134542FW: Iraqi Oil and the Cheney Energy Task Force
- Mar 10, 2014From: Stephen Sniegoski [hectorpv@...]
Sent: Sunday, March 09, 2014 3:00 PM
To: Sniegoski, Stephen
Subject: Iraqi Oil and the Cheney Energy Task Force
Iraqi Oil and the Cheney Energy Task Force
I wrote this piece oil before Rachel Maddow’s alleged stunning new evidence supposedly demonstrated that oil was the sole reason for the US going to war on Iraq. I have yet to see this alleged new, bombshell information. But I have only been able to discover her documentary “‘Why we did it’ Part 1, US thirsty for energy”, plus three other small clips on the Web, which I would assume means there have been, or will be, other programs.
Anyhow, I am writing a piece on her documentary and would appreciate any information on it. I think I am quite capable at searching the web, but maybe I am missing something here. Also, please tell me what you found convincing in it. And exactly what is her oil argument? Is it true that she believes that the US only wanted to increase the amount of oil on the world market and did not plan to have the US and US companies control the oil, which is the Chomsky argument? Any help you could provide would be much appreciated.
“Iraqi Oil and the Cheney Energy Task Force: ‘War for Oil’: The Notion That Will Not Die”
Stephen J. Sniegoski
“The Last Ditch,” March 3, 2014
Those who claim that the United States went to war for oil seem to assume that since Iraq has huge reserves of oil, gaining control of that resource must have been the reason that the United States invaded the country. As the most prominent intellectual exponent of that view, Noam Chomsky, has put it:
“Of course it was Iraq's energy resources. It's not even a question. Iraq's one of the major oil producers in the world. It has the second largest reserves and it's right in the heart of the Gulf's oil-producing region, which U.S. intelligence predicts is going to be two thirds of world resources in coming years.” 
Operating from that assumption, the proponents of the war-for-oil thesis have endeavored to produce evidence that proves it, at least in their eyes. I have offered counter-evidence in my book, The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel, and elsewhere to show that the existing arguments in support of the oil-war thesis just do not provide anything close to compelling proof.  The fact that Iraq has a large amount of oil does not mean that the oil companies would necessarily push for war; instead, they could seek to exploit that oil in peaceful ways. Indeed, the companies were pushing for an end to sanctions against Iraq. A Business Week article in May 2001, for example, reported that the easing of sanctions on "rogue" states "pits powerful interests such as the pro-Israeli lobby and the U.S. oil industry against each other. And it is sure to preoccupy the Bush Administration and Congress." 
In short, an easing of sanctions supported by the oil companies, which would enable them to have access to Iraq's oil, would serve to strengthen Saddam and make it more difficult to overthrow his regime, which was the goal of the neocons, a leading element of the Israel lobby.
Moreover, the oil companies were quite fearful of the impact of war on oil production. According to oil analyst Anthony Sampson in December 2002, "Oil companies have had little influence on U.S. policy-making. Most big American companies, including oil companies, do not see a war as good for business, as falling share prices indicate." 
Fareed Mohamedi of PFC Energy, a consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., that advised petroleum firms, stated that "[t]he big oil companies were not enthusiastic about the Iraqi war," maintaining that "[c]orporations like Exxon-Mobile and Chevron-Texaco want stability, and this is not what Bush is providing in Iraq and the Gulf region." 
Despite the lack of solid evidence, and the existence of contrary evidence, the war-for-oil argument just will not die, for various political, psychological, social, and economic reasons. It fits the prevalent belief in the rapacious nature of capitalist companies, and it is also a safe view to hold — it is doubtful that anyone ever lost a job or a friend for blaming the oil interests, unless one were actually employed by an oil company. In contrast, the explanation involving the neoconservatives and Israel represents a dangerous taboo.
Given the strong attraction of the oil argument, therefore, it is appropriate to examine a prominent piece of purported evidence used by its adherents. Thus, this article will look at the role of the National Energy Policy Development Group, which President George W. Bush created in his second week in office. The group had as its purpose the creation of a national energy policy for the United States. Chaired by Vice President Dick Cheney — who in the war-for-oil scenario is assumed to be an archetypal oil man — it would be dubbed the Cheney Energy Task Force.
As Cheney's biographer Baron Gellman points out, the task force became, in many respects, a "creature of Cheney's worldview."  De-emphasizing conservation and environmental protection, Cheney believed that the United States needed a "near-term boost in domestic energy production," which had suffered from over-regulation.  In short, Cheney's view on energy production coincided with that of the producers of fossil fuels. And in developing the energy policy, he would consult closely with leading figures in the fossil-fuels industry while giving short shrift to the opinions of environmentalists, with whom he rarely met.
Perhaps because of the biased nature of the sources of his information, but also in line with his expansive view of the executive branch's prerogatives, Cheney kept the meetings secret, and only as a result of legal efforts was any information about them revealed to the public; and even then it was far from everything. It was that secrecy that the war-for-oil theorists fell upon in order to substantiate their claim that the oil interest played the leading role in bringing about the U.S. attack on Iraq.
To the adherents of the thesis, it seemed apparent that the secrecy meant that something very ominous had been discussed in those meetings that could not be made known to the public, and the most ominous development in the early Bush administration was assumed to be the planning for the attack on Iraq.
Now, there is plenty of evidence that such planning was underway, and in fact had already been made, by the neoconservatives, with whom Cheney was certainly in league and whom he had actually brought into the Bush administration. However, there is no evidence that an attack on Iraq garnered substantial support from the oil industry. Far from pushing for war, industry representatives publicly supported the elimination of sanctions on Iraq (and elsewhere) so that they could have access to oil. Moreover, they were concerned about any form of instability in the Middle East, fearing that war would disrupt the extraction and transportation of oil. Thus, ex-President George H.W. Bush and his cronies, who according to the oil-war scenario are associated with the war on Iraq, were at least cool to the war. Brent Scowcroft, for one, was actively opposed. Scowcroft had been the elder Bush's national security advisor and during the run-up to the 2003 war sat on the board of Pennzoil-Quaker State. 
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