Friday, March 07, 2014

Why We Did It

I watched the Rachel Maddow "documentary" on MSNBC last night on Why We Did It, referring to the Iraq War. Her conclusion was that it was about oil. Shocker! There wasn't much new information presented. There were meetings in the fall of 2002 before the war about oil but it fits nicely into the planning for the peace after the war and that since the Iraqi economy was based on oil, this wasn't that surprising.

A few times they showed some documents that were reports on the meetings (one was from BP meeting in the US) and they pulled a few quotes, but if you paused and read the whole document it wasn't particularly damning. They weren't talking about dividing up the oil or taking control as much as trying to figure out a system to get oil flowing after the war. Okay. Apparently the goal was to get oil flowing to keep the global price down, which to me doesn't line up with oil executives trying to make a fortune. Wouldn't they want higher prices? The one time they talked about something being previously unrevealed before this show was about a post war oil meeting happening in executive offices in Houston instead of in Washington in some military facility. That doesn't seem like a smoking gun to me.

Like many people suspected at the time, the war was about oil and the WMD argument was a lie. That's not right (and I think should probably be a war crime) but we've known that for years. But once you get past that, does it matter if the goal was to personally profit from the oil (say as a large share holder in Haliburton) or to ensure the world market was stable? Those seem like different things to me. Of course a decade of war didn't stabilize oil prices and if ensuring the long term energy needs of the west was the goal, it would have made more sense (to me) to move us off of oil and onto other sources (even as we were rapidly expanding our own fracking).

Anyway I was disappointed in the show, I didn't learn anything.

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