Featured Column
Week of 8.16.2004
Who's kidding who?
The war over oil
          I wanted to believe President Bush and Vice President Chaney when they took turns telling us that the only reason they wanted to wage war against Iraq was because they knew that Saddam Hussein and his generals had terrible weapons that they were going to use against us Americans. Before we went to war and in the days right after our invasion I prayed that we would find a lonely atomic bomb or an artillery shell with some dangerous bacteria inside. I wanted America to be right – and just.
           What I didn’t want was America to go to war and then have our leaders gulp and say, “Whoops! Sorry, we thought you guys had some big and horrible weapons to destroy us. Well, anyway, we’ll get rid of Saddam while we’re here and the world will be a safer place when we’re done.”
          Did oil have anything to do with us invading Iraq? I didn’t want to believe that it did. I wanted this war to be “clean.” You know, we kill you, you kill us. We’re the good guys and you’re the bad guys. I wanted us to be on the right side. Justice, human rights and good old American values. I know that our enemies hate us Americans, but, then again, you’ve always hated us.
          Could Iraqi oil have had anything to do with us invading Iraq?
           First, let’s take a look at how much oil and gasoline America uses, because it’s a startling amount. In 2003 Americans devoured 8.93 million barrels of gasoline a day (a barrel is equal to 42 gallons). That’s 375 million gallons of gasoline a day. Gasoline usage is expected to rise to 391 million gallons a day this year (2004). This year Americans will use 130 billion gallons of gasoline.
          So, now we know how important oil is to us Americans. 
          Let’s go back in time to just before the Iraq War II. France and Russia had signed a contract with Saddam Hussein to get Iraqi oil. This made the United States and England nervous. After all, geologists believe that Iraq’s oil supply is second only to Saudi Arabia in the world. Oh, yes, the value of the French and Russian oil contracts
were worth more than $20 billion dollars.
          A year before the Iraq War II President Bush said that the United States regards Iraq as a potential military threat – and as a potential military target.
          Now the problem becomes a bit clearer. France and Russia have signed on to get Iraq’s oil, leaving America and England out of the deal. We can see why France and Russia are less concerned about Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi people than they are about the viability of their own oil and manufacturing contracts, because now France and Russia are linked to Iraq by oil contracts, military sales and giant loans.
            If things continued down this road France and Russia would have access to Iraq’s oil and the United States and England would be left out in the cold. So, we go to the United Nation’s Security Council with a recommendation that, for the sake of world peace we all fix this terrible situation in Iraq. Who votes against us – guess who, France and Russia. They don’t want anyone messing with their oil and manufacturing contracts with Iraq – so they veto any action in Iraq that would harm their lucrative oil business.
           As far back as 1973 President Nixon contemplated using military force to seize oil fields in the Middle East during the Arab oil embargo –according to declassified British government documents. Seizure of the oil fields was uppermost in American thinking when the Americans refer to the use of force.
          Many experts believe that Iraq has additional undiscovered oil reserves, which might raise the total well beyond 250 billion barrels and Iraqi oil is of high quality and very inexpensive to produce, making it one of the world’s most profitable oil sources. There is not an oil company in the world that doesn’t have its eye on Iraq.
          The United States ranks first in the corporate oil sector, with England second and France a distant third. It is difficult to ignore the possible relationship of governmental policy with powerful corporate interests.
          Did President Bush and Vice President Chaney choose to invade Iraq to defend America and the world from the weapons of mass destruction that lay in madman Saddam Hussein’s hands? Did we attack Iraq to get even for Saddam’s attempts to kill President Bush’s father? Did we join forces with England to gain hold over Iraq’s valuable oil fields so Americans could slake our 391 million gallon a day gasoline habit?
          Maybe we’ll never know the single reason or multiple reasons for invading Iraq, but my guess is that the Iraqi oil fields played a big part in the decision. Maybe not the only reason, but a damn good one.
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger