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September 22, 2004



Circa 1971 I sat amongst my young fellow bankers in London discussing whether or not to go ahead with a novel proposal to lend $50 Million directly to the Government of Yugoslavia. As part of the credit analysis and due diligence procedure they had perused the constitutional documentation of Yugoslavia, specifically concentrating on the language as to how the country would be administered upon Tito's death. The consensus opinion, that has resonated with me ever since, for obvious reasons, can be best illustrated by this concluding statement. “You do know, that when Tito goes, these sons of bitches are going to slaughter each other.”

With utmost certainty, similar discussions were held in Washington outlining the 700-to-1,400-year-old antagonism between Shiite and Sunni, the problems of an autonomous Kurd population and the likelihood that destabilization of Sadaam could easily lead to an Iran-like religious dictatorship. Therefore, with knowledge approaching certainty, that changing the government of Iraq would result in chaos and as military minds emphasized repeatedly, that Sadaam was contained, i.e. no imminent threat, why commence a gigantic occupation?

A simple fear of what Sadaam might do in the future, given that he had invaded a neighbor and attempted to kill President Bush 41’, combined with the anger, fear and nationalism stemming from 911 constitute a strong reason. Perhaps fear and nationalism don’t need concrete reasons, a la the missing ’trio’, WMD’s, nuclear capabilities and terrorist connections. History is replete with warring countries commencing conflicts over fictitious or overblown incidents.

Why did this administration choose this course? If one postulates that coveting Iraq’s oil reserves was a large percentage of the equation, as do many non Americans, then a great number of controversies and oddities relating to the administration’s conduct of foreign policy and war logistics are functionally resolved.

To begin; to prevent Sadaam from destroying the oil fields the occupation had to proceed at the earliest possible moment and be performed with intense speed. I.e. adopt Rummy’s speed doctrine and jettison all thoughts of amassing the 250,000 troops necessary to achieve pacification. Remember, upon exiting Kuwait, Sadaam torched the oil equivalency of a thousand Texan' oil promoter's wildest dreams.

The overriding speed doctrine allows no time for multiple major nation involvement. United Nation’s time consuming voting is forgone.
This ‘at-all-speed’ plan also explains the no-bid procedure for Halliburton. Besides not having the requisite time for bids, Halliburton and Halliburton alone, among U.S. companies, has the combination of size and physical and scientific expertise to take what in this case would be called “command” control of Iraq’s oilfields, pipelines, etc.

At 110,000 employees and $13 Billion in sales (2002’ sales, now almost doubled) Halliburton's only single entity competitor is Schlumberger Ltd., French, pronounced Schlum- ber-zhey, at 77,000 employees and $13 Billion in sales (2002’ sales).

There were pre-war press reports that the administration clearly stated, “ If you pledge troops, you will get in on the reconstruction,” restated as, “No troops, no reconstruction goodies.” In “Imperial Capitalism”, this was the bidding process.

Secrecy. To invade a country for its oil, one needs an oil service brigade or division. The secrecy/confidentiality level, must be absolute, equal to battle plan’ knowledge in time of war. Given the clear and open lines of communication between the administration and Halliburton, seeking alternate resources could only be seen as dangerously counter productive.

Rationale. In a world of peace or in a world of Jihad and beheadings the U.S. needs six million barrels of imported oil per day. If one subscribes to the dictum that there must, absolutely must, be security that these barrels will be available to the U.S. and if the entire Mid East political outlook, considering 911, appears as the proverbial powder keg, then invading Iraq, as in toppling Sadaam, for its petroleum reserves is a Real-Politik no-brainer. Maintaining a ‘special’ friendship with the Saudis is likewise imperative. Upon successful control of the Iraqi petroleum infrastructure by the U.S. and the U.S. alone, such control of the oil’s disposition effectively inures to the U.S. up to 3MM barrels a day and gives the U.S. a ’de facto’ seat at the OPEC Table.

“Mission Accomplished” is totally valid. By going it alone, the U.S. attacked and secured the oil before Sadaam was seemingly even prepared to order the Iraq oil fields rendered inoperable. A ‘tight lipped’ oil’ oriented administration, no United Nations, no bids, no major (excepting U.K.) foreign partners, no amassing of troops needed for peace and stability, “speed is of the essence,” and the oilfields are taken intact.

The time is long past for the Congress and the U.S. electorate to have a say in the decision to commence a war espousing WMD’s, terror connections and a moral mandate to export democracy. However should one concur that the go-it-alone battle plan was created to secure and control Iraq’s oil, then a November vote can reflect agreement or disagreement with this economic self interest decision.

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