Monday, March 26, 2007

Responses to War for No Oil Thread

Here are responses listmembers made to Xymphora's blog and to my comments on the topic of War for No Oil.
(This document will be posted on Bleier's Blog. )
For the original blog entry by Ronald,

SF quotes Ronald

Xymphora speaks of Leninist academics buying into the war for oil nonsense as he puts it (and I agree). Is he thinking of Chomsky, a leader of the war for oil crowd?
SF wrote:

Chomsky has been a long time critic of Leninism, and Marxism in general. He considers himself an
But I don't think there are Leninists professors in US. In the UK several Trotskyists are in academia.
US Trotskyists, including ISO which has a fair number of college student as members, is of course proponent of war- for- oil theory. Their magazine ISR often contains interviews with Chomsky.
The motives of the architects of the war (except for Cheney) have been expressed in their writings--it had to nothing to do with oil.
"there’s no oil to get or control, and the war is the reason the oil is unavailable, and will be unavailable for the foreseeable future."
Yes there would be oil if there was stability. That may have been a factor for Cheney, whose meetings with the oil companies are still classified--and will remain so. For most the war was for Empire and Israel, for Bush it was to prove he was more of a man than his Daddy, and for Cheney--we don't know. As the man is completely delusional, or else incapable of ever telling the truth, or both, we never will know/
SF quotes Ronald

Most leftists I know, academics, many of them, come to think of it, are tied to the notion that US militarism must have some self serving imperialist motive. I recall a Marxist friend of mine arguing decades ago that we were fighting in Vietnam to control Vietnamese offshore oil. For some reason he couldn't understand that Nixon like Cheney today was fighting AGAINST the self interest of the US, or Empire, or any conceivable positive national interest other than the pathological satisfaction of directing US power against a potentially defeatable enemy. The only reason Nixon wasn't Cheney is that he was so 20th Century.

Gabriel wrote:

Except for the "small detail" the oil embargo was failing not with small leaks, but was losing international support and was heading for defeat at the U.N. And except for the other fact that the oil embargo was making no money for the armament industry, which was in deep shit, and except for the other fact that the U.S, economy was about to enter a depression in 2002-3 as a result of the collapse of the NASDAQ, and there was an urgent need for deficit spending.

The theory is not Palast's. He is just the only well known journalist who actually understand economics and pays attention to arguments within the radical economics discourse, probably because he is a former accountant with a degree in economics.

Why would the Americans want to spend a trillion or two dollars to accomplish what they could have done for a tiny fraction of that (not to mention the relatively unimportant fact that no Americans would have died)?

This is just an example of why Xymphora has no clue what he is talking about. American lives are and have always be cheap. And the government is not a household. Its "expenses" are not losses. Most often they are desirable in themselves for both fiscal and corporate welfare reasons.



Alex wrote:

Xymphora is right on in many things but not this one.
The double pejorative: Leninist Academics is a crude caricature.
While Chomsky may talk about imperialism, he hardly is a Leninist.
First of all he fails to understand that modern imperialism involves the growth pains of huge monopolies. A process which in Lenin's time took the form of wars between groups of finance capitalists using nation states to either protect or reshuffle the terms of the deals that divided the economic territory of the world. Lenin believed that the dynamic of uneven economic development would constantly keep the war pots boiling, as war was the final arbitrator of international economic competition. Lenin argued that the bankers and not the industrialists were calling the shots, as they controlled the huge capital sums necessary to compete in a war between monopolies. His famous quote of Clausewitz was peace was merely a truce between wars...
In contrast Chomsky argues imperialism is a policy of corporations, (even though finance capital controls corporate policy). The crude Marxists argue that political institutions like the Israeli lobby are dwarfed or are subordinate to corporate power. They as well as Chomsky fail to see what is right in front of their eyes. The simple fact is that wealthy Jews thru their connections to the Israeli lobby
(Xymphora rightly notes this), have great influence if not control over the policies of not only the US but also the Israeli government.

