portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

imperialism & war

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.]

homepage: homepage: http://www.yellowtimes.org/article.php?sid=764

I'm Not Convinced 08.Dec.2002 11:53

Ed Harley

I think this article is just another way of saying the same thing. Oil is irrefutably the lifeblood of U.S.-led military-industrial-techno-capitalist imperialism. Note that the U.S. is not invading N. Korea, and any number of other places for which they could concoct an equally flimsy excuse to attack as 'weapons of mass-destruction'.

IT KEEPS THE FOCUS OFF OF "THEM" 08.Dec.2002 18:48



i like Riemer, but he's off target here 08.Dec.2002 19:21


Matthew Riemer has written good, incisive pieces--

but this isn't one of them.

He doesn't even adequately discuss or make a good case for what *other* reasons the US might want to depose Saddam.

Geopolitically, the 112 billion barrels of oil in Iraq are undeniably the most important reason for the US and Western oil companies to be there.

Having a "friendly" regime in Iraq could also keep said oil reserves from being preferentially offered to the Soviet Union and China. And NO, the divvying-up of the oil pie isn't complete yet and remains to be seen in its entirety.

Yes, Riemer is correct that it's not ONLY about the oil.

but it MOSTLY is.

Riemer's question-- 08.Dec.2002 21:57


"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?"

there **ARE** covert insurgency wars currently being fought in Venezuela (recent coup attempt) and Nigeria.

Venezuela is one of the largest US suppliers, and just because the New York Times doesn't cover US influx of weapons and mercenaries into Venezuela, DOESN'T MEAN IT ISN'T HAPPENING. Check Narco News and Indymedia for updates:

Saudi Arabia is already being diplomatically admonished--in public--by the US for it's 'attitude' about the hijackings post-9.11, and the current Saudi monarchy is anything but stable. It's not inconceivable that the US war vs. Iraq--once begun--could then be expanded to include "regime change" for Saudi Arabia.

erm... 09.Dec.2002 02:20


Riemer does not say it isn't happening. He simply says there has not been "equal publicity".

As you say, the war in Venezuela is 'low-intensity', not out-right invasion.

As another writer says, this is a particularly poor essay. One expects to see at least as much text again, presenting some of those other reasons. I have heard writers blame editors for gutting their works in the name of available space -- and editors frequently seem oblivious to the difference between a coherent essay and space-filling random text. I have also heard writers admit that they ran out of time, or that they had contracted for so-many words and had intended only to supply space-filling text with superficial similarity to an essay.

What interests me is why do so many people, not only the respondents above, insist that it is and evermore shall be oil alone which prompts preparations for invasion? I rarely do anything, let alone invade a third-world nation, for only one reason. When others insist that they have only one reason, generally it becomes apparent that they were psychotic or lying. The US government is both, of course, however you need to make a tighter case than that. Especially when there is so much more in plain view: elections, corporate malfeasance, executive malfeasance, gutting the economy, gutting the environment, gutting social services, the need to pork-barrel arms manufacturers, on and on and on.

So. What's up? Are you afraid that a second reason might diminish oil into isignificance? Is there some mind-boggling reason we should be looking for?

Americans are a Nation of Liars 09.Dec.2002 03:37

a Canadian

"What interests me is why do so many people, not only the respondents above, insist that it is and evermore shall be oil alone which prompts preparations for invasion? I rarely do anything, let alone invade a third-world nation, for only one reason. When others insist that they have only one reason, generally it becomes apparent that they were psychotic or lying."

Most Americans--including the so-called progressives in the antiwar movement--wish to reduce the argument simply to a question of oil (or of domestic considerations) for the reason they wish to deny the minimize the issue of American Imperialism in general.

If they were to acknowledge the issue of global American imperialism, they would have to acknowledge the fundamental evil of the American system itself--not merely the Bush Regime or family.

Americans would much rather focus the attention strictly on Bush or his so-called Oil cabal as a scapegoat, rather than on the American Empire itself.

This is one reason that mainstream America--including many posters here on INdymedia--love half-baked disinformation about conspiratories and secret behind the scenes cabal. It only serves to distract from the bankrupt nature of American society in general, and themselves in particular.

Oil is one reason why America want to attack Iraq, but is only part of a broader aggressive drive to expand American domination in general.

hey, 'Canadian' 09.Dec.2002 11:28

you're missing the OBVIOUS

"Oil is one reason why America want to attack Iraq, but is only part of a broader aggressive drive to expand American domination in general."

If you want to get into the discussion of American imperialism, then start a thread! we'd ALL love to jump on!

WHY **WOULDN'T** American imperialism be *fueled* by petrochemicals?

and why would anyone point to oil as an "avoidance" of other aspects of American imperialism?

it's *all part of the same package*.

the entire PLANET is fueled by petrochemicals--the US *just happens* to be the largest, highest-rate counsumer of them.

and since global oil supplies are running out, how's the *biggest customer* gonna get more?

Canadian 09.Dec.2002 19:04


Doubtless, there is some truth to what you say. In a slightly different issue, a person virtuously insisted that I have no right to mention Palestinian babies, because she has a right to emote about Isreali babies and to deny justice as she pleases.

However, an approach as confrontational as yours is more likely to drive those who perceive themselves American to self-defensive denial than to introspection. And others to point at, for example, Talisman and Ivanhoe.

In any case, it is beside the point. Americans could be standing on tippy toes in denial and would still -- probably would be eager to -- allow additional excuses for their government's behaviour. Also, should you surf around the IMC network, you will find that many Americans, for example, 'OBVIOUS', are aware of various facets of the truth.

I remain curious about the motives of those who insist on oil alone.

US Imperialism--long been based on OIL 09.Dec.2002 23:47


The instability in Venezuela--and the attempted US-sponsored coup earlier this year--echoes the CIA plot that toppled Mohammed Mossadeq in Iran, in 1953, after he nationalized the oil industry.

