# Kucinich: Oil companies and Cheney met secretly about Iraq war in 2001

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http://kucinich.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=95430

Kucinich has stated, in no uncertain terms, that the Iraq war was about oil, citing secret meetings between the Cheney Energy Task Force and executives from Exxon, Shell and BP:

“In March of 2001, when the Bush Administration began to have secret meetings with oil company executives from Exxon, Shell and BP, spreading maps of Iraq oil fields before them, the price of oil was $23.96 per barrel. Then there were 63 companies in 30 countries, other than the US, competing for oil contracts with Iraq. “Today the price of oil is$135.59 per barrel, the US Army is occupying Iraq and the first Iraq oil contracts will go, without competitive bidding to, surprise, (among a very few others) Exxon, Shell and BP.

“Iraq has between 200 – 300 billion barrels of oil with a market value in the tens of trillions of dollars. And our government is trying to force Iraq not only to privatize its oil, but to accept a long-term US military presence to guard the oil and protect the profits of the oil companies while Americans pay between $4 and$5 a gallon for gas, while our troops continue dying.

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Does anyone else notice how Marxist the "Iraq was over oil" argument is? I'm saying its illegitimate because of that or anything. After all, I don't think Alan Greenspan is a raving Marxist. But still, it's Marx's basic logic. Economics is the primary determinate of the course of nations; capitalist economies expand until they exhaust their markets and natural resources; they then must fight wars to access new markets and natural resources.

Probably neither here nor there.

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I don't think a response that reaches the same conclusion as Marx makes it a Marxist response, CDarwin.

Marx did warn about the influence of corporations on government, but so have many others. Few, if any, of them have been big supporters of capitalism (I think Teddy Roosevelt might have been, but don't remember the specifics), but most of them are supportive of democratic principles.

In the case of Iraq being a war for oil, it's been pretty clear that was the case from the beginning. You don't guard an office building (the Ministry of Oil) while the city is being looted unless gaining control of that building was your primary goal.

What has kept the real cause of the war...oil...to be kept out of the public sphere of discussion is a basic misunderstanding of what a war for oil means in this case.

It does not mean keeping cheap oil flowing for the US market. That would be distasteful and illegal, but would at least provide a short-term benefit for US voters.

It means generating massive profits for the oil companies. Nothing to do with the people at all. Those corporations are more than willing to sell to the highest bidder, whether that bidder is the US, China, or Gilligan's Island.

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I'm having a hard time justifying leaving this in Politics and not moving it to the Pseudoscience and Speculations subforum. I'll refrain from doing that since I have an iron in this fire, but that's how it seems to me. This is little more than a popular conspiracy theory.

Bascule at the very least it would be courteous for you to grace us with your opinion on this subject. This is not a news blog, and we do have a long-standing precedent of asking people to include their opinions in first posts. Thanks.

Edited by Pangloss

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Does anyone else notice how Marxist the "Iraq was over oil" argument is?

I do. It is as if the only wars we should get involved in are those in which we have reason to get involved in. Darfur, for example. The left would have us fight there for the very reason that there is no rational justification for our involvement in Darfur.

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I don't think a response that reaches the same conclusion as Marx makes it a Marxist response, CDarwin.

Marx did warn about the influence of corporations on government, but so have many others. Few, if any, of them have been big supporters of capitalism (I think Teddy Roosevelt might have been, but don't remember the specifics), but most of them are supportive of democratic principles.

I don't mean "Marxist" as a criticism, necessarily, or mean to relate it to political Marxism. It's just a philosophical way of approaching and analyzing history.

EDIT: Maybe I should have said "Marxian." That's what a lot of "Marxist" ("Marxian") historians prefer.

Edited by CDarwin

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I'm having a hard time justifying leaving this in Politics and not moving it to the Pseudoscience and Speculations subforum.

These are the accusations of a United States Congressman who is presently pursuing the impeachment of President Bush. I think they're politically relevant.

Bascule at the very least it would be courteous for you to grace us with your opinion on this subject.

I applaud Kucinich's efforts to unravel what he and many others such as myself believe is an ulterior motive behind the Iraq War different from the case that was publicly presented.

