Did we go to Iraq for oil?

Question: Did we go to Iraq for oil?

Michael Klare: Well, first of all I think that the war in Iraq that began 2003 is a continuation of the war that began really on August 2nd 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait and President Bush Senior at that time said that the presence of Iraqi forces in Kuwait post a threat to Saudi Arabia in the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf and this was strategic threat to America's vital interests in accordance with the Carter doctrine of 1980, which says at anytime like hostile power threatens to flow of oil from the Persian gulf that is a threat to America’s vital interests, we will respond with military force if need be and when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait that is exactly what he said and so we are going to respond. Now, at the conclusion of that first Persian Gulf War, President Bush the elder said “Well, we not going to invade Iraq, we are going to bring down Saddam Hussein through economic warfare.” The sanctions regime that continued under President Clinton, but he made clear and President Clinton made clear that the purpose of those economic sanctions was regime change in Baghdad to get rid of this potential threat to the security, the stability of the entire region and the stability of the entire region was crucial, because of the importance of the flow of oil from the gulf to the rest of the world. Not just Iraq's oil, but the entire region. The current President Bush decided in 2002 that economic sanctions were failing in their intended mission to eliminate Saddam Hussein and thereby ensure the security of the oil flow from the Persian Gulf and that it would be necessary to resume the conflict where it had ended on February 1st 1991, on the Kuwait boarder with Iraq. That is the way I interpreted that the war of 2003 is really a continuation of the war of 1991, with the same purpose to eliminate the threat of Saddam Hussein posed to the safety of the entire region and its oil flow in accordance with the Carter doctrine.

Question: If we went there for oil, is that okay?

Michael Klare:
Well, I think it is not okay in the sense that we have become addicted to foreign oil as a diversion from the essential task of freeing ourselves from dependents on petroleum, number one. Number two, I think that we delude ourselves into thinking that military force can ensure the protection of oil and I think that the lesson of the current war in Iraq is that military force does not ensure the safety of oil. In fact it has the opposite effect, it makes the threat greater not lesser and that we are paying an extraordinarily high cost in human lives and in dollars, I mean $3 trillion we are speaking now to protect oil, if that was added as attacks to the price of gasoline, now we would be paying two times as much of the pump for the gasoline that we pay and I just think that this is scandalize as well as being moral.

Question: What happened to Iraq’s oil?

Michael Klare:
Well, as I say I don’t believe that the war in Iraq is about Iraq’s oil per say, it is about the safety of the flow from the entire region. So, President Bush could argue and he is hinted at this, he know that by attacking Saddam Hussein we have made the regions safer and in fact oil continues to flow from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, all this time, so he could claim that we have seen a benefit from this, but the cost to American tax payers of this oil has been humongous.

Recorded: 3/14/08


And if we did, is that okay?

Adam Gopnik on the rhinoceros of liberalism vs. the unicorns of everything else

Torn between absolutism on the left and the right, classical liberalism—with its core values of compassion and incremental progress whereby the once-radical becomes the mainstream—is in need of a good defense. And Adam Gopnik is its lawyer.

Think Again Podcasts
  • Liberalism as "radical pragmatism"
  • Intersectionality and civic discourse
  • How "a thousand small sanities" tackled drunk driving, normalized gay marriage, and could control gun violence
Keep reading Show less

Why the south of Westeros is the north of Ireland

As Game of Thrones ends, a revealing resolution to its perplexing geography.

Image: YouTube / Doosh
Strange Maps
  • The fantasy world of Game of Thrones was inspired by real places and events.
  • But the map of Westeros is a good example of the perplexing relation between fantasy and reality.
  • Like Britain, it has a Wall in the North, but the map only really clicks into place if you add Ireland.
Keep reading Show less

Fascism and conspiracy theories: The symptoms of broken communication

The lost practice of face-to-face communication has made the world a more extreme place.

  • The world was saner when we spoke face-to-face, argues John Cameron Mitchell. Not looking someone in the eye when you talk to them raises the potential for miscommunication and conflict.
  • Social media has been an incredible force for activism and human rights, but it's also negatively affected our relationship with the media. We are now bombarded 24/7 with news that either drives us to anger or apathy.
  • Sitting behind a screen makes polarization worse, and polarization is fertile ground for conspiracy theories and fascism, which Cameron describes as irrationally blaming someone else for your problems.
Keep reading Show less