Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Warped post war priorities: Secure oil or ammo?

Today brings news that the CIA conducted a pre invasion operation in Iraq to save the oil fields from being destroyed.
[Rep. Joe]Wilson [R, S.C.] said that "extraordinary efforts had been made to make sure that the oil wells were not blown up. The CIA, of all things, had provided funds to the persons who worked in the oil industry that if they stopped Saddam Hussein from blowing up the wells they would be employed. Plus, they would also be given money in advance and at the conclusion -- like $100 in advance and $100 afterwards to make sure the oil wells weren't blown up -- and that's a reason they weren't."
Oddly enough, I do not believe the invasion of Iraq was simply a grab for the oil fields. I believe the administration considered the oil a nice benefit, but not the most important reason for the invasion. I think the underlying reason was George Bush's determination to end what he thought of as a family feud between the Bush's and Hussein's, while being surrounded by people who thought invading Iraq would be a good idea based upon a very dubious academic theory. How it is that logical people could be brought to believe that American force of arms and occupation in an Arab land would not result in catastrophe is simply mind boggling. Yet the neocons were convinced they could change the entire dynamic in the middle east with flowering democracy and western style civilization as the happy result.

They found a willing commander in chief in President Bush based in part on the sons perceptions of his fathers performance as President. By Junior's logic, senior had not completed the job. He had allowed Saddam to live and then made America look bad by quashing rebellion that we had encouraged. Then on a personal level Saddam had tried to assassinate senior. It did not take much, if any, convincing by the neocons for junior to be brought on board the invasion bandwagon.

Once the invasion was underway however, the actions taken by this administration certainly contributed to the impression that oil was the reason we invaded. Immediately after the invasion American forces moved to secure the oil fields and the Oil Ministry building in downtown Baghdad. This at the same time that Iraq was plunged into chaos with looters sacking museums and trucks being rented out by locals to whoever wanted to drive up and load them with vast amounts of material from the unguarded ammo dumps dotting the countryside. The losses incurred due to this early looting can not be calculated. American lives are still being spent daily due to the arming of the nascent insurgency from unguarded ammo dumps. The historical artifacts stolen from the cradle of civilization are priceless and can not be replaced. All this while our forces formed a protective shield around the oil ministry.

Who can blame the Iraqi's for questioning our motives? And today's revelation by Rep. Wilson just makes it more obvious that our priorities were warped. Saving the oil wells was a big priority, with plenty of pre war planning and even secret operations by the CIA going into the effort. What in the world made our leadership think the oil protection part of the equation through so carefully, but entirely disregard the rest of post invasion planning. It borders on criminal to occupy a nation and allow that nations armories to be left unguarded and looted for use by those who will fight the occupation.

I believe the families who have lost loved ones in this war have a right to know. What made protecting the oil so much more important than guarding the explosives that fell into the wrong hands? Was it not the President himself who said where mistakes have been made, he accepts responsibility?

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