Saddam Hussein and Libya's Muammar Khadafy also nationalized their oil industries decades ago--and everyone knows the American love/hate relationship with those two . . . along with Western oil corporations' desire to have their fingers in the pie:

Word from the CIA: "It's the OIL, stupid" (Australian article)
Who should be more worried, asks Kenneth Davidson, Saddam; or the French and Russian oil companies presently in Iraq?

West sees 'glittering prize' of Iraq oil (British article)

Oil companies waiting to pounce on Iraq (New Zealand article)
 link to www.nzherald.co.nz

What the White House really wants (Australian article)

Corporate interest in Iraqi oil

Iraq war--oil is key
 link to www.washingtonpost.com

US reliance on Iraqi oil grows despite 'evil' tag

Oil firms wait as Iraq crisis unfolds

To the victor goes the oil

Axis of Oil and Iraq
 link to www.sfgate.com

The Bush Mafia also wants control of Venezuela's oil. What's so hard to understand about the situation? It's just more Yankee-doodle plutocrats doing what they do best.

People Rise Up against Venezuela's Commercial Media

Impatience of Coup Plotters

Strike of the Spoiled Brats

US Imperialism--long been based on OIL
US Imperialism--long been based on OIL

Hey, Skeptic 10.Dec.2002 01:30


How come the frenzy of URLs? (Forgive me : there seem to be a lot of corporate media among them, not the most credible of authorities.) You have already agreed, "Yes, Riemer is correct that it's not ONLY about the oil. but it MOSTLY is." This shower of oil seems excessive. Like you want to tar us under, and forestall discussion of other possible motives.

And to look at some of those other places, like Venezuela, is to be reminded how different Iraq is. Nobody is going to spent half a trillion dollars to flatten Caracas. When a regime change becomes desireable, weapons will be shipped in and it will happen. Half a billion, max, with maybe a third kicked back to the CIA/DEA. As could happen in Iraq, when those who desire such things desire it. As could have happened a decade ago, if the air-raids had not been suspended long enough for Hussein's bunch to snuff, not one, but two insurrections.

So. Why the corporate media shit about oil and oil alone?

Please use your BRAIN, Bill! 10.Dec.2002 02:49


that *isn't* a "frenzy" of URLs, Bill--

"So. Why the corporate media shit about oil and oil alone?"
--and you Bill, should know as well as me to take all mainstream media reports with a grain of salt. Plus, not all those mainstream media stories say "Oil ALONE"--you're *exaggerating*. Please *read* the stories themselves before critiquing.

There are NarcoNews sources in there too. I just put them all together to demonstrate that there *is* more to this issue, and it *is being acknowledged* by mainstream analysts *precisely because* it is of *titanic* dimensions (not everything can be 'ignored' or 'covered up').

Check out this short movie for more cracks in the facade:
Although 112 billion barrels is the generally agreed-upon figure for Iraqi reserves, many analysts speculate that 220 billion *MORE* barrels may exist in Iraq, bringing their world total reserves *above Saudi Arabia*.

My intention here IS NOT to "tar us under, and forestall discussion of other possible motives"--

1. Economics of large-scale consumption
2. Corporate control
3. Global geopolitics

The US (and more generally, Planet Earth itself) is RUNNING OUT of oil sources, and we need ***LOTS*** of it to keep filling SUV gas tanks (even at current prices). Caspian Sea oil has not yielded enough, soon enough, to satisfy US/western demands--REFERENCE: new article by Dale Allen Pfeiffer at FTW:
". . . Evolving more quietly, unmentioned and ignored by the major media, is a coming hydrocarbon energy crisis of civilization-threatening significance. Peak oil production is a reality, and it is happening now. What was once heralded as an oil bonanza in Central Asia -- and given life by ludicrous economic and political assertions insisting that demand always creates supply -- has proven itself to be an enormous bust. As Caspian reserve estimates have been continually revised lower -- from 200 billion barrels, to 100 billion barrels, to around 20 billion barrels -- the world has witnessed a dramatic shift in U.S. foreign policy toward belligerent and unilateral doctrines aimed at Iraq and Saudi Arabia. In the meantime, both politicians and economists perpetuate a dangerous fallacy which says that if you lock scientists up in a bank vault and give them enough money and enough demand, they can produce a hot dog with mustard and relish."

also, Bill, you said:
"how different Iraq is. Nobody is going to spent half a trillion dollars to flatten Caracas."
--of COURSE NOT, Bill. But then, Caracas doesn't have 112 billion barrels of sweet crude . . .

"When a regime change becomes desireable, weapons will be shipped in and it will happen. Half a billion, max, with maybe a third kicked back to the CIA/DEA. As could happen in Iraq, when those who desire such things desire it. As could have happened a decade ago, if the air-raids had not been suspended long enough for Hussein's bunch to snuff, not one, but two insurrections."
--sure they will, Bill. Just like the US has inflicted 'regime change' EVERYWHERE they ultimately deem it necessary: Chile 1973, Dominican Republic 1965, etc. etc.

But the fact remains that Iraq is geopolitically:
1. Larger population
2. Higher stakes (much *more* oil than Venezuela or rest of Latin America)
3. More tricky & complex (Arab-Israeli destabilization potential)

than any of the Latin American nations--although *those* countries remain under our 200-year old 'Monroe Doctrine'.

Noam Chomsky interviewed--"IT'S THE OIL" 10.Dec.2002 02:59

Anthony DiMaggio interview

 link to santafenewmexican.com
Anthony DiMaggio: I've always believed that the Bush Administration's proposed war on Iraq was for two main reasons: to secure the last oil reserves in the Middle East that are not under U.S. control, and to divert Americans' attention from the policies that Bush is conducting at home against the common worker. In your opinion, how much of the war on Iraq has to do with securing Iraqi oil reserves and how much has to do with diverting American's attention from the Bush Administration's war on the American people? Is one more of a factor than the other?

