Politics: Iraq is war for oil?

I hear that a lot.

Let's face it, there is some truth to it. After all, if Iraq wasn't sitting on top of all that oil, Hussein would not have had the wealth to be the dictator he was. Imagine Iraq without oil. What kind of damage would Hussein be able to do? Probably he could still oppress his people but he probably wouldn't have had the resources to wage a long war with Iran nor invade Kuwait. He wouldn't have had the money to dabble in chemical, biological or nuclear weapons technology.

We also have to face the fact that Iraq is neighbor to other big oil producers Saudi Arabia and Iran. Thus, all the nations that depend on oil have an interest in what happens in that part of the world.

Just how much oil are we talking about?

According to the CIA World Factbook, Iraq produces 2 million barrels of oil a day.

If oil is sold for say at $60/barrel, one can buy all of Iraq's production with $120 million/day. That means you could buy all that oil for $43.8 billion/year.

How much is the cost of our military presence in Iraq?

According to this MSNBC.com item, the war costs $200 million/day and since the invasion, the cost is at $300 billion and climbing.

Which makes more economic sense: buy the oil and tolerate a dictator or send in the military to take the oil?

Seems to me, if the Bush administration is fighting a war for oil, they have failed miserably on economic grounds alone.

This may sound crude but if one were really to fight a war for oil, what one would do is send in the army and capture all the cities that are important to oil production. As for the rest of the cities, let the Sunnis and Shia fight amongst themselves and kill each other off. If any body threatens the oil producing areas, just send in the B-52s to bomb the insurgents without regard to collateral damage.

If the US wanted to do this, would anyone be able to stop the American military?

The French would complain! Actually, the whole world would complain! But would anybody actually be able to STOP it?


However, that is not the American way. Instead, what are we doing?

We are trying to help the Iraqis set up their own government.

Sure would be a lot easier if we had a military governor whose sole job is to keep the oil flowing and kill off anybody who threatens the oil production and distribution infrastructure.

So is it a war for oil?

It is part of the equation. But clearly if that was our ONLY concern, we would be doing things a lot differently!