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I don't mean "Marxist" as a criticism, necessarily, or mean to relate it to political Marxism. It's just a philosophical way of approaching and analyzing history.

Again though, I don't see it as Marxist. It isn't an idea specific to that particular worldview. Indeed, it is an idea that has been put forth by anarchists, Marxists, socialists, liberals and even conservatives.

The danger of corporate influence on government is an issue that crosses political lines pretty easily.

I do. It is as if the only wars we should get involved in are those in which we have reason to get involved in. Darfur, for example. The left would have us fight there for the very reason that there is no rational justification for our involvement in Darfur.

No, the left would have you go in to protect the people who are being killed there. The call is for peacekeepers, not an invasion. The purpose is to protect civilians being hunted down and killed because of a combination of ethnic tensions and the government wanting clear access to oil.

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These are the accusations of a United States Congressman who is presently pursuing the impeachment of President Bush. I think they're politically relevant.

Well, as I pointed out, Pierre Salinger was a former White House press secretary, but nobody took him seriously, just like Nancy Pelosi doesn't take Pete Kucinich seriously. And 9/11 conspiracy theories go to the heart of the matter of who is to govern our country, so they would seem to be politically relevant too. I wouldn't object to a thread on Kucinich's impeachment bill, by the way. I just think unsupported conspiracy theories (like this one) probably belong in speculations. Still, unless another moderator objects, it will stay here.

Incidentally, I was in and around the Capital when Kucinich was introducing his impeachment bill. He kept the House open until something like midnight that night. My tax dollars at work.

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Why is this just a conspiracy theory? Bush and Cheney are known to be connected to the oil companies, and they have a record of letting their corporate pals write policy...remember Enron?

Kucinich is also much more than just a former press secretary. He's an elected representative and he ran in the presidential primaries. Trying to just write him off as another conspiracy theorist is unfair.

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Because there's no direct evidence to that effect.

And regardless of whether I'm "writing off" Kucinich, that's exactly what the Democratic leadership is doing to him.

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Because there's no direct evidence to that effect.

To WHAT effect? There is evidence of the meetings, and also of the actions of those involved in said meetings. I think I must be missing your meaning here.

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/06272008/watch3.html

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Iraqi officials met with members of Al Qaeda before 9/11, but that didn't prove that Iraq was involved in 9/11, now did it?

You know better than to listen to a partisan like Bill Moyers. How can you chastise me for watching O'Reilly and then turn around and quote that man? You might as well be quoting Al Franken or Michael Moore.

Whatever.

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I'm going to have to agree with Pangloss on this one, Kucinich is going to need proof to back up those claims. I hope we're not going to fall prey to an 'appeal to authority.'

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You know better than to listen to a partisan like Bill Moyers. How can you chastise me for watching O'Reilly and then turn around and quote that man? You might as well be quoting Al Franken or Michael Moore.

Whatever.

Ah. Of course. The classic "challenge credibility," "lump into ideological box," full dismissal approach.

I should have guessed.

Implicit in your posts is the suggestion that they were not involved. Implicit in your post is the suggestion that our statements that they were are without merit. Implicit in your post is a reminder of why I question your authority as a moderator in the politics forum.

So. You brought up evidence. Please define what evidence would satisfy you so we can all go work like little busy bees to go find and supply it.

Then, once we have, you can dismiss that as political spin and ignore it by ending your post with the word "whatever" again.

I'm going to have to agree with Pangloss on this one, Kucinich is going to need proof to back up those claims. I hope we're not going to fall prey to an 'appeal to authority.'

Shouldn't be a problem, since nobody here has suggested that "since Kuncinich said it, it must be true."

Edited by iNow
multiple post merged

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So. You brought up evidence. Please define what evidence would satisfy you so we can all go work like little busy bees to go find and supply it.

Testimony from a former White House official actually involved in the decision to go to war would be nice. There have actually been several, many of them extremely critical of the President, and yet not one of them has shown any evidence that the decision was entirely, or even paramountly, "about oil". Bob Woodward -- no friend of the Bush administration -- wrote no less than three books on the subject, with unprecedented access to staff and communications, and never found any evidence that the war was "about oil".