Noam Chomsky: It's quite widely assumed, right within the mainstream, that these are the two primary reasons. ****I agree.**** Regaining control over Iraq's oil resources (not access, but control; a very different matter) is longstanding. 9/11 provided a pretext for the resort to force, not only by the US: also Russia, China, Indonesia, Israel, many others. And the need to divert the attention of the population from what is being done to them accounts for the timing. [It] worked brilliantly in the congressional elections, and by the next presidential elections, it'll be necessary to have a victory and on to the next campaign.

Noam Chomsky interviewed--"IT'S THE OIL"
Noam Chomsky interviewed--"IT'S THE OIL"

Huh? 11.Dec.2002 00:45


I don't now what to make of you two.

Well, pseudo-DiMaggio is easiest :

You post a comment entitled "It's the OIL", quoting Chomsky as agreeing it is both the oil and diverting domestic attention.

He goes on, in just that short paragraph, to add the terrorism pretext, and the need for a victory and a new rumour of war before the next presidential election.

In the full article, which you/someone posted separately, Chomsky adds many more issues.

Frankly, as a title, "It's the OIL" is deceitful.

As for Skeptic, here is a start :

"you Bill, should know as well as me to take all mainstream media reports with a grain of salt."

Yes, I said so, "a lot of corporate media among them, not the most credible of authorities."

"Please *read* the stories themselves before critiquing."

I don't need to read them; I wasn't critiquing them; I was questioning your citing them all. In any case, I have already read most of them.


I can't do that until I see what other issues are involved, and work out some sort of correlative measure(s) of significance.

Furthermore, it seems to me that you do not "just" want me to recognize the significance of oil. It seems to me that you "just" want me to assign _all_ significance to oil, because when I/others present the possibility of other issues involved, you/others repeat, oil, oil, oil, give oil significance.

One other point, Skeptic :

The form of your comment, the physical layout and syntax, makes it appear that you are disagreeing with me. However, when I look at the meanings, the semantics, you say the same things I have said. This is quite puzzling.

Except, of course, there is the one difference. Although you agree that there are more issues than oil, you write comments which forestall discussion of other issues.

We agree that oil is _an_ issue but not the _only_ issue. Why do you wish to exclude other issues from discussion?

Now, too, I am curious to know why pseudo-DiMaggio failed to notice the other issues which were raised in the article he quoted?

Glad you asked 11.Dec.2002 07:07


WHoever said So. What's up? Are you afraid that a second reason might diminish oil into isignificance? Is there some mind- boggling reason we should be looking for?

Glad you asked! The reason is that oil production has peaked in 2000 and is set to decline by 3% per year soon, with the "mind-boggling" consequence that civilization will return to agrarian (from industrialized) "soon".

alternative media has been good at exposing "conspiracies" (bombed people in cambodia, overthrown of allended in chille, war on the poor and on freedom at home, the jail business and war on drugs ..etc ..etc) except as to this "big rolloer" (google on this) of oil production, which is immensely under-discussed and has little to no mindshare among activists. This is a big shame.

HUH????????? 11.Dec.2002 14:00


end of discussion, Bill. your last message is UTTERLY incomprehensible

if you can't refer to the sources and figure them out for yourself now--

you never will.

Whither The Caspian Riches? 11.Dec.2002 14:08

Dale Allen Pfeiffer

Much Ado about Nothing -- Whither the Caspian Riches?

Over the Last 24 Months Hoped For Caspian Oil Bonanza Has Vanished With Each New Well Drilled -- Global Implications Are Frightening
by Dale Allen Pfeiffer, FTW Contributing Editor for Energy

[Ed. Note: The unfolding drama since 9-11-01 has been closely paralleled by another, perhaps more threatening one. Evolving more quietly, unmentioned and ignored by the major media, is a coming hydrocarbon energy crisis of civilization-threatening significance. Peak oil production is a reality, and it is happening now. What was once heralded as an oil bonanza in Central Asia -- and given life by ludicrous economic and political assertions insisting that demand always creates supply -- has proven itself to be an enormous bust. As Caspian reserve estimates have been continually revised lower -- from 200 billion barrels, to 100 billion barrels, to around 20 billion barrels -- the world has witnessed a dramatic shift in U.S. foreign policy toward belligerent and unilateral doctrines aimed at Iraq and Saudi Arabia. In the meantime, both politicians and economists perpetuate a dangerous fallacy which says that if you lock scientists up in a bank vault and give them enough money and enough demand, they can produce a hot dog with mustard and relish.

And conversion to hydrogen energy, as promoted by the Department of Energy, is an impractical myth; a palliative meant to calm fears rather than solve problems. Not until technolgies are made available which manufacture hydrogen at the point of use will hydrogen technolgies present even a viable partial solution for the critical challenges posed by peak oil.

As FTW has said for more than a year, the "war which will not end in our lifetimes" is proving itself to be a sequential war to control the last remaining oil reserves on the planet, especially those which have not yet peaked. - MCR]

Dec. 5, 2002, 16:00 PST (FTW) -- What ever happened to all the talk of a new oil utopia in the Caspian Sea and Central Asia? Word was that Caspian-Central Asian oil reserves would dwarf the Middle East.

Yet, in the year since the Afghan War began, it seems that all the rumors of Caspian riches have died out and the center of oil interest has returned once again to Saudi Arabia and Iraq. In his exclusive FTW interview ( http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/102302_campbell.html), noted petroleum geologist Colin Campbell states that exploration in the Caspian region has been very disappointing, with the discoveries being much smaller than predicted and much of the oil discovered being of poor quality.

But the Energy Information Agency (EIA) predicted that the Caspian region would contain in excess of 200 billion barrels of oil. So what is being said elsewhere about the results of Caspian oil exploration?

