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  • Operation Iraqi Liberation - OIL

    Hi All-

    It was reported that the original name for the invasion was to be named Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL) but Pentagon planners wanted to avoid the association of the invasion with oil so the campaign was renamed Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Which leads to some questions, even almost four years later.

    Since the Bush Administration invaded Iraq Iím often puzzled by the ongoing justifications used to, well, justify the war. The answer I hear and read most often from the supporters of the invasion and occupation are the need to stop terrorism and for the establishment of democracy. For example, Saddam Hussein was a terrorist and needed to be stopped before he acquired or gave nuclear weapons and chemical weapons to Al-Qaida and the invasion will bring democracy to Iraq and in turn, spread freedom throughout the Middle-East. There are certainly other justifications for the invasion, but these are primarily the two reasons I hear in discussions and in the media.

    Rarely, however, do I hear oil being used as a justification for the invasion. I simply cannot recount a personal conversation or debate with a supporter of the invasion where oil was used as reason to go to war. Beyond a personal conservation, I rarely read or hear the discussion of oil used in the press as an analysis of why the Bush Administration invaded Iraq. Generally speaking, the prevention of terrorism or the spread of democracy is what most mainstream news analysis discusses and the topic of oil is rarely broached.

    Oil is essential to the American economy and itís an enormous leverage against our economic rivals. Why would the US not want to control the distribution of this resource? From a strategic position, wouldnít it be advantageous for the US to control the faucet?

    The threat of Saddam Hussein, in my opinion, was not in terrorism, since we supported the terrorist right thru his worst crimes.

    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/press.htm

    The threat of Saddam was that he controlled a resource which, pardon the pun, runs our economy. Why this window dressing of terrorism and democracy?

    Please discuss.
    |TG-9th| TheFatKidDeath
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  • #2
    Re: Operation Iraqi Liberation - OIL

    I think part of the reason is that it is "understood" that oil is the reason for just about everything that is done in that region. Iraq is a country because of oil.

    It may be sad and some may deny it and most don't like to think about it but it is the most widely known 'secret' I have ever heard. It is practically a cliche.

    Even so, oil was used in a round about way to justify the war. Cheney said many times that the oil revenue would pay for the bulk of the war effort.
    Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
    - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
    - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
    - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
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    • #3
      Re: Operation Iraqi Liberation - OIL

      Intriging... O. I. L.

      I wonder just how much oil has been removed from Iraq since March 2003 and shipped to Americia since the operation bagain. I would wager that the U.S.A. as of to date have gotten less oil from Iraq and the middle east and have paid more dollar per barrell since the war started. That would be some huge irony.

      No matter how much of a cynic u are, oil is just a fraction of the total Dark Side for this Campaign.

      I speak of the Military Industrial Complex. Sadly human lives are taken and changed for ever when the Complex lobbies to get their way and does.
      P.S., I hate those who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 election, particulary those in FL.

      The biggest thing i ponder is: Did military stratigist predict choas and a rebillion (Sunni insurgancy) after Saddam and the Bath party were neutralized? Were there any who looked at this and thought "Damn, we are going to need more soilders."??

      Ohh, thats right Rumsfield fired those guys ( biggest na sayers) in the Pentagon after major operations were ended in May 2003.
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      • #4
        Re: Operation Iraqi Liberation - OIL

        Originally posted by Rick_the_new_guy
        I wonder just how much oil has been removed from Iraq since March 2003 and shipped to Americia since the operation bagain. I would wager that the U.S.A. as of to date have gotten less oil from Iraq and the middle east and have paid more dollar per barrell since the war started. That would be some huge irony.
        You are exactly correct. Iraqi Oil exports have actually gone DOWN since we invaded, and the US has actually had to ship Oil INTO Iraq to help stabilize their economy in the months after the fall of Baghdad, when terror strikes prevented their own oil fields from functioning.

