Written by the Republican senator Thad Cochran, the amendment allows the state of Mississippi to claim mineral rights under federal lands and allow drilling for natural gas under the national park. As a preliminary step it will permit seismic testing - detonating soundwave explosions - to locate oil and gas deposits in the park, a practice that has been linked to the death of whales and demonstrated to damage the hearing of fish....
Environmentalists are particularly angry because they believe the amendment was sneaked through in an attempt to avoid any public debate. "The idea was that because it was an emergency military bill there would only be limited public debate, very few people would question or even see what was in the bill, and it would move fast. It was a stealth amendment," Ms Oakes told the Guardian.
The Republicans prefer supplemental appropriations for a number of reasons, not the list of which is this: it allows them to clandestinely advance unpopular policies.
I want to think that the “no blood for oil” folks are around the bend, and that the war in Iraq is not about simple resource greed. But when I find a historian of American militarism who pushes the resource issue, I guess I have to consider the thing again.
I was surfing war blogs yesterday and I ended up at this amazon entry for The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced By War
The interesting thing was that after reading a long review (the first one, by William Brennan) about American attitudes towards the military, I hit this paragraph:
Bacevich clearly links our present predicaments both at home and abroad to the ever greater need for natural resources, especially oil from the Persian Gulf. He demolishes all of the reasons for our bellicosity based on ideals and links it directly to our insatiable appetite for oil and economic expansion. Naturally, like thousands of writers before him, he points out the need for a national energy policy based on more effective use of resources and alternative means of production.
Since then I've stopped in at a bookstore and glanced at a copy. Chapter 7 is indeed titled "Blood For Oil" and seems to follow the lines of that summary. The author suggests that we see riches and freedom as one thing, and so oil is needed for our freedom.
"No blood for oil" is an over-simplification, but there is no doubt that America has a vital interest in Middle East politics because of the oil under the sand. We care far less about the affairs of Elbonia, where the only commercial export is mud.
It's an odd thing. We are not in Iraq because we want their oil but at the same time the only reason we are interested in the middle east to begin with is the oil. But it is not simply "greed for oil" as if we are there only to make oil companies rich. During the Cold War we backed people like the Shaw of Iran because we looked at the map and saw how easy it would be (so we thought) for Russia to over run the middle east and cut off our energy supply. There were real world strategic reasons to keep the oil flowing. Of course now (as then) there are real world strategic reasons to find a different way to meet our energy needs.
I'm going to think about this some more, and write a longer bit on my blog tomorrow.
But I think the thing we can feel good about now is that no one made "war for oil" the public banner for either Iraqi invasion, and no one (significant) on the American political spectrum would have gone for it if they had.
Instead, our oil "needs" and "wants" are tied up with a bunch of other lurching interests and motivations that put us in this place.
Ultimately, I think Iraq II happened because a group of Neocons tried to fullfill their fantasy. Converting the Iraqi oil supply to private ownership was one (well documented, now) part of that fantasy.
Now that we're left with the ruin of that Neocon dream, I think we have to look again at what component of it amounts (stated or not) to "blood for oil" and then deal with that.
.. thanks for listening.
The invasion of Iraq is definitely a neo-con fantasy, and has been for a decade or more. Why Iraq? A lot of reasons: world opinion against Saddam Hussein, an easy military target, and enormous strategic influence because of oil reserves.
Note that we're bringing democracy to Iraq, but aren't too worried about democracy in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait.