America is NOT Invading Iraq Only Because of Oil!
This is an interesting rebuttal to the "Its all about Oil" argument about why America wants to invade Iraq. Note, the writer is coming from an *antiwar* not pro-war perspective. He suggests that although the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" issue is of course just a propaganda lie for American aggression, the Oil factor is not the predominant or single factor behind its aggression. Oil is one consideration but America is invading Iraq because "First and foremost, it must be remembered that the U.S. is an ever-growing imperialist power whose goal is essentially world domination."
"Is it, or is it not, for the oil?"
Printed on Wednesday, October 09, 2002 @ 03:00:42 EDT
By Matthew Riemer
YellowTimes.org Columnist (United States)
(YellowTimes.org) - Many a pundit as of late has strapped on their keyboard and, with excruciating logic and detail, made a case for one of the arguments stated in the title of this essay. In fact, there are entire websites essentially dedicated to such matters.
"The U.S. is invading Iraq so they can take control of all the oil. That's the real reason they're going in," we hear from one corner. "It's got nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction or the violation of U.N. resolutions."
The other corner rebuts, "You people are crazy. You're just conspiracy theorists. The U.S. has legitimate reasons for invading Iraq that have nothing to do with oil. You sound paranoid. Not everything is about oil, you know. Give it a rest."
To be honest, it leaves this writer feeling rather incredulous. Do people not realize that decisions can be made for a variety of simultaneous reasons? For example, I'm choosing to eat at this restaurant because it is only a ten-minute drive and they make my favorite baked stuffed shrimp, too. Why this persistent, and mostly misleading, either/or argument?
Let's begin with those who claim that to mention oil is conspiratorial. Obviously, such individuals fall into the category of cynical apologists. There's no reason to believe that the world's dwindling resources are of no concern to the lone superpower and its client states.
Resources and access to them has always been of the utmost concern to imperial powers, and the Middle East happens to be a self-explanatory place to focus such concerns. I don't really even see a reason to refute such foolish arguments as "this has nothing to do with oil," so I'll move on to the only slightly less foolish counterargument.
In addition to the almost propagandistic simplicity of this point, to overly emphasize the "it's all for the oil" argument is to de-emphasize many other equally, if not more, important reasons fueling U.S. involvement and compelling interest in Iraq and the Middle East in general. Such an argument also loses legitimacy as being a liberal cliché. While one shouldn't overly worry about what one's opponents will label them as, it is useful to have sound arguments.
First and foremost, it must be remembered that the U.S. is an ever-growing imperialist power whose goal is essentially world domination. (Why shouldn't it be, it's simply part of the human condition?) Establishing a powerful, well-distributed presence throughout Central Asia and the Middle East is vital for future conflicts. The U.S. will most likely induce "regime change" in at least three of the following countries in the next 15-20 years: Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan (as it outgrows its usefulness).
If oil were truly the sole, dominant reason for the impending war in Iraq, why haven't we seen equal publicity about inevitable and imminent wars in Venezuela, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia? Maybe the reason is that there's no sensational excuse like Weapons of Mass Destruction, but the real reason is strategic positioning. Afghanistan and Iraq are geographical keystones perfectly placed to maximize U.S. presence in the region.
The region has a history of being used in just this way.
Russia and the British Empire, in the romantic days of Kipling and Lermontov, played the original "Great Game" for control of Central Asia. Even back then, at the cusp of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Afghanistan was a crossroads, a no-man's-land, and a buffer region at the mercy of imperialists - though it was never truly subdued.
Following the defeat and dismantling of the Ottoman Empire at the conclusion of World War I, the terrain of the Middle East became a political jigsaw puzzle of artificial states and protectorates as the British and the French divvied up their territorial prize: the British, most significantly, taking control of Palestine and the French concentrating themselves in North Africa or the "Maghrib," as it was known before the time of the nation-state.
This was all before the resource potential of the region was even known.
The U.S. can also purchase and use economic means to procure all the natural resources it needs. An invasion of Iraq is not a prerequisite for abundant oil or for lower prices. The problems in price and supply encountered by the conglomerates simply get passed on to the consumer anyway.
If the U.S. is attacking Iraq to have complete control over Iraqi oil fields, then why are they already offering significant chunks of their cherished pie to Russia and France? Of course, one could say that this is a bribe to give the appearance of a "broad-based coalition," but there is no need to do this. It's not as if Russia or France is going to attack or impose sanctions on the U.S. if they are not given a share of Iraqi oil. They have neither the power nor reasons to put themselves at such risk, especially considering the new state of U.S. belligerence to all who defy them. Also, could the U.S. make themselves look any worse in the eyes of the international community?
Writers should be cautious about reducing such complex issues, indeed ones that can't even be properly addressed in the essay medium, to such simple ones. It not only misrepresents the area of interest but also shirks the duty of fully exposing one's readers to the true, incredibly complex and vitally important nature of such issues.
The United States imperialist machine is invading Iraq for numerous reasons, the least of which may be the abundance of oil to be found there.
[Matthew Riemer has written for years about a myriad of topics, such as: philosophy, religion, psychology, culture, and politics. He studied Russian language and culture for five years and traveled in the former Soviet Union in 1990. In the midst of a larger autobiographical/cultural work, Matthew lives in the United States.]
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