest suspects for negotiating us into the Iraq War. If elements of the business community in general, energy industry in particular, were involved, it would be within the context of PNAC/Clean Break.
    Cable news, Rachel Maddow/MSNBC included, does nada for me.

  46. turcopolier says:

    The neocons did not “negotiate’ us into Iraq. They lied us into that war. “useful idiot” is the phrase you are looking for. pl

  47. Lee says:

    Swerv21, not sure if you’re serious about tight/fracked oil providing “energy independence”. Unlike conventional fields output from fracked oil falls off at a very high rate once you stop drilling and the geology for it is in a fairly defined area. It’s more accurate to think of the recent increase in fracked oil like having a Whole Foods move into the neighborhood across the street from Safeway, you’ll have more choices but your food bill won’t be cheaper. After the sweet spots have been worked over production will decline which some folks project will occur within ten yrs. But unfortunately it will occur as China keeps gobbling up available oil exports and OPEC keeps consuming more of their production.
    The challenges running an infrastructure built on $20/b oil with $100/b oil are still there.

  48. Colonel,
    Bush chose to start the war and promoted the idea by lying about WMDs an ties to AG.
    The corporations were merely war profiteers taking advantage of opportunities handed to them on a gold plate.
    I’d bet that to them the American deaths and permanent injuries were thought to be the cost of doing business born by others.

  49. Tyler – hell has frozen over as I agree with you. The change in rationale isn’t mission creep. It’s a desperate attempt to find a mission.

  50. I wish Bush would please go vacation in the Hague.
    Weren’t high ranking German hanged for waging aggressive war.
    Someone please tell me the difference.

  51. turcopolier says:

    Richard Armstrong
    Keital and Jodl would be two. pl

  52. CK says:

    For the most part, Iraqi oil had not been being pumped and sold at full capacity for 10 years before the 2003 invasion. Every other oil producing nation had had 10 years of depletion while Iraq had in effect 10 years of forced savings. Funnily enough, the price of a bbl of crude in 2002 ( $22.81) was the a mere 110% of the price of a bbl of crude in 1991 ( $20.19).

  53. CK says:

    The Germans surrendered and lost.

  54. optimax says:

    The Germans were defeated. That is the main difference.

  55. Edward Amame says:

    I agree. I meant negotiate as in “steer.”

  56. walrus says:

    Gentlemen, I agree with Col. Lang that it isimplausible to blame the oil industry or the military industrial complex for the latest wars.
    However I think it may be possible to draw the lesser conclusion: that the oil industry (and plenty of others) is not averse to the creation or fomenting of American war.
    Could we say for example, that if this was untrue, and war was inimical to American business, the patterns of donations to both political parties would reflect such aversion?

  57. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I’d like to think that the alleged power of the moneyed in politics is greatly exaggerated.
    Those with power can force money out of those who have money whenever they want to, even when they go against the interest of the latter.
    Those who have money have to plead and beg to get the attention of the powerful, and they still have no guarantee that they will be listened to.
    This is not to say that the moneyed have no more influence with the powerful than the moneyless–they have far better chance that their interest would be given some attention. But nobody can “buy” power, any more than the robbed is buying the robber.
    To take a counterintuitive example: let’s compare ExxonMobile and the Koch brothers. ExxonMobile is vastly richer than the Koch brothers. Yet, Koch brothers are vastly more influential than ExxonMobile, or indeed, any other “corporate” interests. Why? I think this is because the Koch brothers are “politicians” (or, at any rate, political activists) who happen to have a lot of money, who are interested in power and politics first and foremost, far more than they are in money. ExxonMobile, because of its corporate nature, is interested in money much more than politics. Politicians (especially when they have a lot of money) can beat out the big money any time.

  58. The Virginian says:

    The energy industry – certainly the big players – prefers stability, not war, as it is a long term business. The preferred countries are regulated democracies where the rule of law is transparent and enforced. The second most stable regimes are authoritarian, where the rules of the game are not transparent but the outcomes are consistent. It is the transitional environments and weak states that pose the most problem from a business planning / business risk management perspective. Until the recent North American opening due to shale oil and gas (followed by the tar sands) most new finds or opportunities to access known resources came in places where instability was the norm.

  59. nick b says:

    Exxon Mobil’s first duty is to its shareholders. The Koch brothers have personal fortunes, and Koch Industries is a privately held business. They are beholden to very few, if to anyone.
    I believe that Exxon Mobil does wield influence with the government, but uses it to promote its business aims. The Koch brothers do the same, but also use their influence to promote ideologies.

  60. Babak Makkinejad says:

    And pray tell me where is Royal Dutch Shell in this?
    That is not an American company.
    Or ENI?
    I have tried to make it clear that what is happening in Ukraine is a NATO exercise to which Australia is also an appendage.
    One could excuse semi-sovereign states such as South Korea and Japan in going along with these ill-conceived schemes of NATO, but what is in it for Australia?

  61. kao_hsien_chih says:

    that is basically my point. ExxonMobile (or various other “big money” interests) cannot wield that much political influence because they are constrained from within, by their very nature. People with personal fortunes, even if they are, in the large scheme of things, relatively small, wield far more influence because they can easily become “politicians” who have money, not people with money buying political influence. Subtle, but important difference. People who rant about the 1% nonsense don’t understand this.