        Considering all of this was easily predictable before the war, its honestly amazing to me to hear anyone still holding out the tired old line that "we invaded Iraq to control its oil."

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        • #5
          Re: Operation Iraqi Liberation - OIL

          Originally posted by TheFatKidDeath
          Why this window dressing of terrorism and democracy?

          Please discuss.
          Well, I would ask you the same question. Why all the hubub about oil? Where is there any evidence that was our cause? Don't Mexico and Canada supply more of our oil than the middle east? If their goal was to raise oil prices rather than actually get any oil out of Iraq then I suppose they've succeeded. Gas is still cheaper in today's dollars than it was when Jimmy Carter conspired with the Iranians to sack our embassy and take our hostages for a year though. :icon12:

          By the way, I think securing the World's economy with a stable supply of oil is a perfectly legitimate use of war against a self-proclaimed enemy and insane dictator. Not that I think that was done, just sayin'.

          So, why the "window dressing of terrorism and democracy"? You mean besides the failure to comply with the Gulf War cease fire agreement? Saddam had one final chance to provide us with some proof of accounting for all the weapons that we knew about and he handed us a pile of rubbish. That ultimatum given by Bush and the UN was the last straw. Saddam was given a chance to avoid the war and he chose to believe we were bluffing. Whether he actually had WMD or just believed he did and whether or not he had massive stockpiles or just enough to kill many of us is irrelevant in my opinion. He did not actively avoid the war by cooperating fully and honestly.

          As if that were not enough, here is some background on the "window dressing of terrorism":

          Linky and More

          Those who try to whitewash Saddam's record don't dispute this evidence; they just ignore it. So let's review the evidence, all of it on the public record for months or years:

          * Abdul Rahman Yasin was the only member of the al Qaeda cell that detonated the 1993 World Trade Center bomb to remain at large in the Clinton years. He fled to Iraq. U.S. forces recently discovered a cache of documents in Tikrit, Saddam's hometown, that show that Iraq gave Mr. Yasin both a house and monthly salary.

          * Bin Laden met at least eight times with officers of Iraq's Special Security Organization, a secret police agency run by Saddam's son Qusay, and met with officials from Saddam's mukhabarat, its external intelligence service, according to intelligence made public by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was speaking before the United Nations Security Council on February 6, 2003.

          * Sudanese intelligence officials told me that their agents had observed meetings between Iraqi intelligence agents and bin Laden starting in 1994, when bin Laden lived in Khartoum.

          * Bin Laden met the director of the Iraqi mukhabarat in 1996 in Khartoum, according to Mr. Powell.

          * An al Qaeda operative now held by the U.S. confessed that in the mid-1990s, bin Laden had forged an agreement with Saddam's men to cease all terrorist activities against the Iraqi dictator, Mr. Powell told the United Nations.

          * In 1999 the Guardian, a British newspaper, reported that Farouk Hijazi, a senior officer in Iraq's mukhabarat, had journeyed deep into the icy mountains near Kandahar, Afghanistan, in December 1998 to meet with al Qaeda men. Mr. Hijazi is "thought to have offered bin Laden asylum in Iraq," the Guardian reported.

          * In October 2000, another Iraqi intelligence operative, Salah Suleiman, was arrested near the Afghan border by Pakistani authorities, according to Jane's Foreign Report, a respected international newsletter. Jane's reported that Suleiman was shuttling between Iraqi intelligence and Ayman al Zawahiri, now al Qaeda's No. 2 man.

          (Why are all of those meetings significant? The London Observer reports that FBI investigators cite a captured al Qaeda field manual in Afghanistan, which "emphasizes the value of conducting discussions about pending terrorist attacks face to face, rather than by electronic means.")

          * As recently as 2001, Iraq's embassy in Pakistan was used as a "liaison" between the Iraqi dictator and al Qaeda, Mr. Powell told the United Nations.