Pseudo Marxists are mechanical in their analysis of the relation between the lobby and US policy. They claim Israel is an imperial watch dog. But if they were real Marxists they would be aware of the reciprocal nature of relations. They would look for and see that Israel seeks to and does define by means of the lobby, what the US interests are in the middle east.
Consider the fact that the neocons sold the Iraq war to a white house that they had intellectual control over. Any objections from oil companies about the Iraqi war...(to the effect that destabilizing the Mideast is not in their interest) was dampened by neocon promises that Iraqi oil could be used to drown OPEC and tame Russia, with things returning to the good old days of "before nationalization." Its worth noting that the oil companies kept a low profile in the beginning of the war, but when the war went south they sought to wrench control from the neocons by means of groups like Baker-Hamilton. But the bigger prize for monopolists seeking to redraw the map of the Mideast was and is taking control of not only oil production but also distribution. And in whatever form of agreement that comes out of the struggles of the Mideast, they will seek to either protect or expand on whatever advantage they have . , Marxists as well as everyone else should keep their eye on whatever role the wealthy Jewish and non Jewish high-rollers have in this game.

What is this but the Leninist thesis taking form in our times....?
It may not be to the liking of pseudo-Marxists, but so be it.

John wrote:

Hi Ronald,

I think the theory that best fits the facts about why the American ruling class is waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan and possibly Iran is that the War on Terror is primarily an Orwellian strategy of social control--control of the domestic working class in the U.S./U.K, and as well as control of the working class throughout the world. The War on Terror plays the same role in this regard as the old Cold War between Capitalism and Communism. The War on Terror makes people choose sides in a framework where both of the available choices are anti-working class: U.S. rulers and pro-U.S. governments around the world, one side, versus "Anti-U.S." rulers and governments that are ALSO anti-working class, like the Iranian government, on the other side. Even anti-working class governments like the German government get increased public support by standing up to the U.S. (or at least appearing to do so.) Elite ruling classes of the world have always appreciated the value of polarizing the world's people along NON-class lines, as the great wars (WWI, WWII, Cold War) have done in the past and the War on Terror does today.For all of the dangers that these wars entail for ruling elites, they wage them because they are MORE afraid of the development of revolutionary pro-working class and anti-elite movements that would occur were it not for these wars that put such movements on the defensive with the stigma that they are "unpatriotic."


T wrote (1st of 3)


Before you send this around all over the web with your comments attached, I’d like to help you.

Because I want to know WHAT in the argument (extremely basic argument with no facts and no supporting data) gives you any evidence whatsoever that there “is no Iraqi oil”.

Are you nuts?! (Sorry to be rude, but I’m stumped as to what on earth makes you believe this!)

Let me remind you that Greg Palast has a lot of exposure, and he’s been so wrong so many times. Certainly everything he’s written about Saudi Arabia is dead wrong and laughable. He just endorsed John Perkins’ book “Economics of a Hit Man”, which is so shallow, so void of any supporting facts at al, and almost no sources. He put his name to that?? I remember at a dinner with him in 2003, he was certain that Dick Gephardt would be the President of the US in 2004. I think I chalked Palast off at that point.

In this piece you attach, you write more in the prologue that the actual body itself. I was waiting for the bombshell...the proof that there is no Iraqi oil.... That the US wanted to REMOVE Iraqi oil from the world supply?? Why would they or anyone want to do that?

Do you know how much oil is in the world market? Produced? Extracted? Sold? Exported? For how much? To whom? How much Strategic Reserves are in the US? Why they are there? When they were originally created, and why? What happened in the 73 crisis? The oil embargo then? The oil embargo of 1979-80? The Gulf War oil crisis?

What effect would it have had, do you think, if the US had forced the oil embargo? Was there a shortage of oil in 2001? 2002? 2003?

To remove Iraqi oil from the market to force up pricing is absurd; has Palast forgotten OPEC and non OPEC countries who make the decisions? The US may control the UN and IMF and World Bank, but they do not control OPEC and never will.

What evidence anywhere to suggest that there is no Iraqi oil?

Honestly Ronald, without a lick of data, this has zero standing.


T wrote: (2nd of 3)


Just read Palast’s piece; see my comments.

