Carol Platt Liebau: All About Oil?

Monday, September 17, 2007

All About Oil?

Contrary to some of the breathless headlines circulating yesterday, Alan Greenspan did not say that America had gone to war with Iraq for oil. Rather, as Bob Woodward writes, he clarified that although the administration had other motives for the war, securing Iraq's oil was essential to the world economy.

Is there any grown up that this surprises? Of course, if one has a madman sitting atop one of the world's big oil supplies, it's a problem for the world economy. And perhaps those who highmindedly denounce considering oil as part of any military calculation or strategic plan would prefer to walk to work, or maybe lose their job as the American (and global) economy collapses.

Our dependence on oil may not be what we'd all wish (and would be alleviated if liberals would permit America to tap some of its own vast oil resources). But that's the way it is right now, and it's childish and naive to deny it.


Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

I was taken aback by this statement:

and would be alleviated if liberals would permit America to tap some of its own vast oil resources

We have already tapped our vast oil resources and what we have left isn't very vast. Here's a quote from a USGS assessment in 2005:

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently completed a new assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the central part of the Alaska North Slope and the adjacent offshore area. Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the USGS estimates that there are undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 4.0 billion barrels of oil, 37.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 478 million barrels of natural gas liquids.

Now, this covers only the "undiscovered" reserves. We must also add in the "discovered" reserves, which according to the most optimistic estimates come in about 15 billion barrels. Thus, the total amount of oil available to us in the North Slope is, at best, 23 billion barrels.

How big is this? The US consumes over 7 billion barrels of oil per year. The North Slope oil would last us just over three years. Had we sucked it all up back in the 80s when conservatives were demanding we do so, we would have zero oil there now, and no buffer against interruptions in supply.

If you don't give a fig about the environment, perhaps you can at least acknowledge the merits of marshaling our reserves?

9:05 AM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

And many scientist would say it's childish and naive to think there isn't global warming and we can burn all that oil in Iraq.

As much and Bush petro buddies would like to get their hands on Iraqi oil, they seem to be doing a rather poor job of it. 300,000 children killed. 600,000 innocent adult Iraqis killed. Four million refugees. One third of the nation in need of urgent emergency aid. Second worst failed state in the world.

If we follow Bush, we should all be killing each other for a free fill-up at the local gas station.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

According to a new study, 1.2 million Iraqis have met violent deaths since the 2003 invasion. The study was done by the British polling firm ORB. The study's margin of error was plus-minus 2.4 percent.

These numbers suggest that the invasion and occupation of Iraq rivals the great crimes of the last century -- the human toll exceeds the 800,000 to 900,000 believed killed in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and is approaching the number (1.7 million) who died in Cambodia's infamous "Killing Fields" during the Khmer Rouge era of the 1970s.

2:01 PM  
Blogger One Salient Oversight said...

Put simply, there just isn't enough American oil. Even if you drill the remaining untapped reservoirs the supply won't even make a dent on the demand.

The problem isn't America running out of oil, it's everywhere running out of oil.

3:44 PM  
Blogger The Very Sane Woman Who Points Out the Obvious said...

This is so transparent. Saying that the rationale for the war on Iraq was because of the economy, not oil, is akin to a bank robber saying that he didn't rob the bank for the money inside but the economic opportunity that the act might provide.

It still boils down to the same thing. To keep our cars running, make the plastics, and the jets in the air, we invaded a far off land and caused, directly and indirectly, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

So let's review the series of rationalization for the war?

1. Saddam Hussein has mass destruction weapons.
2. Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.
3. Saddam Hussein was a dictatorial tyrant and had to be removed by us in a bloody war.
4. There are terrorists in Iraq. We must fight them.
5. We want to keep the economy rolling.

At least the last rationalization is honest. But it is craven, even childish. Are you saying that we don't have the grit, the resourcefulness, the elbow grease, and the imagination to keep ourselves going without Iraq's oil?

I guess that conservatives imagine that we're a bunch of children, spoiled by cheap oil. This is the nanny state mentality if I ever saw it.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

Coyote here.

Enough crocodile tears for the civilian casualties in Iraq.

No one was shedding tears during the 30 years of Saddam's brutal rule. No one was shedding tears during the Iran-Iraq war. No one sheds tears when Iraqs kill each other, except when the blood spatters on lily white liberal consciences.

You didn't care then; you don't really care know.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:34 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Speak for yourself, Coyote. I was in fact very concerned about the heavy loss of life during the Iran/Iraq war (which most Americans regarded with some schadenfreude) as well as the serious problems visited upon the Iraqi civilian population by Mr. Hussein's policies during the 1990s.

As I have already advised another correspondent, making assumptions about the internal thought processes of other people is usually an exercise in personal fantasy.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

Rumsfeld and Bush(41) supplied the chemical weapons. I do think Coyote is projecting his own uncaring thoughts here. Saddam Hussein is not an excuse to destroy a country and kill over a million innocent people. Especially when you've already admitted you're justified in the killing because you want their oil.

11:09 AM  
Blogger The Very Sane Woman Who Points Out the Obvious said...

Yes, Coyote, I think you've gone a little too far here. Plenty of us wrote letters to congress and the Reagan administration, asking for a clear condemnation of Saddam Hussein for the Iran Iraq war.

The UN Security Council voted almost unanimously to condemn Hussein during the war. The only vote against the condemnation was from the US.

And your protests don't take away from my original point. The war supporters finally admit that the war is about oil.

What shame.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

Coyote here.

Chepe wrote "making assumptions about the internal thought processes of other people is usually an exercise in personal fantasy"

Is not this quoted comment itself an assumption about internal thought processes of other people? Are we also to label it a personal fantasy?

Also, a legitimate area for discussion is the motivation of various actors and critics. How do we distinguish between motive and internal thought process? The potential for personal gain won't do because gain can take many indirect and intangible forms.

And so what if the war is about oil? I believe the war was about security, one element of which is securing the oil supplies on which the world runs. No one has suggested a US intention to seize the reserves, as Saddam tried to do with Kuwait.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

Coyote here.

The comment below is from Marshall Art. It has been edited. Marshall, please note the edits.

MARSHALL ART writes: "For the record, I believe that British report of Iraqi dead to be [horsefeathers]. But ETC is willing to swallow whole any scrap that sullies the administration. [Text deleted]. Even more [wrongheaded in my view] is the implication that Iraqi civilian deaths are the fault of coalition forces. {Text deleted.]

6:35 AM  
Blogger Greg said...


Contrary to my normal practice concerning your commentary, this time I'll bite.

Who killed "over a million innocent people"? Where do you get this stuff? Is/are your source(s) reliable and verifiable?


I'm a little disappointed here. Usually you're the one demanding substantiation of claims on this site. Why aren't you the one asking thess questions of ETC?

Could it be that you accept these claims as fact? Could it be that these claims are aligned with your pre-conceived notions? Could it be that you are not so open minded as your early comments claimed?

8:14 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Coyote, my statement about personal fantasies is a generalization about human nature; what I am objecting to is a statement about an individual's thought processes.

You're right that motivation is a significant consideration but, barring personal testimony, we simply can't know motivations. For example, the claim is sometimes made the Mr. Bush attacked Iraq because of Mr. Hussein's plot to kill Mr. Bush senior. I set aside claims, not because I believe them to be false or true, but because I consider them unverifiable either way.

9:14 AM  

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