How the U.S. is working to secure Iraq’s oil — one of the most important sources of petrochemical energy on the planet — and how the Iraqis are resisting.
In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2002-2003, oil was seldom mentioned. Yes, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz did describe the country as afloat “on a sea of oil” (which might fund any American war and reconstruction program there); and, yes, on rare occasions, the President did speak reverentially of preserving “the patrimony of the people of Iraq” — by which he meant not cuneiform tablets or ancient statues in the National Museum in Baghdad, but the country’s vast oil reserves, known and suspected. And yes, oil did make it prominently onto the signs of war protestors at home and abroad.
Everybody who was anybody in Washington and the media, not to speak of the punditocracy and think-tank-ocracy of our nation knew, however, that those bobbing signs among the millions of antiwar demonstrators that said “No Blood for Oil” were just so simplistic, if not utterly simpleminded. Oil news, as was only proper, was generally relegated to the business pages of our papers, or even more properly — since it was at best but one modest factor among so very many in Bush administration calculations — roundly ignored.