The Biggest Gas Station on Earth

By Mike Whitney

04/26/06 "
ICH" -- -- Oil finished at $72.35 at the close of the market on Tuesday.

The current price per barrel is just one more damning bit of evidence that the Iraq war was waged on a mountain of lies. The oil industry is built on projections; they pride themselves on knowing where every drop of petroleum is located across the planet. They knew this day was coming. They knew that the world was facing shortages and that they’d have to hoodwink the American people into a war.

They also knew they could count on Bush to mobilize public opinion behind a smokescreen of fabrications about “mushroom clouds” and Niger uranium.

Here’s something to think about while President Buffoon goes through his “conservation” gyrations on national TV.

In 2001, Bush family consigliore, James Baker, presented a report to the powerful Council on Foreign Relations which found that “a new era of energy scarcity was upon the world…presenting fundamental obstacles to continued growth and prosperity.” (Lawrence Shoup “The CFR Debates Torture” Z Magazine March 2006)

Baker’s conclusions resulted in the formation of the White House Energy Policy Development Group headed by Dick Cheney. This was the secretive group of oil executives which divided up Iraq’s enormous oil reserves before the first bomb was dropped. The plan was clearly endorsed by American elites at the CFR who must have known the WMD-scare was a ruse from the very beginning.

The plan to steal Iraq’s oil puts Bush’s farcical “on-air” burlesque into perspective. US foreign policy is driven by the oil industry, just as the decision to invade was decided on the basis of peak oil, not WMD.

Now that gas is topping $3 per gallon, we should consider the heavy price the American people have paid to ensure that profits continue to soar for the oil giants.

In 2002, before the war, Saddam was producing 2.6 million barrels of oil per day even with the debilitating sanctions still in place. Currently, (given the success of Iraqi resistance attacks on pipelines) Iraqi oil production has dropped to a meager 1.1 million barrels per day. In other words, Bush’s war has taken 1.5 million barrels a day “off line”; the precise amount the global market requires to reduce prices to the $45 per barrel range.

Consider this: the United States has spent roughly $300 billion on the war so far. At 1.1 million barrels per day (396 million barrels per year) we are currently spending $274 per barrel which translates into $12 per gallon at the pump.

$12 per gallon!!!

This represents the greatest surcharge on petroleum the world has ever seen. Think of it as the Bush Gas Tax, a boondoggle that quadruples the price of gas while killing 2,400 American servicemen and 100,000 Iraqis in the process.

Bush’s ruminations on “price gouging” are ludicrous. It was Bush who spearheaded this monstrous rip-off, now he’s pretending to defend the common man by playing “consumer-advocate”.

What fakery.

His record on conservation is nearly as abysmal as his guru Dick Cheney who said, “Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound comprehensive energy policy.” (April 30, 2001)

Cheney is wrong. He saw the Baker report; if he had America’s interests in mind, he would have initiated an massive restructuring of the economy focusing attention on conservation, rapid-transit, hybrid cars, and green technologies. Instead, 5 years later the American public is still lumbering around in their coal-powered SUVs choking the atmosphere, depleting the ozone, killing the ecosystem and scalding the planet. The administration’s inaction has put the country on the path to catastrophe.

The Bush-Cheney plan is predicated on the belief that we can steal enough oil to keep the economy chugging along while the other, weaker countries flounder. It must be shocking for him to see that the Iraqi resistance has other plans.

But, Cheney isn’t alone in his shortsightedness or his intransigence. The main contenders in the Democratic Party (Clinton, Kerry, Dodd, Biden, and Lieberman) still support the ongoing occupation; defending America’s free access to dwindling oil supplies to the bitter end.

Presidential elections will not resolve this issue, the system is broken. There are no political solutions. We should be looking at developments in Nepal to understand how this dilemma will eventually be decided.

In Iraq, we see a nation that has been utterly destroyed to service the energy needs of a foreign economy. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been killed, maimed, displaced or traumatized. The water and soil has been poisoned with depleted uranium, malnutrition has grown to epidemic levels, academics and intellectuals have been assassinated by death squads; museums, graveyards, war memorials and mosques have been looted or demolished in a wanton act of cultural genocide. The entire civilization is being decimated to fill the coffers of oil magnates, plutocrats, and corrupt politicians.

Presently, the finishing touches are being put on an $800 million American embassy in Baghdad, a “fortress-like compound the size of Vatican City”. It symbolizes America’s determination to subjugate the Iraqi people and pilfer their resources. It will be the biggest gas station on earth; a fitting testimonial to George Bush and the Washington war-mongers.

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