At a recent event hosted by the Associated Press and the Harriman Institute, Steven Mann, the director of the State Department's Caspian Basin Energy Policy Office stated that the Caspian Sea contains only 50 billion barrels of proven reserves, a far cry from the EIA's projections. "Caspian Oil represents 4 percent of the world's reserves. It will never dominate the world's markets..."1

Likewise, a study published in PetroStrategies last July stated that the Caspian Sea contains only 39.4 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. The study, conducted by consultants from Wood MacKenzie, criticized IEA figures for the region as being severely inflated and unrealistic.2

The study states that oil production from the Caspian region should peak at 3.8 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2015, but be considerably less if the region remains politically unstable. Future discoveries might result in a production plateau extending beyond 2020.3

Only four fields are expected to make up 57 percent of production by 2010. Of these four fields, three are located in Kazakhstan: Tengiz, Karachaganak and Kashagan. The fourth field is the Azeri-Chirac-Guneshli complex in Azerbaijan.

Total Azerbaijan reserves are estimated at 6.6 billion barrels. However, drilling activity in the area has been disappointing, indicating that oil reserves are likely dispersed in small pockets.4

The Tengiz field is estimated to contain between 6 and 9 billion barrels of recoverable reserves. In 1993, Chevron paid $20 billion to Kazakhstan for the right to develop this field, resulting in the TengizChevrOil joint venture. Chevron expects production at Tengiz to peak at 750,000 bpd by 2010. Azeri-Chirac-Guneshli proven reserves are estimated at between 3 and 5 billion barrels.

They are being developed by the Azerbaijan International Operating Company, and are expected to peak at 800,000 bpd by the end of the decade.5 With reserves estimated at 10 billion barrels, the Kashagan field accounts for 25 percent of the regional total.6 This area is being developed by the Agip Kazakhstan North Caspian Operating Company (Agip KCO, formerly OKIOC), lead by the Italian oil major Agip.

Though Agip has been disappointed by exploration, in June of 2002 they stated there might be as much as 38 billion in probable reserves yet to be found in the Kashagan region.7

This author has been unable to locate data on the proven Karachaganak reserves, but the literature would seem to indicate that they are probably a little smaller than the Tengiz reserves.

Even the EIA has revised its report on the Caspian region, stating that although it is not another Middle East, it is... "comparable to the North Sea in its hydrocarbon potential."8

Additional discoveries have been reported in recent months, most notably by ExxonMobil9 and Nelson Resources.10 However, none of these discoveries are of sufficient size to alter the picture presented here.

In contrast, ExxonMobil does seem to be growing more cautious about the region. ExxonMobil announced in June that it was closing one of its Caspian offshore projects, the Oguz oil field, due to the poor results of exploratory drilling.11

Abandon Ship
As this article went to press, there are several new reports about oil investments in the Caspian region. ChevronTexaco is withdrawing from the Tengizchevroil venture. Corporate representitives and Kazakh government officials have offered contradicting explanations for the failure of this enterprise.

The nominal reasons for the move involve financial disagreements between ChevronTexaco and the Kazakh government. Disputes seem to center around distribution and reinvestment of profits and taxation.

Obviously, there are some hard feelings between Chevron and the Kazakh government. But the contradictory explanations offered by both sides may indicate that -- beneath all the disputes -- the venture simply isn't profitable enough.12

The Tengiz field has proven very expensive to pump and deliver to market. Aside from the engineering problems of extraction and transport, Tengiz oil has a high sulfur content (as much as 16 percent). Disposal of the waste sulfur has proven to be a major headache.13

Furthermore, following on the announcement that Chevron was shelving any further development of Tengiz, Kerr McGee has announced its intention to sell off all of its interest in various Caspian region projects, including mineral rights in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea shelf and its interest in the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (1.56 percent). The company explained that it is seeking to rid itself of inactive profiles and leave projects where it only holds a minority investment.14

Finally, Agip KCO is also reported to be considering a delay in developing the Kashagan oil field.15 BP-Statoil has already withdrawn from the project, leaving Italian Agip to soldier on in the lead role. The Kashagan oil deposits also have a high sulfur content, and the geology of the deposits indicates that the oil may very well be contained in many small deposits as opposed to one large platform.16

When all of this is added to ExxonMobil's withdrawal from Azerbaijan and Russian Lukoil's recent announcement that it intends to sell its interest in the Azeri-Chirac-Guneshli complex, one has to wonder why all the major oil companies are leaving the Caspian region.

What About the Pipelines?

There has been very little talk lately about the trans-Afghanistan pipeline. This project seems to be floundering due to continuing instability in Afghanistan, and diminishing interest in the region's oil prospects. It has also been reported that the Caspian Pipeline from the Tengiz fields to the Russian port of Novorossiisk has been hit by a number of high costs, including port charges, taxes, and tariffs.17

The one pipeline which has remained in the news is the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. Estimated to cost about $2.9 billion, this 1,090-mile pipeline network will link an existing pipeline from Azerbaijan to the Turkish Mediterranean Port of Ceyhan. To reach its destination, this pipeline will have to cross high mountain ranges and traverse territory occupied by disaffected Kurds, who may prove hostile to the project.

Critics have questioned whether there are sufficient oil reserves in the Caspian Sea to support the pipeline. It is also possible that heavy tariffs will render the oil transported along this pipeline uneconomical. ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco and Russia's Lukoil have all declined offers to join the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) construction consortium.18

The project did receive a boost when BP announced that the Azeri fields held more oil than previously believed and would be sufficient to fill the link. Following this announcement, ConocoPhillip's and French TotalFinaElf both bought into the project.19 However, even with the increased reserves in the Azari, the BTC pipeline would have to rely on exports from Kazakhstan in order to be viable over the long-term.

Kazakhstan has vacillated in its support for the pipeline. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has stated that he believes the best way to transfer Kazakh oil and gas to market is via Turkmenistan and Iran.20 President Nazarbayev has at various times indicated that Kazakhstan would pledge oil to the BTC pipeline, but has backpedaled afterwards.

