There were a lot of coherent reasons to oppose the Iraq war — it would kill a lot of people, it would empower Iran, it would create a haven for terrorists. But none of these anti-war rationales got much ink compared to that single bumper-sticker slogan: No war for oil. On Google, the phrase “war for oil” gets hundreds of thousands of hits. Most are attached to articles that make the claim — still widely believed in anti-war circles — that the 2003 invasion was part of some sort of grand Cheney-abetted corporatist conspiracy to pad the balance sheets of American oil companies.
What a joke that’s turned out to be — as this front-page report from yesterday’s New York Times makes especially clear:
“Soaring oil prices will leave the Iraqi government with a cumulative budget surplus of as much as $79 billion by year’s end, according to an American federal oversight agency. But Iraq has spent only a minute fraction of that on reconstruction costs, which are now largely borne by the United States. The unspent windfall, which covers surpluses from oil sales since 2005, appears likely to reinforce growing debate about the approximately $48 billion in American taxpayer money devoted to rebuilding Iraq since the American-led invasion. In one comparison, the United States has spent $23.2 billion in the critical areas of security, oil, electricity and water since the 2003 invasion, the report said. But from 2005 through April 2008, Iraq has spent just $3.9 billion on similar services. Over all, the report from the Government Accountability Office estimates, Iraqi oil revenue from 2005 through the end of this year will amount to at least $156 billion.”
Got that? The United States is paying tens of billions to build up Iraq’s infrastructure so that windfall oil profits can be funneled into … the treasury of Iraq’s sovereign government. Too bad “No war to create an increasingly wealthy and stable Iraqi democracy” doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker. firstname.lastname@example.org
Have PoliticalMavens.com delivered to your inbox in a daily digest by clicking here