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Oil for Food or Blood for Oil...
This article comes from the Democracy Cell Project.
I have heard many proponents of the Iraq War, those specifically who disagreed with France's refusal to join the coalition, fling out the words, "Hey, like they've got anything to talk about. They've got the whole Oil for Food scandal." Then the same people would smirk at the idea that our soldiers are over in Iraq fighting for Iraq's oil. They say, "Blood for oil, yeh...right!"
The common theme in both appear to be the oil and the allegations of corrupt behavior to get to that oil. Can either be substantiated with solid proof? U.N. Secretary General-General Kofi Annan has praised the Oil-for-Food Programme for accomplishing one of the largest, most complex and unusual tasks ever entrusted to the Secretariat.
In a statement to the Security Council (20 November 2003), he noted that the Programme, which closed on 21 November was the only humanitarian programme ever to have been funded entirely from resources belonging to the nation it was designed to help.
Furthermore, on May 18, 2005, George Galloway took the floor of the U.S. Senate to give evidence defending himself against the allegations that he was involved in the food for oil scandal.
In his powerful rebuttal before the U.S. senate, he set the complete record straight. These were part of his fighting words:
"Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Haliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer.
"Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.
"Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government."
Now lets "have a look" at the blood for oil theory. We all know the world remains too dependent upon oil and that any disruption in the supply can damage our economy and well-being. According to the UK Guardian:
"The potency of the oil weapon is not lost on Osama bin Laden, either, who has stated that crude oil should sell at $144 a barrel - about five times the price at which it currently trades. The attack on the Limburg oil tanker off Yemen's coast may prove to be al-Qaida's first targeting of the global economy.
The Bush administration prefers not to discuss the economic effects of the war on terrorism as this could sap support domestically and abroad, especially in the Arab world where critics suspect, with good reason, the US of wanting to seize its vast petroleum riches. Instead the White House prefers to talk about imposing democracy and ridding the world of weapons of mass destruction. These are noble aims, but they are undermined by leaks suggesting a bolder grab for oil riches."
And according to worldwatch.org, gaining access to the plentiful oil in Iraq would be a definate asset to the U.S. and its businesses. Worldwatch describes the windfall this oil could mean to us as follows:
The Middle East—and specifically the Persian Gulf region—accounts for about 30 percent of global oil production. But it has about 65 percent of the planet’s known reserves, and is therefore the only region able to satisfy any substantial rise in world oil demand—an increase that the administration’s energy policy documents say is inevitable. Saudi Arabia, with 262 billion barrels, has a quarter of the world’s total reserves and is the single largest producer. But Iraq, despite its pariah status for the past 12 years, remains a key prize. At 112 billion barrels, its known reserves are second only to Saudi Arabia's. (See Table 1.) And, given that substantial portions of Iraqi territory have never been fully explored, there is a good chance that actual reserves are far larger.
So where does all this leave us? Since 2002, we have heard at least 25 different explanations from the Bush administration as to why we attacked Iraq. And since the beginning of the war, we've seen some evidence in the Downing Street Minutes that suggest that President Bush intentionally began the war with false, forged documents and an advertising blitz designed to garner support for attacking Iraq. We've heard of Nigerian documents, Wilson, Plame, and treason from this administration--all to promote the propaganda and increase support for this war.
And now, Cindy Sheehan waits outside Bush's vacation house (the Western White House) asking him to account for the loss of her beloved son and asking him, "For what noble cause did my son die?"
Blood for oil..?