During a speech at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston in late-December 2001, the Kazakh president stated that the efficiency of the BTC pipeline was not proven and that oil companies would choose the export route for Kashagan oil. This speech reflects the opinions of the Agip KCO consortium, which believes that the Iran route is the most cost-efficient way to transport Kashagan oil to market.21

The Kazakh President finds himself in a very difficult position due to U.S. opposition to a pipeline route through Iran. Kazakh statements in favor of the BTC pipeline would properly be viewed as attempts to placate the U.S.

Critics believe that political factors are blinding the U.S. to financial risks in the pipeline deal. Not only would the pipeline deny Iran a lucrative role as energy exporter, it would also reduce dependence of Central Asian states on Russian pipelines. Furthermore, the pipeline would bolster regional economies in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. The pipeline would help alleviate Turkey's current financial depression.

A U.S. government source has stated, "The BTC has been politically motivated, more than any other oil project in the world."22

In light of recent reports of industry majors pulling out of the region mentioned above, it is possible that Kazakhstan will push for the Iranian route. Presently, Agip is the only major left in the country, and they certainly prefer the Iranian route.

Troubles with the Tengiz and Kashagan consortiums could leave the BTC pipeline without enough oil to even make the project worth completing. If plans are announced to transport Kazakh oil through Iran, it will be very interesting to see how the U.S. responds. There are already influential voices urging Bush to go on to Iran as soon as he is finished with Iraq.

Whether or not the project will prove viable, construction of the BTC pipeline began on Sept. 8.23 On hand for the start of construction was U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, who touted the project as "one of the most important energy undertakings."24

One has to wonder whether part of the reason for U.S. interest in the pipeline is an effort to destabilize OPEC. The Lebanese Daily Star recently ran an editorial by Middle East Analyst Patrick Seale which stated that Arab oil is currently worried about the triple threat of U.S. imperialism, Russian and Caspian imports, and hydrogen fuel cells.25 It is to be wondered if Arab oil knows that the only portion of this triple threat which really has teeth to it is U.S. imperialism.

Spencer Abraham's Hydrogen Dream
The media was all aglow recently with Spencer Abraham's announcement that the U.S. now has a roadmap for making the transition to a hydrogen economy. Secretary of Energy Abraham announced the plan at the Global Forum on Personal Transportation held in Dearborn, Mich. In his presentation, he touted the line that hydrogen produced from renewable resources can provide unlimited energy with no impact on the environment. Secretary Abraham noted that the transition to hydrogen would be a long-term process, which will require the participation of both industry and government.

As a first step, in January 2002 Secretary Abraham, along with officials from the automotive industry and Congress, unveiled a FreedomCAR partnership to develop hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.26

The National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap is available on the internet in pdf form ( http://www.eren.doe.gov/hydrogen/pdfs/national_h2_roadmap.pdf). This roadmap glows with positive energy. In all areas of production, delivery, storage, conversion and applications, the document beams about what we can achieve if we put our minds to it, but inevitably winds up by saying that we have a long way to go in order to make it a reality.

The document does mention the various challenges to each area of fuel cell development, but makes little of the obstacles and instead comes off sounding like a pep talk. Buried in the text, they admit "The transition to a hydrogen economy... could take several decades to achieve."27

The document speaks of wind, solar and geothermal production, biomass, nuclear-thermo-chemical water splitting, photoelectrochemical electrolysis, and bioengineering. But they admit that all of these processes will require a great deal more research.

The intention is to bootstrap the move by first developing small "reformers" that will run on natural gas, propane, methanol or diesel. But the authors admit that even this technology requires further refinement for improved reliability, longer catalyst life, and integration with storage systems and fuel cells.

The document also includes a short list of people who are in charge of various areas of development and transition. The list includes: Frank Balog of Ford Motor Company, Gene Nemanich of ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures, Mike Davis of Avista Labs Energy, Art Katsaros of Air Products and Chemicals Incorporated, Alan Niedzwiecki of Quantum Technologies, Joan Ogden of Princeton University Systems, and Jeff Serfass of The National Hydrogen Association.28 This team will ensure that the new technology remains firmly in the hands of the top corporations.

The document is at least 80 percent public relations. While admitting that in all areas there are serious problems to be overcome before we will be able to make a transition to hydrogen fuel cells, nowhere does this document take a serious look at the obstacles. Instead, this paper paints a pretty picture of our hydrogen future and leaves the details to future research and investment. So let us look at a few of the difficulties of developing a hydrogen fuel cell economy.

First off, because hydrogen is the simplest element, it will leak from any container, no mater how strong and no matter how well insulated. For this reason, hydrogen in storage tanks will always evaporate, at a rate of at least 1.7 percent per day.29 Hydrogen is very reactive. When hydrogen gas comes into contact with metal surfaces it decomposes into hydrogen atoms, which are so very small that they can penetrate metal. This causes structural changes that make the metal brittle.30

Perhaps the largest problem for hydrogen fuel cell transportation is the size of the fuel tanks. In gaseous form, a volume of 238,000 litres of hydrogen gas is necessary to replace the energy capacity of 20 gallons of gasoline.31

So far, demonstrations of hydrogen-powered cars have depended upon compressed hydrogen. Because of its low density, compressed hydrogen will not give a car as useful a range as gasoline.32 Moreover, a compressed hydrogen fuel tank would be at risk of developing pressure leaks either through accidents or through normal wear, and such leaks could result in explosions.

If the hydrogen is liquefied, this will give it a density of 0.07 grams per cubic centimeter. At this density, it will require four times the volume of gasoline for a given amount of energy. Thus, a 15-gallon gas tank would equate to a 60-gallon tank of liquefied hydrogen. Beyond this, there are the difficulties of storing liquid hydrogen. Liquid hydrogen is cold enough to freeze air. In test vehicles, accidents have occurred from pressure build-ups resulting from plugged valves.33

Beyond this, there are the energy costs of liquefying the hydrogen and refrigerating it so that it remains in a liquid state. No studies have been done on the energy costs here, but they are sure to further decrease the Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) of hydrogen fuel.

