Reflections on Iraq VI: Is the war for Oil?

The common argument of those who oppose the war in Iraq is that it’s “Just a war for oil”.  In my previous two posts on this subject, I could have raised this issue, as one had to do with NSSM-200 and stealing foreign resources, while the other had to do with Bush’s motivations.

However, again, if the war is masking a more secret motive of oil, the Left makes its own case quite poorly.

The standard claim is that Bush went to war to get easier access to oil, to get cheaper oil, etc.

Deal Hudson roundly trounced that claim in a 2003 column: if the secret motive was oil, then why spend billions of dollars on a war, which must surely be considered part of the “cost” of this alleged cheap oil?

How will ticking off OPEC successfully lower oil prices?

However, the premise of both sides in the “war for oil” debate is that the Bush Administration wanted “cheap” oil.

OK, maybe Bush wanted to help his oil industry backers find some *access* to cheap oil, but he certainly didnt’ want to lower oil prices for consumers.

Here’s a basic rule of oil economics, which should be known to anyone who’s watched Dallas:

When OPEC raises oil prices, American oil companies prosper.

When OPEC lowers prices, American oil companies suffer.

When OPEC’s prices are high, there’s greater demand for domestic oil, and the American companies prosper fantastically, as they did in the late 1970s and as they have done for most of this decade.

So, if Bush invaded Iraq “merely to get its oil,” we have to see that in the proper context: ticking off OPEC to raise prices, so American companies can wield a greater profit.

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One response to “Reflections on Iraq VI: Is the war for Oil?

  1. Oil is not just a commodity – it is a geo-strategic resource. I believe the aim of the neo-cons, in pursuing their agenda of full-spectrum American dominance, wanted to prevent Saddam Hussein from doing business with ‘Old Europe’, China, Russia, and other US rivals.

    Oil is still the life blood of industrial economies. Winning the geo-strategic game may be as simple as controlling or at least influencing who gets how much oil. Control of the world’s second largest oil reserves, directly or by proxy, is enormous power – even if it isn’t being used for America’s own direct economic benefit.

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