Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Blood for Awl

A recurring trope of anti-war activists in the last decade is that the U.S. interventions around the globe but in particular Iraq were all about oil. In addition the evil Bush/Cheney were, as they say in Texas, awl bidnessmen so ipso facto they were prosecuting military action in Iraq on behalf of their cronies in the petroleum industry.

The Big Lie it is said can be created by repeating a falsehood ofen enough that it becomes "fact" in the public mind. The "no blood for oil" trope may not quite merit the status of Big Lie but at a minimum it is a "Little Lie" created by a similar process. Even the most cursory examination of the facts shows this trope to be baloney squared but rather than tromp around in that swamp I prefer to examine the oft placarded words themselves. The assumption in all the thusly lettered protest placards is that it is a very bad thing indeed, evil even, for any head of state to procecute a war merely for the purpose of securing oil supplies for either its population or its petro-businessmen.

Another obvious implication is that no person of reasonable intelligence could argue with the proposition that warring for crude is a bad thing due to the manifest truth of it. In other words intelligent people can only be repelled by a war to obtain oil supplies. To believe otherwise is prima facie evidence of a sub cro-magnon putridity of concience rivaled only by the immense moral vacuum of, say, a Heinrich Himmler.

The question I have for the placard wavers is this. Is there any vitally important resource that a society might not fight to obtain if the shortages are severe enough? History answers that question very nicely but the placard brandishers seem to be saying that we should be now be evolved enough to consider a war for resources utterly contemptible. In nearly all cases, oil included, this would be true but not because of the inherent villainy of the proposition but rather the fact that wars for resources in the face of the currently structured global commodities markets simply make very little sense. The cost in blood and treasure is simply too high to justify such an enterprise. The return on investment would be ludicrously negative.

One will notice in the case of Iraq that to whatever extent their crude production capacities have increased in the aftermath of the conflict every barrel of has been sold on the international commodities market and not a single drop of it has been directly tranported to the U.S. without proper payment via the commodities market. Iraq is possessed of considerable crude supplies but it is a fairly small player percentage wise so even in the unlikely event of villianous oilmen directly stealing its crude the world price would scarcely budge.

So in effect the anti blood for oil crowd is voicing a legitimate sentiment but for all the wrong reasons. The left hates war and they hate oil. Hating war is, to them, a no-brainer and adding oil to the distaste is pure bonus. War is just plain awful and oil of course is the primary bugaboo of the environmental left. So not only is war horrid a war for icky planet killing oil is well and truly beyond the pale. If bloody war is bad and oil is a monumental villain then "no blood for oil" is a rhetorical slam dunk. Quite a pity then that there have not actually been any wars for oil prosecuted by this country and no others come to mind that were strictly about obtaining this resource. A sober examination of the facts has however not exactly been the strong suit of the environmental left.

One can disapprove of the military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan on any number of legitimate grounds but the Little Lie that they were all about oil is simply not one of them.

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