A third option is the use of powdered metals to store the hydrogen in the form of metal hydrides. In this case, the storage volume would be little more than the volume of the metals themselves.34 Moreover, stored in this form, hydrogen would be far less reactive. However, as you can imagine, the weight of the metals will make the storage tank very heavy.

Now we come to the production of hydrogen. Hydrogen does not freely occur in nature in useful quantities, therefore hydrogen must be split from molecules, either molecules of methane derived from fossil fuels or from water.

Currently, most hydrogen is produced by the treatment of methane with steam, following the formula: CH4 (g) + H2O + e > 3H2(g) + CO(g). The CO(g) in this equation is carbon monoxide gas, which is a byproduct of the reaction.35

Not entered into this formula is the energy required to produce the steam, which usually comes from the burning of fossil fuels.

For this reason, we do not escape the production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. We simply transfer the generation of this pollution to the hydrogen production plants. This procedure of hydrogen production also results in a severe energy loss. First we have the production of the feedstock methanol from natural gas or coal at a 32 percent to 44 percent net energy loss. Then the steam treatment process to procure the hydrogen will result in a further 35 percent energy loss.36

It has often been pointed out that we have an inexhaustible supply of water from which to derive hydrogen. However, this reaction, 2H2O + e = 2H2(g) + O2(g), requires a substantial energy investment per unit of water (286kJ per mole).37 This energy investment is required by elementary principles of chemistry and can never be reduced.

Several processes are being explored to derive hydrogen from water, most notably electrolysis of water and thermal decomposition of water. But the basic chemistry mentioned above requires major energy investments from all of these processes, rendering them unprofitable in terms of EROEI.

Much thought has been given to harnessing sunlight through photovoltaic cells and using the resulting energy to split water in order to derive hydrogen. The energy required to produce 1 billion kWh (kilowatt hours) of hydrogen is 1.3 billion kWh of electricity.38 Even with recent advances in photovoltaic technology, the solar cell arrays would be enormous, and would have to be placed in areas with adequate sunlight.

Likewise, the amount of water required to generate this hydrogen would be equivalent to 5 percent of the flow of the Mississippi River.39 As an example of a solar-to-hydrogen set up, were Europe to consider such a transition, their best hope would lie in erecting massive solar collectors in the Saharan desert of nearby Africa. Using present technology, only 5 percent of the energy collected at the Sahara solar plants would be delivered to Europe. Such a solar plant would probably cost 50 times as much as a coal fired plant, and would deliver an equal amount of energy.40 On top of this, the production of photovoltaic cells has a very poor EROEI.

The basic problem of hydrogen fuel cells is that the second law of thermodynamics dictates that we will always have to expend more energy deriving the hydrogen than we will receive from the usage of that hydrogen. The common misconception is that hydrogen fuel cells are an alternative energy source when they are not.

In reality, hydrogen fuel cells are a storage battery for energy derived from other sources. In a fuel cell, hydrogen and oxygen are fed to the anode and cathode, respectively, of each cell. Electrons stripped from the hydrogen produce direct current electricity which can be used in a DC electric motor or converted to alternating current.41

Because of the second law of thermodynamics, hydrogen fuel cells will always have a bad EROEI. If fossil fuels are used to generate the hydrogen, either through the Methane-Steam method or through Electrolysis of Water, there will be no advantage over using the fossil fuels directly. The use of hydrogen as an intermediate form of energy storage is justified only when there is some reason for not using the primary source directly.42 For this reason, a hydrogen-based economy must depend on large-scale development of nuclear power or solar electricity.

Therefore, the development of a hydrogen economy will require major investments in fuel cell technology research and nuclear or solar power plant construction. On top of this, there is the cost of converting all of our existing technology and machinery to hydrogen fuel cells. And all of this will have to be accomplished under the economic and energy conditions of post-peak fossil fuel production.

Based on all of this, I submit that Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham does indeed have ulterior motives for his Hydrogen Energy Roadmap. First, I suggest that this distant goal will help to pacify the public once they begin to suffer from the effects of fossil fuel withdrawal. Secondly, this project will allow the elite to transfer more money from the general public to the pockets of the rich. Third, in the words of Karl Davies, this proposal will deflect a stock market collapse once news of declining oil production becomes generally recognized.

Tied to this, it will brace stock prices of the auto corporations and oil majors to help them survive well into the era of oil depletion. And finally, the idea that we are working on a transition from fossil fuels to a hydrogen-based economy will help to destabilize OPEC, hopefully making it easier to deal with that organization and the Arab oil states.


1 Expert: No Guarantees in Caspian Oil The Associated Press
 link to cgi.wn.com

2 New Study says Caspian Oil Reserve Estimates are Exaggerated 05-06-02. Source: Newsbase, quoting PetroStrategies.  http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/news/ntc22663.htm

3 New report comments on Caspian production outlook, 15-05-02. Source: Newsbase.  http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/news/ntc22233.htm

4 Ibid.

5 Caspian Sea Region Analysis, 31-07-02. Energy Information Agency.  http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/caspian.html

6 op. cit. See note 3.

7op. cit. See note 4.