It was obviously on their minds, I don't think there's any question about that. How would it not be? There were tactical considerations, of course, but also strategic considerations. Woodward cites one document listing the reasons for going to war, and the very last item in a very long list says something along the lines of "minimizing interruptions in the international oil market". That would actually be COUNTER to your purpose, since the underlying premise of this conspiracy theory is that the Bush administration wanted $150/barrel gas for its chums. But I will admit that it at least supports the idea that oil was a factor in the decision to go to war. That's on page 153 of Plan of Attack, if you're curious. But I see no evidence for a firm conclusion that the war was "about oil" above all else, or this whacky notion that Cheney wanted Americans paying$7/gallon to help his buds in ExxonMobil. That is simply unsupported.

Woodward, who interviewed Greenspan last year, made the point himself in this quote from that article, which raises the same note I made above:

Critics of the administration have often argued that while Bush cited Hussein's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and despotic rule as reasons for the invasion, he was also motivated by a desire to gain access to Iraq's vast oil reserves. Publicly, little evidence has emerged to support that view, although a top-secret National Security Presidential Directive, titled "Iraq: Goals, Objectives and Strategy" and signed by Bush in August 2002 -- seven months before the invasion -- listed as one of many objectives "to minimize disruption in international oil markets."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/16/AR2007091601287.html

In fact according to that article, even Greenspan doesn't believe the war was about oil, at least in the sense that bascule seems to mean:

But he added that he was not implying that the war was an oil grab.

Gee.

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Bush has gone out of his way...fought all the way to the Supreme Court...to keep his meetings with oil executives as secret as possibly.

Oil has been considered a national security issue in the US since at least the 1970's.

Oil companies have been given no bid contracts.

Bremer de-nationalized the oil industry (this is actually against US and international law, since making such large changes to a country's economy is a no-no).

I could go on for pages.

It may just be circumstantial evidence, but there is a whole lot of it. At the very least you, Pangloss, should be screaming that the contents...full transcripts...of what was discussed at those meetings with executives be released to the public.

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Testimony from a former White House official actually involved in the decision to go to war would be nice. There have actually been several, many of them extremely critical of the President, and yet not one of them has shown any evidence that the decision was entirely, or even paramountly, "about oil". Bob Woodward -- no friend of the Bush administration -- wrote no less than three books on the subject, with unprecedented access to staff and communications, and never found any evidence that the war was "about oil".

It was obviously on their minds, I don't think there's any question about that. How would it not be? There were tactical considerations, of course, but also strategic considerations. Woodward cites one document listing the reasons for going to war, and the very last item in a very long list says something along the lines of "minimizing interruptions in the international oil market". That would actually be COUNTER to your purpose, since the underlying premise of this conspiracy theory is that the Bush administration wanted $150/barrel gas for its chums. But I will admit that it at least supports the idea that oil was a factor in the decision to go to war. That's on page 153 of Plan of Attack, if you're curious. But I see no evidence for a firm conclusion that the war was "about oil" above all else, or this whacky notion that Cheney wanted Americans paying$7/gallon to help his buds in ExxonMobil. That is simply unsupported.

Woodward, who interviewed Greenspan last year, made the point himself in this quote from that article, which raises the same note I made above:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/16/AR2007091601287.html

In fact according to that article, even Greenspan doesn't believe the war was about oil, at least in the sense that bascule seems to mean:

That's the kind of post I was hoping to drive you toward. Thank you. You've raised a good point, and I can see that you don't disagree that it was a factor, but you'd like something more than heresay to go that extra step and say "yes, it was about oil."

Again. Thank you for putting forth an articulated and respectful argument. I do appreciate it.

I will see about finding that testimony from a White House official. Please note that I may have to come back to this thread after Bush has left office though.

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Thanks, I appreciate that. And I've no doubt we'll be talking about the Bush administration for many years to come. The one Bush legacy we can all agree on.

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Iraq's entire economy is based on oil, Sadam had been in material breech of the cease fire agreement for 9 years, a war contingency was in place, the previous war left scores of oil wells on fire... and putting them out is a skill held by oil companies, as well as rebuilding destroyed wells. This, not the grand evil conspiracy, is the easiest and best supported reason for such a meeting.

