The Prize Defined

It was August 29, 2004 I got up early and took the train into the city. This is something I don’t normally do on a day off. But this time I had to go. On the train the excitement of others was contagious, I wished I had made a banner, at least I had my button ‘NO BLOOD FOR OIL, US OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST.’ Yes I marched that day; we went right to Madison Square Garden a half a million strong we yelled, “We don’t want your stinking war.”

The Republican National Convention in 2004 was held right here in my town New York City. I went to voice my opinion, and my opinion is this war is all about oil. Last week Mr. Bush held a press conference. When I heard him say, “we will win” I started to wonder what exactly are we winning? Yes Iraq was still under the thumb of Saddam Hussein whom George Bush Sr. had left in power back in 1999, so why did they decide to remove him 4 years later. What is the ultimate prize? The prize is 2.5 million barrels a day.

Just as Abraham Lincoln hid the issue of the Civil War under the guise of freeing slaves, instead of the true reasons of tariff collection on goods being exported directly out of the South, so it is with the war in Iraq. Bush has hidden his and the US State Department agenda under the farce of “freeing the Iraq public” after first claiming “weapons of mass destruction.” What are the Iraqis being freed of? That question was answered in this quote from the address to the Institute of Petroleum held in London in 1999 by the CEO of Halliburton, Dick Cheney who said:

“By 2010 we will need on the order of an additional 50 million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from? While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with 2/3 of the world’s oil and the low cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies.”

When Cheney says low cost he means it cost only about a $1 a barrel to get the oil out of the ground in Iraq, its easy to get, easy to truck or pump, and very easy to sell.

In 2001 Cheney was appointed to head the Energy Policy Development Group by George W. Bush. He went on to add this comment, “Even though companies are anxious for greater access there, (meaning the Middle East) progress continues to be slow.”

So I realized what it is we will be winning with the UK by our side, the 80 some odd oil fields not already in production in Iraq will be placed into production along with the 17 that are currently in operation. The new government in Iraq and the Iraqi Oil Ministry is being hand fed the idea of PSA, which is a production sharing agreement. What is this? Ultimately it will give the BIG oil of the west Mobil, Exxon, BP, Shell, Chevron Texaco, Conoco Phillips, a legal way to take the oil from Iraq. This PSA agreement could give the state a 60% share and the Invested Companies a 40% share of profits. This could mean a loss of as much as $194 billion to the Nation of Iraq.

A PSA agreement could secure oil for the western world for quite a long time, while Iraq loses public control of their oil holdings by placing it in private hands. Take into consideration the word secure has two meanings. One ‘its safe and sound,’ the other means ‘to take control of,’ so while the US/UK “secure the oil” they are also writing a huge tab for long term occupation. Are Mobil, Exxon, Chevron, Shell oil companies going to pay to keep soldiers there to protect these holdings or are we the US tax payer going to foot the bill? These giants made 35 billion in 2002.

In the PSA agreement a company’s investment is not made solely in research and development it is invested in the package from ground to your gas tank…pumping and transporting the oil, so if the well runs dry so does the money. Iraq will be tied into this agreement for years and lose while foreign oil companies make billions in profits with the mostly US State Department invented idea. These agreements could control the flow of oil for up to 40 years.

The US/UK has been trying to secure the region in order to start the work of controlling the flow of oil out of Iraq. Its going to be very hard for the US to go ahead with plans to rebuild and reopen the Haifa Pipeline and pump oil directly to the Jewish nation of Israel over the land of Jordan. Israel currently buys oil from Russia. The Haifa Pipeline has not been in operation since 1948 when Iraq had the War of Independence. The cost to put this pipeline back in operation would be $400,00 per kilometer. In order to secure this entire region the US has a hard row to hoe, lets say they actually get the pipeline operating, this would mean US occupation forever to keep the oil flowing. The North occupied the South for twelve years following the end of the Civil War back in 1865.

How can Bush pull out now? He can’t he has not won his prize. He has a plan to secure that oil. Big oil companies stand to make millions, even his own dynasty the Bush family stands to profit. In his book American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, Kevin Phillips, a political and economic commentator, says:

“No other family that has fulfilled its presidential aspirations has been so involved in the ascendancy of the arms industry and of the 21st-century American imperium – often at the expense of regional and world peace and for their personal gain.”

Sondra Hickman is the author of Before Life Got Complicated (2006). Sondra was born in Tennessee, raised in South Carolina and lives in New York.