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Debunking The War For Oil Theory

Written By : John Hawkins
January 14, 2012

As I read the latest & greatest piece of diarrhea to be penned by one of the ‘war for oil” crowd, I was struck by how shallow and ill-thought out this theory it is.

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In fact, when I called it the “war for oil theory” in the title of this editorial, I probably gave the whole idea more credit that it’s due. That’s because there’s really nothing more to the whole “theory” than,

A) The United States uses oil
B) Iraq has a lot of oil
C) Bush & Cheney are former oilmen

We’re actually lucky that Cheney never owned a Major League baseball team and that Iraq doesn’t have any talented, young players or we’d probably be treated to the “war for baseball” theory by the anti-war left.

But “war for baseball” makes about as much sense as “war for oil” when you think about it. Just ponder the OBVIOUS question that the proponents of the ‘war for oil’ theory never ask. That question is, “What are we accomplishing with a war for oil that we couldn’t achieve more easily via peaceful means?”

– We can’t be going to war to get Saddam to sell us oil because he already does.

– Do we want him to sell us MORE oil? Well then all we’d have to do is ask. Iraq is desperate to acquire more revenue.

– Do we want to increase the price of oil to make the oil companies more profitable? Again, that’s easy to do. We could simply destroy the Iraqi oil fields in retaliation for their attacks on our planes in the “no fly” zone. That would cause a large temporary spike in the price of oil.

– Do we want to get more oil on the world market so we can buy cheaper oil? We could easily convince the UN to remove the sanctions and Iraq would quickly double their oil production. They’re currently producing way under capacity.

– Do we want to get the oil field contracts that the French and Russians have? Behind the scenes, Bush could have offered to have the sanctions lifted if Hussein would have torn up the contracts he had with the French and Russians. If we didn’t want the sanctions in place they’d be gone and the contracts Saddam made with the French and the Russians? They don’t mean anything when you’re dealing with a dictator like Hussein — unless you’ve got a military capable of enforcing the deal. Also, just as a side note, the war, the occupation, and aid we’ll give Iraq will end up costing us much more than those oil fields are worth even if we would have gotten them all (which we won’t).

– Do we want to control the country that has the 2nd largest supply of oil in the world so we’ll still have a source of oil after much of the rest of the planet has gone dry? Well, this makes no sense at all in world where relationships between nations change regularly. Think about how our relationships with Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, & Germany have changed just since 9/11. The only way we could insure that we would still have access to Iraq’s oil decades from now would be to make them into a US colony with a puppet ruler who actually takes orders from us. Is there anyone out there who actually thinks this is going to happen despite the fact that we’re not doing it anywhere else in the world today?

The reason I’ve had to toss out all these different options in the first place is because there is no consistent, rational theory coming from the ‘war for oil’ people. They themselves don’t even understand what they mean by “war for oil”.

If you want to expose how little thought these people have put into this, just use the Socratic Method on them. I’m sure your conversation will sound something like this’

Anti-War Protestor: This is a war for oil! That’s what this all about!

You: Why do you say that?

Anti-War Protestor: Because Iraq has oil and we want it! Bush and Cheney, they’re oilmen!

You: So how does invading Iraq help us get their oil?

Anti-War Protestor: After we invade, we can just take it!

You: So you’re saying we’re going to invade Iraq and just take over their oil fields? Then we’re never going to pay Iraq for their oil? That doesn’t sound very likely’.

Anti-War Protestor: I’m not saying that’we will pay for the oil but’

You: But, we already pay for the oil. How is that different from what we’re doing now?

Anti-War Protestor: We’ll have all that oil under our control!

You: How will it be under our control?

Anti-War Protestor: Iraq’s leader will be a puppet of the United States! They’ll have to sell us oil!

You: But they already sell us oil. So why should we’

Anti-War Protestor: He tried to kill Bush’s daddy! That’s what this really about!

The ‘war for oil theory’ isn’t a serious theory for people who pay attention to foreign policy. It’s really nothing more than a bumper sticker slogan that through parrot-like repetition has managed to impress liberal partisans, people who don’t like Bush, and those who don’t really understand foreign policy.

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