          * Spanish investigators have uncovered documents seized from Yusuf Galan -- who is charged by a Spanish court with being "directly involved with the preparation and planning" of the Sept. 11 attacks -- that show the terrorist was invited to a party at the Iraqi embassy in Madrid. The invitation used his "al Qaeda nom de guerre," London's Independent reports.

          * An Iraqi defector to Turkey, known by his cover name as "Abu Mohammed," told Gwynne Roberts of the Sunday Times of London that he saw bin Laden's fighters in camps in Iraq in 1997. At the time, Mohammed was a colonel in Saddam's Fedayeen. He described an encounter at Salman Pak, the training facility southeast of Baghdad. At that vast compound run by Iraqi intelligence, Muslim militants trained to hijack planes with knives -- on a full-size Boeing 707. Col. Mohammed recalls his first visit to Salman Pak this way: "We were met by Colonel Jamil Kamil, the camp manager, and Major Ali Hawas. I noticed that a lot of people were queuing for food. (The major) said to me: 'You'll have nothing to do with these people. They are Osama bin Laden's group and the PKK and Mojahedin-e Khalq.'"

          * In 1998, Abbas al-Janabi, a longtime aide to Saddam's son Uday, defected to the West. At the time, he repeatedly told reporters that there was a direct connection between Iraq and al Qaeda.

          *The Sunday Times found a Saddam loyalist in a Kurdish prison who claims to have been Dr. Zawahiri's bodyguard during his 1992 visit with Saddam in Baghdad. Dr. Zawahiri was a close associate of bin Laden at the time and was present at the founding of al Qaeda in 1989.

          * Following the defeat of the Taliban, almost two dozen bin Laden associates "converged on Baghdad and established a base of operations there," Mr. Powell told the United Nations in February 2003. From their Baghdad base, the secretary said, they supervised the movement of men, materiel and money for al Qaeda's global network.

          * In 2001, an al Qaeda member "bragged that the situation in Iraq was 'good,'" according to intelligence made public by Mr. Powell.

          * That same year, Saudi Arabian border guards arrested two al Qaeda members entering the kingdom from Iraq.

          * Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi oversaw an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, Mr. Powell told the United Nations. His specialty was poisons. Wounded in fighting with U.S. forces, he sought medical treatment in Baghdad in May 2002. When Zarqawi recovered, he restarted a training camp in northern Iraq. Zarqawi's Iraq cell was later tied to the October 2002 murder of Lawrence Foley, an official of the U.S. Agency for International Development, in Amman, Jordan. The captured assassin confessed that he received orders and funds from Zarqawi's cell in Iraq, Mr. Powell said. His accomplice escaped to Iraq.

          *Zarqawi met with military chief of al Qaeda, Mohammed Ibrahim Makwai (aka Saif al-Adel) in Iran in February 2003, according to intelligence sources cited by the Washington Post.

          * Mohammad Atef, the head of al Qaeda's military wing until the U.S. killed him in Afghanistan in November 2001, told a senior al Qaeda member now in U.S. custody that the terror network needed labs outside of Afghanistan to manufacture chemical weapons, Mr. Powell said. "Where did they go, where did they look?" said the secretary. "They went to Iraq."

          * Abu Abdullah al-Iraqi was sent to Iraq by bin Laden to purchase poison gases several times between 1997 and 2000. He called his relationship with Saddam's regime "successful," Mr. Powell told the United Nations.

          * Mohamed Mansour Shahab, a smuggler hired by Iraq to transport weapons to bin Laden in Afghanistan, was arrested by anti-Hussein Kurdish forces in May, 2000. He later told his story to American intelligence and a reporter for the New Yorker magazine.

          * Documents found among the debris of the Iraqi Intelligence Center show that Baghdad funded the Allied Democratic Forces, a Ugandan terror group led by an Islamist cleric linked to bin Laden. According to a London's Daily Telegraph, the organization offered to recruit "youth to train for the jihad" at a "headquarters for international holy warrior network" to be established in Baghdad.

