By Rep. Dennis Kucinich
Tuesday 11 March 2003
Alternet Editor's Note: Although Dennis Kucinich was aggressively attacked by Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen for suggesting that the preemptive strike on Iraq was based on oil, the Post refused to print the presidential candidate and Ohio Democrat's response. This was especially frustrating, since the Post editorial stance and balance of editorial page columns have been decidedly pro-war. You can tell the Post how you feel about this omission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is President Bush's war in Iraq about oil? Of course it is. Sometimes, the obvious answer is the right one: Oil is a major factor in the President's march to war, just as oil is a major factor in every aspect of U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf.
What commodity accounts for 83 percent of total exports from the Persian Gulf? What is the U.S. protecting with our permanent deployment of about 25,000 military personnel, 6 fighter squadrons, 6 bomber squadrons, 13 air control and reconnaissance squadrons, one aircraft carrier battle group, and one amphibious ready group based at 11 military installations in the countries of the Persian Gulf? (Note, the disproportionate troop deployments in the Middle East aren't there to protect the people, who constitute only 2 percent of the world population.)
What was Iraq's number one export when the U.S. made an alliance with Saddam Hussein, sold him biological and chemical weapons agents, and then did not object when he gassed his own people?
For what major Iraqi resource has Saddam Hussein denied contracts with the largest U.S. and U.K. multinational companies? (Note, those companies are the #2 (ExxonMobil), #4 (BP-Amoco), #8 (Shell) and #14 (ChevronTexaco) largest companies in the world, and the Bush Administration has been known to listen when large energy corporations speak.)
For what Iraqi resource did French and Russian multinational companies receive lucrative contracts from Saddam Hussein? What valuable commodity does one reprehensible, megalomaniacal tyrant (Saddam Hussein) control that another reprehensible, megalomaniacal tyrant (Kim Chong-il) does not?
How do the White House and State Department plan to pay for a post-Saddam occupation and reconstruction?
The answer to all of these questions is oil, of course. Oil obviously drives U.S. policy in the Middle East. So who can doubt that this war in Iraq concerns oil?
Meanwhile, the justifications the Administration has made for this war can be rather easily dismissed. Contrary to Administration assertions, a war against Iraq will not be in self-defense: Iraq does not pose an imminent threat to the United States. It doesn't have the ability, nor has it ever had the ability, to shoot a missile or send a bomber to harm America. Iraq does not possess nuclear weapons. Furthermore, there is no credible evidence that Iraq had anything to do with the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
No credible link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda has been made. Iraq did not have anything to do with the anthrax-containing letters that killed several Americans.
Contrary to the Administration's portrayal of an Iraqi threat, Iraq is hardly uniquely threatening. Sixteen other countries in the world have or might have nuclear weapons, 25 countries have or might have chemical weapons, 19 other countries have or might have biological weapons, and 16 other countries have or might have missile systems. Yet the Bush Administration is not on the verge of invading them.
Contrary to their denials that this war has anything to do with oil, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle wanted to go to war in Iraq long before they became Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Defense Policy Board. In a 1998 letter they sent to then-President Clinton, they stated "it hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction ... a significant portion of the world's supply of oil will all be put at hazard... The only acceptable strategy is ... to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy."
Does President Bush's war in Iraq concern Iraq's oil? Obviously.
Presidential candidate and Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is the ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations. Visit http://www.kucinich.us/.
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