[T]he Bush Administration said the war had nothing to do with Iraq's oil. Indeed, in 2002, the State Department stated, and its official newsletter, the Washington Post, repeated, that State's Iraq study group, "does not have oil on its list of issues."
But now, we've learned that, despite protestations to the contrary, Condoleezza Rice held a secret meeting with the former Secretary-General of OPEC, Fadhil Chalabi, an Iraqi, and offered Chalabi the job of Oil Minister for Iraq. (It is well established that the President of the United States may appoint the cabinet ministers of another nation if that appointment is confirmed by the 101st Airborne.)
In all the chest-beating about how the war did badly, no one seems to remember how the war did very, very well -- for Big Oil.
The war has kept Iraq's oil production to 2.1 million barrels a day from pre-war, pre-embargo production of over 4 million barrels. In the oil game, that's a lot to lose. In fact, the loss of Iraq's 2 million barrels a day is equal to the entire planet's reserve production capacity.
In other words, the war has caused a hell of a supply squeeze -- and Big Oil just loves it. Oil today is $57 a barrel versus the $18 a barrel price under Bill "Love-Not-War" Clinton.
Since the launch of Operation Iraqi Liberation, Halliburton stock has tripled to $64 a share -- not, as some believe, because of those Iraq reconstruction contracts -- peanuts for Halliburton. Cheney's former company's main business is "oil services." And, as one oilman complained to me, Cheney's former company has captured a big hunk of the rise in oil prices by jacking up the charges for Halliburton drilling and piping equipment.
But before we shed tears for Big Oil's having to hand Halliburton its slice, let me note that the value of the reserves of the five biggest oil companies more than doubled during the war to $2.36 trillion.
And that was the plan: putting a new floor under the price of oil. I've have that in writing. In 2005, after a two-year battle with the State and Defense Departments, they released to my team at BBC Newsnight the "Options for a Sustainable Iraqi Oil Industry." Now, you might think our government shouldn't be writing a plan for another nation's oil. Well, our government didn't write it, despite the State Department seal on the cover. In fact, we discovered that the 323-page plan was drafted in Houston by oil industry executives and consultants.
The suspicion is that Bush went to war to get Iraq's oil. That's not true. The document, and secret recordings of those in on the scheme, made it clear that the Administration wanted to make certain America did not get the oil. In other words, keep the lid on Iraq's oil production -- and thereby keep the price of oil high.
March 21, 2007
Greg Palast says the war has gone exctly to plan:
Posted by Jaraparilla at 10:30
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