8 Ibid.

9 ExxonMobil announces Kazakhstan Oil Discovery, IRVING, Texas, Oct 10, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE).  http://www.stockhouse.com/news/news.asp?tick=XOM&newsid=1349570

10 McDaniel Reserves Report Confirms Large Reserve at Alibekmola, 9-30-02.  http://www.stockhouse.com/news/news.asp?tick=NLG&newsid=1334563

11 Debate continues over Viability of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Construction, Mark Berniker. 17-06-02. Source: EurasiaNet Business & Economics.  http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/news/ntc22871.htm

12 Kazakhstan: various explanations emerge for suspension of oil project, Michael Lelyveld. 11/21/2002, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.  http://www.rferl.org/nca/features/2002/11/21112002150226.asp

13 Colin Campbell, personal communication.

14 Kerr McGee abandons Kazakhstan, 11/21/2002.  http://www.neftegaz.ru/english/lenta/show.php?id=29666

15 Op. Cot. See note 12.

16 Colin Campbell. Personal communication.

17 Op. Cit. See note 12.

18 Ibid.

19 ConocoPhillips to Buy Part of Pipeline, 30-10-02. Reuters.  link to story.news.yahoo.com

20 Best way to transfer Kazakh oil and gas is via Turkmenistan and Iran, 27-04-02.  http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/news/ntc22024.htm

21 Analysis of the Caspian oil scene, 26-02-02. Source: Financial Times LTD.  http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/news/ntc21293.htm

22 Op. Cit. See note 11.

23 Work on Big Caspian Oil Link Begins, Feb. 19, 2002. Reuters.

24 US' Abraham in Azerbaijan for Start of Baku-Ceyhan Project, 18-09-02. Associated Press.  http://www.petroleumworld.com/story9276.htm

25 Eighty Years On: The Triple Threat being Posed to Arab Oil, Patrick Seale. The Daily Star.  http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/04_10_02_b.htm

26 Energy Secretary Abraham Gives Major Address on the Future of Personal Transportation. Government Press release.  http://www.energy.gov/HQPress/releases02/novpr/pr02.htm

27 National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap, November 2002. United States Department of Energy.  http://www.eren.doe.gov/hydrogen/pdfs/national_h2_roadmap.pdf

28 Ibid.

29 Hydrogen FAQ. Stanford University.  http://www.formal.stanford.edu/pub/jmc/progress/hydrogen.htm

30 "The World will End not with a Crash, but in a Whisper....", by Ian Forrest, 10-03-98. University of California.  http://darwin.bio.uci.edu/~sustain/global/sensem/Forrest98.htm

31 Ibid.

32 Op. Cit. See note 23.

33 Ibid.

34 Op. Cit. See note 24.

35 Ibid.

36 Energetic Limits to Growth, Jay Hanson. Energy Magazine, spring 1999.  http://www.dieoff.com/page175.htm#_edn21

37 Op. Cit. See note 24.

38 Renewable Energy: Economic and Environmental Issues, David Pimentel et al. BioScience, Vol. 44, No. 8, September 1994.  http://www.dieoff.com/page84.htm

39 Re: Hydrogen and Solar Energy Question, Message 25271, EnergyResources List.  link to groups.yahoo.com and other messages in the string Hydrogen and Solar Energy Question.

40 An Outline of the Global Situation, the Sustainable Alternative Society, and the Transition to it, Ted Trainer. University of N.S.W.  http://www.dieoff.com/page190.htm

41 Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Vehicles. California Consumer Energy Center.  http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/transportation/future/hydrogen.html

42 Op. Cit. See note 23.

From The Wilderness Publications--Michael C. Ruppert

Thank you 12.Dec.2002 19:36


Thank you Posix and pseudo-Pfeiffer. Now, I understand why you are so concerned. I think this is a portentious issue, and I am glad that you are working with it. However, I have a few quibbles.

The sky was falling back in 1972, too. Cars lined up for hours (with engines running) to buy gasoline at slowly inflating but wildly erratic prices. Interstate highway speed-limits were reduced to 55 mph. As far as I can tell, gasoline became more plentiful, at higher prices; and grocery stores switched over from paper bags to oil-derived plastic. For a decade or so, bankers moaned about inflation, as if they could already feel Satan's claws ripping their souls, while they raked in ever-increasing interest and fees -- and obtained near monopolies on revenue-generating real-estate and productive means of generating wealth. OPEC obtained higher well-head prices (shared half and half with oil companies), agreeing in return to order $billions of shiny new armaments. And the cost of a modest single-family home increased, from aproximately one-year's income to impossible for ordinary folks.

In short, the crisis, like all economic depressions and crises, shifted another huge chunk of public and individual-private wealth to the already-too-wealthy. And nipped in the bud a growing consensus that basic social services are a right.

I am sure you understand why I am sceptical, especially, when I see the corporate media playing strip-tease with this issue.

That does not mean I think the issue is false. It means I think we should resist the predisposition (taught to us by the corporate media) to charge after the one true red-flag and to gore those heretics who murmur, "Wait a minute...". Certainly, somebody (you!) should work with it. However, somebody else should poke around looking for the other traps they have set for us. There is always something else.

The other quibble is the way you presented your argument. "you" is a huge collective "you", not just commenters on this particular article, but also people whom I have read and heard elsewhere. Rushing in, metaphorically shouting, "It's Oil! It's Oil! It's Oil! Don't look at anything else. It's Oil!" -- "Don't listen to the choir-boys. God has ordained me." Regardless of the strength of your convictions and the subtlety of your proofs, you must give me respect and allow me freedom to figure things out, for myself, my way. Otherwise, deep down between your words, miles underneath, I am going to hear Der Fuhrer barking, "You are either with us or you're with the terrorists." I'm going to wonder, do you own a Darth Vader suit? Will you spray pepper into my eyes, if I insist on looking around? It feels like so.

That may be unfair. However, we know that all kinds of people (and maybe others) post here. Some are misguided. Some are unskilled. Some are disruptive mercenaries. For all I know, you are Mark Kroeker. You sound like him. Shouting at me in all caps... Insisting that I do as you say...

I react to what I read, not to what you meant to write.

PS 12.Dec.2002 19:49


I read, somewhere, almost two years ago, that the Shrub cancelled all federally-funded hydrogen research, pretty much as soon as he figured out how much space to leave beside his "X" for the Official Seal. I don't know if it is true or not : corporate media.