>> Xymphora, a Canadian based blogger, to explain why the theory that preventing Iraqi oil from coming to market also is bogus. It's clear as he writes, that the Iraq war was NOT a war for oil, and the war, and the Zionist lobby's previous induced sanctions regime is the reason that there's relatively little oil coming from Iran and Iraq. <<

If the oil is marginal before and after the invasion, the markets weren’t affected that greatly correct? Does the world, however, need more oil? Is demand growing?

>> Xymphora speaks of Leninist academics buying into the war for oil nonsense as he puts it (and I agree). Is he thinking of Chomsky, a leader of the war for oil crowd? Most leftists I know, academics, many of them, come to think of it, are tied to the notion that US militarism must have some self serving imperialist motive. <<

Probably because it’s the academics who continually try and learn and learn and learn, increasing their intelligence on the subject, pouring through the data and sources. As opposed to relying upon blogs.

You’re going to hate my book when it comes out then!

>> I recall a Marxist friend of mine arguing decades ago that we were fighting in Vietnam to control Vietnamese offshore oil. <<

Your Marxist friend was correct. There was a division of the water space off Vietnam’s coast, prior to the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Out of several divisions (I can’t recall how many, perhaps 8 or 9) spread between the different countries, to secure any oil that was ever discovered, only one spot that had been bid upon and won came up with oil and gas. Gosh....which one? The US. It had conducted secret studies based upon a report that was prepared by Herbert Hoover in the 20s (he was a geologist and mining expert before politics), and was certain that oil was to be found. During the bombings, the empty shells were dropped in the water, and no one caught on to the fact that each “splosh” was timed with the oil exploration bomblets. Had no war taken place, those off shore explorations couldn’t have taken place – everyone would have heard.

>> PS. Does anyone know what Xymphora means when he writes: there's no oil to get or control? <<

You said this blogger was smart, so why do you need to ask the question? He didn’t answer it? That’s my point.

>> The way I like to put it: if we wanted control of Iraqi oil, we would have ensured the stability of Saddam's regime. Is that all Xymphora means? <<

No. The US was not controlling Iraqi oil at all. Iraq’s contracts were with Russia, China, Japan, etc. The US was furious – they’d been cut out. If they were already controlling, goes your argument, no need to attack Iraq. It was already happening.

And how do you explain the PSA’s in place now?

No, it was not. Sanctions does not equate control.

>> The ‘war for oil’ crowd is braying, with the draft Iraqi oil law being the latest supposed evidence of the oily background to war. This is nonsense, of course, <<

Then I’m one of those braying. So why, I ask, is it nonsense? Evidence?

>> Palast...recognizes the obvious (something the oil companies knew prior to the war, but something no one else will admit): there’s no oil to get or control, and the war is the reason the oil is unavailable, and will be unavailable for the foreseeable future. <<

Has anyone here ever once read any oil industry report? Do you know production? Export? Import? Has anyone even looked at the reports on Iraqi oil “flow” in particular? Apparently not.

>> the point of the war was to remove Iraqi oil from the world supply, thus leading to increased oil prices and massive oil company profits. <<

The biggest error in this argument is that oil is a black and white industry. No oil from X = less oil for ABC. Ergo prices shoot through the roof, plummet, all depending upon who removes or supplies. No no no. Look in to the Sixth Oil Shortage in the 1980s.... OPEC had to – they thought – carry the weight of the exports. But no one counted on the massive influx to the world market by the non OPEC countries, and the glut of oil suddenly sent prices plummeting. OPEC had to cut it’s prices, drastically. At one point gas stations in the US were selling gasoline at $0 per gallon...I kid you not.

Since the 1980s, the peak oil theorists (you must subscribe to this in order to follow through that the oil companies want to horde and control; any idea how much that costs and damages them?) insist that Hubbert’s Theory remains. They refuse to account for all the variables: technology, discovery, chemical additives to the pipelines that increase quality and output, etc.

