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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

9/26/2004

It's about the Oiiiil

Linda McQuaig has a new book out. War, Big Oil and the Fight for the Planetposits the long running line of the left on Iraq - the invasion is about securing oil supplies. Unfortunately the Globe and Mail found a reviewer who bought the line,
The best chapter is near the end, where McQuaig uses direct quotes from high-ranking U.S. government officials, Wall Street oil analysts and even General Anthony C. Zinni, former commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command, which clearly point to oil security as the key driver for a U.S. presence in Iraq and the Middle East. But the Bush administration deftly kept the focus on the search for weapons of mass destruction, deflecting attention away from its lust for oil.

Another piece of evidence provided in the book is a frightening map that was used by U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney's task force on energy. The map depicted Iraq prior to the 2003 attack, showing not towns, cities, bridges or roads, but major oil fields, refineries, tanker terminals and pipelines. Anyone still thinking that the freedom of the Iraqi people was the main concern?
globe and mail
Even a mildly sceptical reviewer would have noticed that Cheney's task force was on, well, energy. So it would be a tad surprising, and more than a little worrying, if their map of Iraq showed the location of schools, hospitals and public parks.

A more diligent reviewer would have spent a moment or two on Google to determine just how dependent the US is on Middle Eastern oil. He would have found that on a six month average ending June 2004, the US got 2,472 thousand barrels of oil per day out of total average imports of 9,927 per day from the Arab Middle East. Most of that from Saudi. Crudely, 25% of imports came from the Middle East. Now, would it make the slightest sense to think that America would risk blood and treasure to secure 25% of its oil imports which, realistically, could be replaced with purchases on the world oil market?

(By comparision,
As of January 2004, France's proven crude oil reserves totaled only 148 million barrels, making the country highly dependent on oil imports. In 2003, France consumed an estimated 2.06 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil, of which 97%, or 1.99 million (bbl/d), was imported. The country's total oil production (including condensate, natural gas liquids and refinery gain) for the year was an estimated 73,100 bbl/d, of which 24,100 bbl/d was crude oil. France imports crude oil primarily from Saudi Arabia and Norway, and to a lesser extent, from United Kingdom, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, and Russia.
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