  62. steve says:

    Paul Escobar,
    While I agree that the purpose of that war was the remaking of the Middle East rather than economic reasons (although money to be made through war and subsequent “redevelopment” is always a lurking incentive), I disagree with you on this one point: the fact that the war was sold via some messianic vision does not in and of itself mean that was the motive.
    That vision may have been the only one palatable to the American public. In this case, it just happened to be the motive. In other cases, it might not be anything more than p.r. spin for public, domestic consumption.

  63. The Virginian says:

    For Australia little to nothing in terms of operatorship, but some Australian companies like Leighton are involved in related construction plus other projects funded by oil revenues in other sectors. And there are a numver of Australians working in Iraq. Australia was part of the Coalition because of its ties to Washington, as with Aussie participation in Afghanistan (which is now complete).
    The biggest player in Arab Iraqi oil, other than the Iraqis, is the Chinese. The KRG is the biggest player in Kurdistan as they retained a 20% equity (or the right to 20%) in all of the contracts it has signed. The Japanese are involved, though primarily in terms of buying Iraqi crude. The South Koreans are constructing downstream facilities plus other things outside of the sector.
    Shell is operating one field and is in a JV to collect associated gas with the South Oil Company (JV is the Basra Gas Company or something like that), and is a minority partner with ExxonMobil in West Qurna 1. Eni is operating Zubayr, and has no other interests in Iraq – indeed, Eni is threatening to pull out of late due to Baghdad’s dysfunctional approach to the sector.

  64. Medicine Man says:

    They’ve been trying to push that neocon = jewish thing since the middle of Bush II; I remember it clearly. It was a dodge then and it remains so.

  65. Medicine Man says:

    There is a certain segment of the leftward fringe for whom the notion that the “permagov” is owned by business is an article of faith. This belief is generally supported by anecdote and invulnerable to persuasion. I once spent a half hour arguing with one such about the combat footage Manning leaked and how what was shown was the expected product of an urban war, not a war crime. The distinction was lost on him and I spent much of the time being called an authoritarian bootlicker because I listen to military veterans regarding the nature of war. My first encounter with the mentality that led a different shmuck to spit on our host all those years ago.
    Maddow? I think it is true that there is a narrow range of acceptable leftism that can be broadcast without imperiling the broadcaster’s job. Maddow is trying to serve up a product to the leftward viewers while staying within that range.

  66. nick b says:


  67. ALL: I understand Daniel Yergin has published an update to his excellent [IMO] book “THE PRIZE”!
    Anyone read it? Review?
    His conclusion in THE PRIZE [1992?] overproduction the biggest problem for the oil industry!

  68. Edward Amame says:

    He’ll just stay here in the USA where he and his crew will remain un-indicted for running an illegal covert operation on the American public.

  69. Tyler says:

    Its like a 3D picture, where you can’t see the image until you look at it in just the right way.
    You’re starting to see the outline.

  70. Edward Amame says:

    I wasn’t looking for phrases. Who are the “useful idiots” you are referring to? If it’s liberals, that’s bunk.
    There was much real time discussion on “the left’ about what the Bush Admin’s intentions and motivations were in Iraq. “War for oil” was pretty much discounted early on as prime motivator. The left had/has the same mindset as you as to the why and how of Iraq despite your impressions based on watching professional gasbags on cable tv. You want to hear from some actual leftists? Here’s a good start:

  71. turcopolier says:

    Careful now. If you get hostile so will I. pl

  72. Alba Etie says:

    Would the proper response to the 9-11 attacks been to only depose the Taliban , destroy the Al Qaida training camps in Afghanistan ? Then return home & tell whomever was left in charge in Kabul if the AQ camps come back we will be back to go after you all and the training camps again . It seems to me like the Northern Alliance and the special forces /CIA pretty much destroyed all of the infrastructure and support for AQ in Afghanistan early on yes ? Finally since you were there in Afghanistan ( as well as Iraq ) do you have an opinion as to why Usama bin Laden got away at Tora Bora ?

  73. Edward Amame says:

    Sorry if I came off that way. I have the utmost respect for you and for your blog.

  74. Lee says:

    Slam dunk! Then there’s reality.

  75. The Virginian says:

    His follow-on to the prize is called “The Quest”, a good read…

  76. Lee says:

    Aletho, that 6 yr old opinion piece is based on multiple arguments, one of which is that oil depletion is not a concern and peak oil is invalid. I have not seen any articles by the professor concerning peak oil since it was written. There has been enough time and data to show he is mistaken.

  77. Tyler says:

    The mission changed after I left, mainly due to the Army attempting to use infantry soldiers as InfoOps/Unconventional Warfare specialists because of the lack of Special Forces soldiers who are the true masters of that art. I spent my time in Afghanistan on the eastern border fighting against the inflowof arms and fighters from Pakistan. However even then you started hearing about Mickey Mouse horseshit like building girl’s schools and bringing liberal western democracy to Afghanistan. There was little to no realization that Pashtuns had no wish to be lectured by Nice White Ladies from State and the UN about how backwards they were.
    Use Google earth and look at Tora Bora for a moment – its a mess of caves, high peaks, valleys, goat paths, and ambush opportunities. Just from my amateur analysis, the major cause seems to be an over reliance on native troops, lack of US forces, and ignoring certain intel. In that terrain, you get no second changes.

Comments are closed.