I know this for a personal fact: I know someone who invented the technology that is sold to Schlumberger et al, who in turn sell that technology (increased extraction) to the exporting countries. My informant confirmed the actual numbers to me very recently, vis a vis possible extraction in the near future, given his fibre-optic technology. I am not about to release those numbers publicly – for the book. But mind blowing.

>> Iraq was already under a largely successful oil embargo. ... Republicans were making money off the illegal oil trade, and American allies Turkey and Jordan requested that the oil be allowed to continue to be trucked over their respective borders. <<

Democrats too. See 9/11 Commissioners bios.

Your fundamental mistake is assuming that all things being equal, there is no increase in world demand.

>> stay off the world market. Why would the Americans want to spend a trillion or two dollars to accomplish what they could have done for a tiny fraction <<

And if you want to equate Nixon and Cheney, look at Reagan. Why was the world flooded with oil during his time?

Those Leninist Marxist academics know. We read. We learn. “Sweating”. But that’s technical oil talk....


T (3rd of 3)


I get absolutely furious when people assume something based on a hunch, and they take it to the web all frillied up!!! Not you, X.

If you send your reply back to the list, you’ll get others weighing in. There are, believe it or not, a couple of oil people from the Gulf there, who read because they are genuinely interested. They can answer perhaps, but more likely they’ll email me privately and pass on. They won’t want to be associated (one is a head of Aramco).

Without supporting data on anything, we must – like it or not – toss it. That goes for 9/11 theories, and all the rest.

One point I want to make privately: I went public on the debacle that an invasion of Iraq would cause internally and for the US, in 2002. Before anyone else did. Even academics I trusted weren’t as opposed. I insisted that there would be a civil war. I lost syndication for that statement; I have the termination email still. I keep it because now, when so few said it was the consequence, I’m vindicated.

I remember Chris Matthews on Hardball being on the fence, and not in favour of Iraq, not anti though either. I sent the termination letter I received to him, and made clear that one person here insists it will be a civil attention. He did nothing, said little, took no firm position. A year later he said on air – I was in the US at the time - “Why didn’t anyone say there would be a civil war? Where were all the academics?!”. I was furious, and re-sent the termination email with a reminder. No acknowledgement. Fine.

It is about oil, period. Not because people like oil and need oil. It’s because oil is more precious than gold, in the sense of value. We are in the Oil Age. We cannot do without it. Al Gore and global warming aside, we need oil to make every single thing we use and buy and trade and need for energy. Plastics? Oil based. Medicine? Oil based. Want to switch to hydro-electric cars? No problem – the batteries to charge them up? Oil based. Coal production plants as alternatives? No problem...oil powered. And so it goes.

Now, go to the Zionists: how do they get rich off this war? It’s not about love of Israel alone; why would Richard Perle be sucking up to the Saudis for millions before the war? You knew about that, I assume. They’ll take any money from anywhere.

They make their money by playing both sides: the US and Israel, loyalty to both and neither. The latter is because at the end of the day, like the Nazis post WWII, they would just escape and run to Bermuda or wherever if they needed. They would NOT go to Israel. Too dangerous, eh?

They make their money from military contracts and kickbacks. How do you make sure those keep increasing? Create war. Play up the Israel victim issue.

Cheney loves them....they are the public voice of his inner demon. They are being 100% used by Cheney and Bush. Most don’t realize it; Perle assuredly does. Gaffney? No. Adelman? Maybe. Feith? Doubtful. As long as they keep selling the war as terror and a threat to Israel, the military machine pumps. To fuel those, you need oil. Back to square one.

Oil pumps the military machines; the military machines cannot be retired or else the neocons don’t get paid. Ergo, the marriage between Cheney and they is perfect. But Cheney (and the Halliburton stats Palast cites are wrong) wants oil domination because it’s the most expensive currency in the world, changes markets, changes politics, controls the entire world.

Sadly, people don’t delve in to the oil stats and history. It’s waaaaaaay too boring; trust me!! I hate hate hate it! But I’ve no choice. I spent a week in the Eastern Province recently with the top oil ministers (Saudi, not American or foreign) and got all the off the record information on this. And it’s stunning.

So, this is all off the list obviously.

