U.S. Troops Should Leave
Country, But How Will America Then Keep Control of Oil
By Linda McQuaig
Star " -- - Advising the Bush
administration on how to deal with the Iraq fiasco, the
report of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group urges the
president to clarify that Washington does not seek to
control Iraq's oil.
It then gets down to business and sets out exactly how
Washington should take control of Iraq's oil.
The report calls for Iraq to pass a Petroleum Law — to
be drafted with U.S. help — that would allow foreign oil
companies to develop Iraq's vast and largely undeveloped
oil reserves (which, the report notes, are the
second-largest in the world).
It's hard not to feel exasperated reading the report.
Released in the wake of the Republican trouncing in the
U.S. mid-term elections, it generated excitement that
George Bush's imperial adventure was finally coming
under sharp attack, and that senior figures from both
parties would force the president into line.
Instead, the report reveals the extent of the imperial
mindset — shared by both Democrats and Republicans —
that is the very heart of the problem of American
foreign policy in Iraq, and elsewhere.
Yes, the report acknowledges the extent of the Iraq
debacle, and outlines a strategy for getting U.S. troops
But it's essentially the strategy of the Bush
administration: Create an Iraqi army strong enough to
handle security — within the context of a
One senses the impatience inside the White House and the
Iraq Study Group. For heaven's sake, it's almost four
years since the invasion! How long does it take to get a
competent puppet government and army up and running?
The report sets out a vision for extending U.S. control
over Iraq. U.S. officials will be embedded everywhere:
U.S. soldiers inside the Iraqi army, American trainers
inside the Iraqi police, FBI agents inside the interior
ministry, CIA agents inside intelligence operations.
The report even specifies that Iraqi consumers must pay
more for oil, and that the Iraqi Central Bank must raise
interest rates to 20 per cent — before the end of this
All this is in line with Bush's contempt for meaningful
Iraqi self-government, as illustrated by the massive,
new $1 billion U.S. embassy he's built in Baghdad, which
has 1,000 employees, only six of whom speak fluent
Arabic. Six! Presumably the other 994 employees are busy
bringing democracy to Iraq — by talking to each other or
The reluctance to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq has
nothing to do with fears of a bloodbath, which is
Washington contributes to the bloodbath, through its own
violence and by allowing death squads, operating within
the Iraqi army, to murder enemies of the U.S.-sponsored
U.S. troops are only worsening the situation. They
should leave. But that would involve giving up control
over a country Washington has already spent $400 billion
trying to subdue. And then how would America get control
of all that oil?
Linda McQuaig is a commentator and author of It's the
Crude, Dude. Email to: email@example.com
© 2006 The Toronto Star