After denying for years that the war on Iraq was meant to secure US oil interests, Bush is now admitting the truth.
As he barnstorms across the country campaigning for Republican candidates in Tuesday’s elections, Bush has been citing oil as a reason to stay in Iraq. If the United States pulled its troops out prematurely and surrendered the country to insurgents, he warns audiences, it would effectively hand over Iraq’s considerable petroleum reserves to terrorists who would use it as a weapon against other countries.
“You can imagine a world in which these extremists and radicals got control of energy resources,” he said at a rally here Saturday for Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.). “And then you can imagine them saying, ‘We’re going to pull a bunch of oil off the market to run your price of oil up unless you do the following. And the following would be along the lines of, well, ‘Retreat and let us continue to expand our dark vision.’ ”
Bush said extremists controlling Iraq “would use energy as economic blackmail” and try to pressure the United States to abandon its alliance with Israel. At a stop in Missouri on Friday, he suggested that such radicals would be “able to pull millions of barrels of oil off the market, driving the price up to $300 or $400 a barrel.”
Unfortunately, Bush can’t speak the entire truth. Oil at $300 or $400 a barrel will only happen if there’s a huge supply shock. Even if all of OPEC cuts production, it won’t happen; the US sits on 1.2 trillion barrels of oil shale that cost $30/bbl to recover, and Canada sits on 1.7 trillion barrels of tar sand oil that cost $12.50/bbl to recover.
Still, it’s good to see that Bush, whose supporters credit his success in the election to moral values, is honest about continuing an occupation that kills 500 civilians a day in order to keep oil prices at the low, low level of $65/bbl.