But I’d like you to respond on the list, so that others who disagree with me can weigh in, if they can. Might clear up a lot. Won’t change your mind, but at least you’ll have more data and solid opinion.


Let me clarify something regarding the Leninist academic theory:

People are becoming dangerously close to blindness when labelling in plurals. Where is the difference in the leap from “we object to Israeli policies” to “Anti-Semite! Self-Hating Jew!”, and “the war is for oil, no buts about it” to “Leninist leftist apologist!”

What’s going on with people?

Ray McGovern, ex CIA, has publicly been quite clear that it’s always been about oil. He’s a large figure in the 9/11 “inside job” theory. He’s done a great job in going out there and calling the shots, using his inside knowledge. Are people suggesting the guy is now a Bolshevik? What about Larry Johnson, the CIA agent who testified in Congress that he’s a Republican but this war is plain wrong, and spelled out his theories publicly? Now he’s a Leninist?

And from the academic side of the equation, what about the strongest proponents of the war-for-oil crowd? I’m talking none other than Pulitzer Prize winning author Daniel Yergin, CEO of Cambridge Energy Research Associates. Hardly left wing at all. His book, “The Prize”, written 15 years ago and weighing in at 900 pages – meaning very few people have ever read it (I have, every word, cover to cover) - clearly and unequivocally takes apart all the wars since the discovery of oil and connects those dots. I am firmly in his camp on the “no peak oil theory” notion; and it’s the Peak Oil proponents, be very aware, who advised and pressured Cheney in to starting these wars in the first place, confirming that the sky was falling, run for your life. Like they did in 1956, 1970, 1973, 1980, and ever since. They are plain wrong because the stats and facts speak to truth. But...since when did Cheney believe in facts?

Given all this, that people are jumping up and down to say, “don’t you get it? Cheney is beyond uber maniacal... He knows that the membership criterion for being the “in club” neoconservative is the Machiavellian sense of hyper intelligence, leaving all other peons in the dust. The rest of the world is simply too stupid to get what ‘we’ are saying, so lying is a Good Thing. That’s the neocon mantra. Cheney has taken that and used it masterfully, convincing Bush that in reality, let them do all the shouting and screaming about a “war on terror” while we get to work on the Big Picture: war for resources. “George my son, unless we have control of those resources we don’t have money for the military plan we have established, handily provided to us by Netanyahu and Perle (so our hands are clean), and we can’t keep the cogs churning. They’re happy because of their commissions, but George son, we have POWER. Let them spin on their axis and cry for Israel...great excuse. But never ever let them know about our Energy Policy, and always deny. Because I am, in the end, smarter and far more cunning than Machiavelli ever dreamt of.”

Mark my words, every leader in the Middle East has a copy of Machiavelli's “Little Prince” and knows exactly what Bush et al is doing. You see placating on the news; that’s not what happened behind the scenes.

So the “only for Israel” theory is totally missing the larger picture. The “Leninist academics” is idiotic and knocks out the right wing oil experts, intelligence agents, and those who still have some measure of personal principle.

It is never “your believe this so ergo you are that.” Do not fall in to that glaring trap....

I want to share something prescient, published in 1992, and almost always overlooked in all the arguments in public about the political situation we are in today.

[Oil] enables nations to accumulate wealth, to fuel their economies, to produce and sell goods and services, to build, to buy, to move, to acquire and manufacture weapons, to win wars. ... Joseph Stanislaw called the “new world oil order” the aftermath of the Gulf Crisis…

[I]n the 1990s the environmental debate [will emerge] ... Energy is the basis of industrial society.

And of all energy sources oil has loomed the largest. It will be remarkable if we reach the end of this century without the pre-eminence of oil being tested or challenged yet again by political, technical, economic or environmental crises – perhaps foreseen, perhaps coming by surprise. Nothing less should be expected in a century that has been so profoundly shared and affected by oil. For ours is a century in which every facet of our civilization has been transformed by the modern and mesmerising alchemy of petroleum.
Daniel Yergin, “The Prize” (Free Press; New York), 1992


For the original blog entry by Ronald ,

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