“I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,” —Alan Greenspan
A 2001 report surfaces:
Two years before the invasion of Iraq, oil executives and foreign policy advisers told the Bush administration that the United States would remain “a prisoner of its energy dilemma” as long as Saddam Hussein was in power.
The advisory committee that helped prepare the report included Luis Giusti, a Shell Corp. non-executive director; John Manzoni, regional president of British Petroleum; and David O’Reilly, chief executive of ChevronTexaco.
James Baker, the namesake for the public policy institute, was a prominent oil industry lawyer who also served as secretary of state under President George H.W. Bush, and was counsel to the Bush/Cheney campaign during the Florida recount in 2000.
Ken Lay, then-chairman of the energy trading Enron Corp., also made recommendations that were included in the Baker report.
At the time of the report, Cheney was leading an energy task force made up of powerful industry executives who assisted him in drafting a comprehensive “National Energy Policy” for President George W. Bush.
Bush’s first treasury secretary, Paul O’Neill, later described a White House interest in invading Iraq and controlling its vast oil reserves, dating back to the first days of the Bush presidency.
In Ron Suskind’s 2004 book, “The Price of Loyalty,” O’Neill said an invasion of Iraq was on the agenda at the first National Security Council. There was even a map for a post-war occupation, marking out how Iraq’s oil fields would be carved up.
Even at that early date, the message from Bush was “find a way to do this,” according to O’Neill, a critic of the Iraq invasion who was forced out of his job in December 2002.
The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer later made another discovery: a secret NSC document dated February 3, 2001 – only two weeks after Bush took office – instructing NSC officials to cooperate with Cheney’s task force, which was “melding” two previously unrelated areas of policy: “the review of operational policies towards rogue states” and “actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.” [The New Yorker, February 16, 2004]
By March 2001, Cheney’s task force had prepared a set of documents with a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as two charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and a list titled “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts,” according to information released in July 2003 under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.
both before and after the invasion, much of the US political press treated the notion that oil was a motive for invading Iraq in March 2003 as a laughable conspiracy theory.
Generally, business news outlets were much more frank about the real-politick importance of Iraq’s oil fields.
For instance, Ray Rodon, a former executive at Halliburton, the oil-service giant that Cheney once headed, said he was dispatched to Iraq in October 2002 to assess the country’s oil infrastructure and map out plans for operating Iraq’s oil industry, according to an April 14, 2003 story in Fortune magazine.
he has studied the intricacies of the Iraqi national oil company, even reviewing the firm’s organizational charts so that Halliburton and the Army can ascertain which Iraqis are reliable technocrats and which are Saddam loyalists.”
The report recommended Cheney move swiftly to integrate energy and national security policy as a means to stop “manipulations of markets by any state” and suggested that his task force include “representation from the Department of Defense.”