          * Mullah Melan Krekar, ran a terror group (the Ansar al-Islam) linked to both bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Mr. Krekar admitted to a Kurdish newspaper that he met bin Laden in Afghanistan and other senior al Qaeda officials. His acknowledged meetings with bin Laden go back to 1988. When he organized Ansar al Islam in 2001 to conduct suicide attacks on Americans, "three bin Laden operatives showed up with a gift of $300,000 'to undertake jihad,'" Newsday reported. Mr. Krekar is now in custody in the Netherlands. His group operated in portion of northern Iraq loyal to Saddam Hussein -- and attacked independent Kurdish groups hostile to Saddam. A spokesman for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan told a United Press International correspondent that Mr. Krekar's group was funded by "Saddam Hussein's regime in Baghdad."

          * After October 2001, hundreds of al Qaeda fighters are believed to have holed up in the Ansar al-Islam's strongholds inside northern Iraq.

          Some skeptics dismiss the emerging evidence of a longstanding link between Iraq and al Qaeda by contending that Saddam ran a secular dictatorship hated by Islamists like bin Laden.

          In fact, there are plenty of "Stalin-Roosevelt" partnerships between international terrorists and Muslim dictators. Saddam and bin Laden had common enemies, common purposes and interlocking needs. They shared a powerful hate for America and the Saudi royal family. They both saw the Gulf War as a turning point. Saddam suffered a crushing defeat which he had repeatedly vowed to avenge. Bin Laden regards the U.S. as guilty of war crimes against Iraqis and believes that non-Muslims shouldn't have military bases on the holy sands of Arabia. Al Qaeda's avowed goal for the past ten years has been the removal of American forces from Saudi Arabia, where they stood in harm's way solely to contain Saddam.
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          • #6
            Re: Operation Iraqi Liberation - OIL

            Originally posted by Kerostasis
            You are exactly correct. Iraqi Oil exports have actually gone DOWN since we invaded, and the US has actually had to ship Oil INTO Iraq to help stabilize their economy in the months after the fall of Baghdad, when terror strikes prevented their own oil fields from functioning.

            Considering all of this was easily predictable before the war, its honestly amazing to me to hear anyone still holding out the tired old line that "we invaded Iraq to control its oil."
            I agree.

            And in fact I remember some arguments about who should get all the sweet crude from Iraq. Some argued that those who did not participate in the invasion should not get any of it. Spoils of war and all that.

            Boy those where stupid disputes! Any sane person could have seen that the chaos resulting from our invasion would actually reduce any oil production and send the whole reagion into a tail spin.

            What was the administration thinking?
            Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
            - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
            - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
            - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
            - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
            - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
            - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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            • #7
              Re: Operation Iraqi Liberation - OIL

              The oil argument never really held water, and certainly doesn't now because its painfully obvious that the world's oil situation will not benefit from Iraqi supplies for decades to come. Oil may very well have been a long-term corollary reason for Iraq's strategic importance, but it is far from the top of the list. Furthermore, research seems to indicate that conflict (especially uncertainty) has a negative effect on oil markets.

              Bush's team advocated (and started) the war for the following reasons: Saddam was a dictator who could not be trusted, he had weapons of mass destruction, he was a terrorist sympathizer (at least with Hezbollah and the PLO), and his army was defeatable (a key difference between N. Korea or Iran). These reasons were bolstered by intelligence that supported them (some of it uncertain) in the form of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq. There is much debate over the history and viability of that estimate, as some of the intelligence turned out to be completely false. None the less, that was the primary manisfestation of the intelligence and logic that brought America to war in Iraq. Oil did not factor in to the official equation.

              Politically, I believe the war is what gave Bush a second term in 2004, and I believe his political advisors knew this all along and therefore encouraged it as good policy. I am not saying that this was a primary reason for going to war, however it certainly factors in higher than the oil question. Presidents typically prefer to be elected to a second term, and wartime presidents have a significant advantage on 2nd term elections. If you recall the manner in which the Bush campaign was carried out (such as Cheney claiming a Kerry win will result in more terrorist attacks on the US), this method is painfully clear.

