Vail Valley Voices: U.S. played for fool in Iraq |

Vail Valley Voices: U.S. played for fool in Iraq

Bill Sepmeier
Vail, CO, Colorado

Americans have ponied up – or more accurately, we’ve been rounded up – in the name of fighting terror lovin’ terrorists since 2003, to the tune of some $3 trillion to wage war on Iraq so that we could build the largest military bases, embassies and prisons in the world there.

The long war has turned that country into our police station in the “bad neighborhood” where, like a lot of addicts, we go to buy our drug of choice – oil.

Former Vice President Cheney’s secret “energy policy” was based on this relocation of our police station from Saudi Arabia, where it had been sited since World War II, a policy specifically cited by Bin Laden as a primary motive for his associates’ adventures on Sept. 11, 2001.

Bin Laden got what he asked for. We abandoned our bases, pulled out our troops and moved them next door.

So what did we get for our money, for the lives of the men and women lost, the lives crushed by injury?

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According to The Associated Press, “The Iraqi government … has approved a contract with a British-Chinese consortium to develop a prized oil field in southern Iraq, a significant achievement for a country that has struggled to attract foreign investors despite its vast natural resource wealth.

“According to the agreement, BP will hold a 38 percent stake in the venture and CNPC will have a 37 percent share. Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization will control the rest.

“The BP-CNPC consortium originally bid to take $3.99 per barrel produced but later slashed the offer to the $2 per barrel payment sought by the Iraqi Oil Ministry. The competing bid in June was from a consortium led by U.S. giant Exxon Mobil, which refused to amend its offer of $4.80 per barrel.”

If this doesn’t gall you, there’s the news that a consortium headed by Italy’s ENI has signed a deal to develop the giant Zubair field for a remuneration fee of $2 per barrel. At Iraq’s oilfield auction in June, the consortium, like Exxon-Mobile, refused to go below $4.40 a barrel. The Italians obviously didn’t feel entitled to anything. They met the going rate and won the prize.

The Chinese, British and Italians will get a couple of bucks per barrel for the oil they produce in a country the American taxpayers “liberated” and defend on their behalf.

Since they will have no real cost of goods sold, a couple of bucks per barrel will probably return a profit or at least cover the costs. Iraqi oil is as easy to produce as west Texas light crude once was before we drained west Texas decades ago. And the cost of security in the region is being born by someone else – us. We will pay retail for any of that oil that makes it to the spot market.

Far more important than the token revenues, though, is that a significant part of the future Chinese, British and Italian oil supply is now assured, thanks to the United States. That’s security we taxpayers will be paying interest on – to the Chinese! – for the rest of our lives.

Our government accumulates hundreds of billions in debt in our names to defend an oil supply for the folks we borrow from. We put our sons’ and daughters’ lives on the line defending what’s now consortium majority-owner China’s oil.

Our largest creditor, China, lost no lives, injured none of its citizens and makes a nice profit on the funds it loaned us so that we could provide the muscle to obtain and defend the future Chinese oil supply.

The U.S. oil company Exxon-Mobile and, by proxy, the United States itself, loses all the deals.

We lose a priceless future oil reserve supply, as well as any return on our national investment of life and treasure in Iraq oil energy security, since we are obviously still in denial. We’re playing the same old short game, looking for next quarter’s numbers rather than a secure portion of the nation’s energy supply five to 10 years down the road.

Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens told Congress recently that U.S. energy companies are “entitled” to some of Iraq’s crude.

“They’re opening them (oil fields) up to other companies all over the world. … We’re entitled to it,” Pickens said of Iraq’s oil. “Heck, we even lost 5,000 of our people, 65,000 injured and a trillion, five hundred billion dollars.”

“Entitled?” The government we established in Iraq is selling their nation’s oil on the free market. As long as U.S. oil monopoly Exxon-Mobile refuses to meet the free market, a market made up of global players who understand their national oil security is worth far more than short-term profits in the new age of declining supplies, the U.S. taxpayer will receive absolutely nothing on George Bush, Dick Cheney and, now, Barack Obama’s continued investments of American treasure and lives in Iraq.

What should we do, Mr. Pickens? Invade? Again? Overthrow the democratically elected, purple-thumbed Iraqi voters’ government and just take the oil? If so, why did our leaders bother with the years of charades concerning the real reasons American troops have died there?

The Iraqis seem to have beaten us at our own games: democracy and capitalism.

Welcome to the Colonies, folks.

Bill Sepmeier lives off the grid on Sweetwater Creek.

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