Friday, June 27, 2008

No Blood for Oil?

A friend and reader sent this piece from Tom Dispatch yesterday. It pretty much says it.

No Blood for... er... um...The Oil
Majors Take a Little Sip of the Ol' Patrimony
By Tom Engelhardt

More than five years after the invasion of Iraq -- just in case you were still waiting -- the oil giants finally hit the front page

Last Thursday, the New York Times led with this headline: "Deals with Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back." (Subhead: "Rare No-bid Contracts, A Foothold for Western Companies Seeking Future Rewards.")

And who were these four giants? ExxonMobil, Shell, the French company Total and BP (formerly British Petroleum).

What these firms got were mere "service contracts" -- as in servicing Iraq's oil fields -- not the sort of "production sharing agreements" that President Bush's representatives in Baghdad once dreamed of, and that would have left them in charge of those fields. Still, it was clearly a start.

The Times reporter, Andrew E. Kramer, added this little detail: "[The contracts] include a provision that could allow the companies to reap large profits at today's prices: the [Iraqi oil] ministry and companies are negotiating payment in oil rather than cash."

And here's the curious thing, exactly these four giants "lost their concessions in Iraq" back in 1972 when that country's oil was nationalized. Hmmm.

You'd think the Times might have slapped some kind of "we wuz wrong" label on the piece. I mean, remember when the mainstream media, the Times included, seconded the idea that Bush's invasion, whatever it was about -- weapons of mass destruction or terrorism or liberation or democracy or bad dictators or… well, no matter -- you could be sure of one thing: it wasn't about oil.

"Oil" wasn't a word worth including in serious reporting on the invasion and its aftermath, not even after it turned out that American troops entering Baghdad guarded only the Oil and Interior Ministries, while the rest of the city was looted.

Even then -- and ever after -- the idea that the Bush administration might have the slightest urge to control Iraqi oil (or the flow of Middle Eastern oil via a well-garrisoned Iraq) wasn't worth spending a few paragraphs of valuable newsprint on.

I always thought that, if Iraq's main product had been video games, sometime in the last five years the Times (and other major papers) would have had really tough, thoughtful pieces, asking really tough, thoughtful questions, about the effects of the invasion and ensuing chaos on our children's lives and the like. But oil, well... After all, with global demand for energy on the rise, why would anybody want to invade, conquer, occupy, and garrison a country that, as Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz once observed, "floats on a sea of oil"? (clip)

After all, the only people who thought that oil might have something to do with the invasion of Iraq weren't on the Times staff. They weren't, in fact, in the mainstream at all. And, to put things into context, depending on your estimates, there were only somewhere between 11 million and 30 million of them marching around in the streets of cities and towns all over the planet before the invasion, carrying signs that said ludicrous, easily dismissible things like: "No Blood for Oil," "How did USA's oil get under Iraq's sand?" and "Don't trade lives for oil!"

Let's face it: Among those who counted, they -- with their simpleminded slogans on hand-lettered placards -- just didn't count at all. Not when everyone who was anyone knew that the world was a much, much, much subtler and much, much more complicated place.

No blood for oil?

Sure, it was short and snappy and easy enough to get on a sign, but also about as absurdly reductionist, as unsubtle, as uncomplicated as possible. (clip)

Waving those silly signs, they actually expected bad things to happen.

It didn't seem to matter to them that the President, Vice President, National Security Advisor, and Secretary of Defense assured them no such thing was possible; assured them, in fact, that not to invade would lead to mushroom clouds over American cities and Iraqi unmanned aerial vehicles spraying bio- or chemical weaponry along the east coast of the United States.

Now, with a barrel of crude selling at more than quadruple its prewar price, more than double its price a mere year ago, the oil majors are finally moving in for the… well, let's not say "kill," let's just say that tasty little sip of the ol' patrimony". (more)

Oil closed at over 140.00 a barrel today.

But, it's not the oil.

And it's not about providing media cover for the crimes of the government.

And it's not about a mainstream media that is every bit as guilty of the crime of invading a country for its resources as Cheney and his minions.

And its not about greed.

And its not about power.

But it is about National Security.

Anytime you see those words.

You know what it's about.

It's about fear,

It's about Blood.
But not theirs.

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Blogger M. Simon said...

Wouldn't it be cheaper all around if the oil companies got their oil from American sources?

No Blood For Oil or No Drilling For Oil?

2:29 AM  

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