              Edit/addon - It is important to note that the reconstruction of Iraq is intended to be funded by their oil : http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=4983&sequence=0. This is, of course, after America fronts the money to get everything started. None the less, this was part of the plan all along - that Iraq would be able to build its own finances using oil reserves. Had this option not been available, the US may not have had the confidence in pulling the rug out from underneath the country. So, yes, oil does certainly have strategic importance here, but was not the reason for going to war.
              Last edited by Mosely; 07-13-2006, 11:45 AM.

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              • #8
                Re: Operation Iraqi Liberation - OIL

                Originally posted by AMosely
                Politically, I believe the war is what gave Bush a second term in 2004, and I believe his political advisors knew this all along and therefore encouraged it as good policy. I am not saying that this was a primary reason for going to war, however it certainly factors in higher than the oil question. Presidents typically prefer to be elected to a second term, and wartime presidents have a significant advantage on 2nd term elections. If you recall the manner in which the Bush campaign was carried out (such as Cheney claiming a Kerry win will result in more terrorist attacks on the US), this method is painfully clear.
                This argument completely neglects 9/11. While many may disagree about the strategic conections between 9/11, the GWOT, and the Iraq war, there's little question that President Bush made those connections and I think that drove his decision to invade Iraq.

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                • #9
                  Re: Operation Iraqi Liberation - OIL

                  As has been brought up before in several threads, the roots of the justification for the Iraq War can be found in the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and others had been lobbying (as part of this activist group) since the mid-90s for an invasion almost exactly to scale with what eventually happened in 2003. Their reasoning runs the gamut of neocon talking points - Saddam is a threat to mid-east stability, we should have got him in 1992, we need independent bases in the region to put military pressure on Iran and Syria, the US will need an inroad into the Caspian oil fields to prevent China from monopolizing the market, a show of force will pacify the Islamists, we need to demonstrate (again) the might of the American military after the failure of Vietnam, etc.
                  In game handle: Steel Scion
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                  • #10
                    Re: Operation Iraqi Liberation - OIL

                    Yeah I'm sure those sentiments were still in effect on 9/12, but the events of 9/11 "shifted the paradigm". I don't think 9/11 offered the opportunity to strike so much as it threw the arguments for and against leaving SH alone into more stark contrast and created a sense of urgency.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Operation Iraqi Liberation - OIL

                      Originally posted by El_Gringo_Grande
                      Iraq is a country because of oil.
                      Nevermind the fact that it's the birthplace of civilization?
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                      • #12
                        Re: Operation Iraqi Liberation - OIL

                        Iraq is a country because the Ottoman Empire was on the losing side in WWI.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Operation Iraqi Liberation - OIL

                          Originally posted by leejo
                          This argument completely neglects 9/11. While many may disagree about the strategic conections between 9/11, the GWOT, and the Iraq war, there's little question that President Bush made those connections and I think that drove his decision to invade Iraq.
                          That's true, Bush did make those connections with regard to GWOT. I seriously doubt he would have elected to invade Iraq had 9/11 not happened. I didn't list 9/11 as a reason, though, because it wasn't - it was a catalyst.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Operation Iraqi Liberation - OIL

                            I hear you, but I don't think you can have a discussion about the reasons for invading Iraq and leave 9/11 out of the discussion. It may not have been sufficient to justify the invasion, but it was a necessary precedent short of some further SH atrocity. After 9/11 SH had to go (as do a few others).

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                            • #15
                              Re: Operation Iraqi Liberation - OIL

                              9/11 simply scared the crap out of people enough that they went along with whatever plan Cheney had been promoting for years before. 9/11 changed nothing in terms of the strategic factors surrounding Iraq.
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