Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Local take on what triggered war in Iraq

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune (notice a trend as I read today's edition) had this in their Wednesday regional South edition.

My view: Facts show oil triggered war

Connect the dots.

• Domestic U.S. oil supplies are near depletion, and the cost for exploration and development of new domestic sources is significantly higher than for producing Iraqi oil (as low as $1 per barrel).

• Iraq's oil supply could total more than 400 billion barrels, equaling Saudi Arabia's (the current largest supply) and worth more than $3 trillion to the companies that obtain the rights to produce it.

• President Bush expressed frustration in the Oct. 3, 2000, presidential debate that the United States was purchasing 1 million barrels of oil a day from Saddam.

• Saddam nationalized the oil industries in 1972 and ousted U.S. and United Kingdom corporations (four of the five largest oil producers in the world). These oil companies tried unsuccessfully in 1997 to contract with Saddam for oil production as he was entertaining foreign investment again. Saddam instead entered into contracts with Russian, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Chinese companies to explore for and develop new fields. However, U.N. sanctions on Iraq held these competitors at bay.

• A neoconservative group associated with individuals now on the Bush team tried unsuccessfully to urge Congress to take action against Iraq in 1998, citing Iraq's oil as crucial to U.S. economic interests and claiming Iraq to have weapons of mass destruction, presenting a threat to the Middle East.

• U.N. weapons inspectors said in March 2003 that Saddam was finally cooperating and they needed only a few more months to verify that Iraq had no WMD, whereupon the sanctions would likely be lifted and the competing oil interests solidified.

• Fifteen of the nineteen 9-11 terrorists were Saudis, none were Iraqi or connected to Iraq in any way. Many received funding from Saudi Arabia, with which U.S. oil interests have long-term relationships.

• If Bush waited for U.N. weapons inspectors to conclude there were no WMD (as we now know to be the case), his politically acceptable reason for attack would be erased.

• President Clinton had joined the International Criminal Court (ICC). If Bush pursued an unprovoked war or committed other defined crimes while the U.S. was a member of the ICC he could be charged in the ICC. Bush withdrew the U.S. from the ICC in May 2002.

• U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan recently stated that Bush's invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that violated the U.N. charter.

• In the first debate, John Kerry noted that it was strange that Bush's first focus in the war was on Iraq's oil fields.

• John Kerry also criticized Bush for diverting attention from the terrorists to Iraq, which according to the 9/11 Commission and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had no credible connections to Al-Qaida.

• References: www.worldwatch.org/press/news/2002/11/26/, http://www.globalpolicy.org, www.uwec.edu/grossmzc/philligr.html; for the neocon agenda see www.newamericancentury.org.

Al Frechette lives in Shakopee

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