Let's check another hypothesis. Let's suppose that the U.S. believed Saddam will have his irst nuke around Christmas and will then be able to produce one a week or so. Add to that another belief that he has close ties with international, anti-U.S. terrorism. What would the U.S. do in that case? Right, exactly what they are doing now. With the added benefit of being a very artistic lie: tell the truth, and even all the truth, and let other believe you are lying.
Want to discuss this one?
Not yet.. I've been focusing on the Oil topic because it doesn't get the discussion it deserves (esp. compared to WMD). For all of your argument, you're one of the few people who will actually analyze it :)
I've seen the topic of Iraqi Oil pop up in financial journals and occasionally in general news, but it's not part of the official line, and so it gets covered as such, which is disingenuous. Iraqi oil is a significant concern in the War decision.
So what? Let's see: it will not be U.S. forces. It will be coalition forces.
The UN may get involved, but probably not from the looks of it. Rumsfeld stated so today. If you mean Britain and Turkey, who he mentioned would be involved, well.. that's not a UN coalition.. that's some logistics support.
Why would the U.S. try to get control of Iraqi oil, with the inevitable international opposition problems, when it did not try to get control of Kuwaiti oil? That would have been easier to do... No international opposition. So why now?
Before Sep 11., US domestic opinion wouldn't have supported it. We weren't scared, and so still insisted on ethical war. This point was actually covered by Phil Gramm last week in a University speech. I don't remember his full account, but he basically said that the difference in policy (i.e. why no regime change then and regime change now?) is not confusing.. it's simply based on changing circumstances, namely 9/11. We're prepared to act unilaterally for the same reasons.
Now before you say "well shoot, sounds like a good reason to go to war to me!".. I agree that is a valid consideration. However, you should then allow another angle: "Now that people are scared, they won't care what kind of war is waged, moral or greedy".
Either way, WMDs, terrorism; they're another topic.. baby steps.
And it is not even worth it. To start with, your 8 trillion dollars figure assumes that the price of oil will not come down when Iraqi production increases. With the inevitable investments in production, you can at least halve it. In addition, that's over what? 150
year? 200 years? So that's 20 to 25 billion dollars a year, and maybe half that in gas. Not worth it.
Fortunately, the absolute value of the Oil isn't as interesting as this: it's the second largest oil supply in the world, and the largest oil supply not controlled by a "friendly" state.
A full economics workup, to assess its real or long-term value, is definitely beyond either of us (unless you happen to be an noted economist; I only minored in Industrial Management ;)
Just to support my evidence: In my oil estimate (the 8T figure), I used an approximate price based on NYMEX figures over the last few months ($25 is actually significantly lower than today's price). The point of this estimate was just to put a rough approximation on the market value of Iraqi Oil assuming nothing about its production. Production and marketing of the oil would reduce its value significantly. But that doesn't change it's relative value; that's a fact that impresses at least the US Dept. of Energy.
I agree that oil motives are a worthwhile hypothesis. But that's it: hypothesis, nothing less, nothing more. Not proved, not conclusive, not fact.
I guess we both have our biases. While I acknowledged that determining the value of Iraqi Oil to US Oil interests is the weakest link (and so I'm studying it more), I expect it to remain elusive, and so I'm still biased to say the big picture is convincing:
Iraqi Oil is part of the Bush Administration's considerations for War, and they aren't showing that to the public because it would clearly be a conflict of interest since they're best buddies with the US Oil industry.
So it's not inconceivable that, one night when Chirac is drunk, he will order the French Foreign Legion to kill all U.S. troops in Iraq, and sink a couple of U.S. carriers just for fun (and to see if those Exocet II really work as advertised). It is not probable, but is it inconceivable? Brutish, un-savvy, internationally stupid tactics were invented in Europe, you know. Europe just forgot to patent them - not enough lawyers I guess.
Please warn if this is the tone you plan to set for argument: I'm not interested.
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