Also, Posix, you might want to look into how much US is de-industrialized already, and whether a somewhat more agrarian (not subsistence) society is as scary as being held hostage by the shippers of California/Chile grapes.

More on the big "O" 13.Dec.2002 00:47


Heya Bill,
hope you're still reading.. I'm having a hard time to ahve anyone interested in oil depletion usually =)

* Not sure why you compare 1973 and the 2000 peak... The 1973 oil shortages (and 1979) were political-related: there was plenty of oil in the ground left, but "they" turned down the tap temporarily, for political reasons.

* It's "Big Rollover" that I recommend people to "google" on, sorry for the typo in my previous post.

* Agrarian: you misunderstood me on this one. As we speak I'm actively transitioning to this new kind of life (buying a few acres of land in the countryside ..etc) and *recommend* others to do the same. That's *the one big* difference it makes between "believeing me or not": it's the difference between actively taking action or not, being left in the cold or not when the shit hits the fan. [well when I say belive-me I mean believe the actual websites like copvcia.com et al, not a random francais habitant sur la cote d'azur posting about what he believes is true of course].

* PS: Mike Ruppert has moved to portland recently, as he believes the shit will hit the fan soon; seems wise to me, as I've heard both the environment (pretty much "country side") and the population (many activists) will improve the survival chances... COnsider yourself lucky to already be there :-)

hmmm 14.Dec.2002 06:00


There is much here, Posix, which I had not expected.
I shall get back to you.
However, the weekend is a busy time for me and I don't want to just fluff you off, so I probably wont reply until Monday.

No prob! 16.Dec.2002 03:07


No prob Bill. 'love it when the newswire is used in very useful ways, I'm still there. THough maybe one day I should try and do a "feature" or something so that it gets more exposure..

So I'm back at dayjob, from week-end too, and I'd recommend this as "food for thought" while we discuss by the way:


Don't be put off by the 'hyped-up' tone about how the sky is falling because of upcoming oil shortages: the guy has solid data to back up the claims, and especially, it's a site seeking solutions to this problem, not just a doon-and-gloom pessimistic site.

Psst! Posix? 20.Dec.2002 02:50


Yeah, ok, its Friday. So, pepper-spray me!

Sorry. I agreed a long time ago to set up a simple web-site. This week, they remembered. GROAN!

Yes, we agree, more or less, on what really happened with the oil supply in 73. The crisis was (mostly) a chimera in the media. The hysterical foolishness was media-driven from conception to burial. The information broadcast by the media was not exaggerated, not misunderstood, but simply wrong -- wrong in ways which served the purposes of others.

Reading runningonempty, I can see that a lot of thoughtful discussion and work went into it. And I agree with the conclusions presented. Up to a point.

I strongly disagree that corporations and governments have any interest in the welfare of their customers and citizens. A lot of little differences flow from that, although it is clear that the main theme does not depend on their benevolence. More to the point, they have and control the most-accurate information -- and they release arbitrary numbers calculated, not according to the facts, but according to how they predict others will use the numbers. If they believe their interests are best served by you calculating that civilization will come to an end on June 13, 2004, then they will publish and/or partially conceal numbers from which you must draw that conclusion.

They cannot be absolutely sure what you will do with that date, of course. We cannot be sure what they really want to do. You cannot be sure what _you_ really want to do. ("The most likely survival organizations may be (a) the defended community of a few hundred farming people who exclude visitors and strictly limits their population according to food supply, and (b) the aggressive group of looters who live by attacking such communities.") I lean towards thinking that whatever powers will exist will continue to put a lot of effort into herding stray people into cities, and that whether the people be marauding bandits or successful farmers will be of little interest to those powers, so long as people are either controlled or dead.

I lean towards a lot of things. The only statement which I am reasonably sure of is, "We don't and won't have untampered information." I am somewhat less sure that those who have power and information are sane and intelligent, and they will act more or less successfully to preserve themselves and their comforts. They might preserve or destroy me, to serve their ends; but more probably, if I don't watch them, they may step on me randomly, unseen like an ant or a campestino caught in a herbicide spray.

My first contribution to this thread (without scrolling up) was something like, "Why must we adher to one true analysis?"

Ask ten people and we will get at least ten rigorously argued analyses. All of them conditional on uncertain probabilities -- and on unknowables. Our species has better chances, if you, believing whole-heartedly in what you do, buy your few acres and learn to live off them; while I, believing in what I do, go and live where I can. And Skeptic does his thing, and Repost does his, and so on. In fact, as I understand human history, each one of us, individually, has better chances of survival, if everyone of us is trying to survive in different ways.

There. I haven't actually discussed what you wanted to discuss. However, I have agreed that it is rational, for you, to believe what you have stated. I say also, it is rational, for me, for both of us, that I believe and act from a different analysis, grounded in my own perceptions and skills.

Further. I believe that it is very important that we be able to discuss each other's positions, without an atmosphere of debate or mission. We can learn from each other, no matter the distance between our solutions -- but only if each of us is free from defending.

Something Interesting 01.Jan.2003 06:27


media, Oil, and inevitability of US war on Iraq, Robert Fisk

"The government of New Iraq," he wrote, "would reimburse the US and Britain for much of their costs in the war and transitional government out of future oil revenues and contracts."

Nothing new, of course. Folks have been selling their cousins into foreign servitude for more than a while. However, it is unusual to put it up as a separate line-item in a more or less public mercantile contract.

And it's armaments, too, the perfect neo-capitalist product : totally useless, expensive as hell, and non-reusable.

Could be my memory glitch... the number 140 billion sticks out.

Reloading 10.Apr.2005 18:27

Frank Blunt

Above post commenter possibly never heard of reloading. Protection from the probable military foragers, as well as usual scum like shrub, or his boy. Yeah, it's not entirely about the oil, obviously. Boy, runnin a war machine sure ain't cheap, unless yer special ... Experience, I guess ...