But I guess when drawing up an Iraq cointigency and handling the aftermath of the potentially burning and destroyed wells should have been discussed with... I don't know.... I guess you guys are thinking Burger King or something?

Or I suppose the grand plan was to get Exxon and Mobile advice on how much to pay the Iraqi's for their oil? Last I checked, Iraq is still selling it's oil, the U.S. isn't stealing it.

What, in the current state of affairs in Iraq, leads to believing that any meeting between oil companies and the Vice President were on how to best exploit a coming war in Iraq? Or does that fall into the conspiracy mainstay "absence of evidence is evidence of a cover-up!"?

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Well, at risk of mischaracterizing my oppponents' arguments (but in an attempt to be fair), I think we've actually moved past the concept of "steal their oil and put it in our own cars" on to a more developed idea of "drive the price of oil up high so ExxonMobil and the House of Saud will make a pile of cash". So it's not really an "absence of evidence", at least in the sense that hindsight would seem to support that point of view.

This is always the problem I personally run into when pondering these positions, because I understand that it's more than just partisanship (even if it may be partisanship-driven in cases like Michael Moore or Rush Limbaugh when they use it). In a nutshell, historical inspection over time may ultimately prove them to be correct, jryan. Or put another way, lack of evidence does not mean that a thing didn't happen.

I feel the same way about the insistence from some quarters that "Bush lied" about WMDs. That has been a particularly punishing subject from my perspective, because my initial feeling was that it was all completely wrong. But over time, as more and more information came out (e.g. Woodward's books), and through discussion and basic reasoning, I had to fall back to a position that today is just a hair's bredth from "lied". Even setting aside the obvious ego blow of having argued a position that was basically wrong, I end up questioning whether I did the right thing in asking for conclusive evidence instead of just making the same short leap that others found intuitively obvious. After all, I can't say that I'm not guilty of the same intuitive leaps myself from time to time -- I'm no heroic example of perfect objectivity.

But in the end I think it's the right thing to do, asking for those clear, unequivocal connections. I'm a huge believer in "the judgment of history", both its inevitable authority and its greater accuracy vs current media interpretation. (Though I admit I can be a bit of a jerk about it sometimes; I will work on that.)

That's another good reason to respect other people's opinions. You never know when they may turn out to be right.

Edited by Pangloss

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The problem still exists in the "conspired to drive up the price of oil" that the primary drivers in the price of oil came from the upswing in China's usage and a refusal of OPEC to increase output to meet the demand. How Cheney managed to fix that 7 years in advance while talking to Exxon and Mobile I'll never know.

Of course, if they REALLY wanted to fix oil prices they would have attacked Iran anyway.

That whole argument is full of wholes you can drive oil tankers through.

As for the WMD argument.. that is probably for another thread... but consider this simple fact: If the administration were so devious that it would attempt to drift a certain falsehood into the public record and kill thousands in an attempt to affect world oil prices we would have found WMDs in large numbers in Iraq already. Such evil cunning doesn't publicly declare that the WMDs were not found.

It is "through the looking glass" reasoning. Everything is more than it appears even when there is a much simpler and more logical explanation.

Cheney met with Oil Companies about Iraq - Reason: The last war in Iraq left huge environmental disasters in it's wake as Saddam ordered the oil fields set to the torch.... in case on a new war with Iraq, Oil companies with the skill and know how to put out oil fires, and to rebuild oil rigs would be needed. It's called planning.

The aftermath: U.S. and British troops did a fantastic job of intercepting the Fedayeen Saddam in the opening hours of the war and thwarting most of their efforts to destroy oil fields. The fire eaters were not needed after all.

Bush stated that Saddam had WMDs - Reason: Although there were competing views on this subject in the CIA Bush stated very clearly in his "16 words speech" that his intent was to never be wrong on the "probably harmless" side again.

Aftermath: Much hay has been made in the Democratic party by doing a good deal of misleading of their own concerning Bush's speeches on the reason for invasion. Bush never said that Iraq had nuclear weapons, he said that he sought to start the program again.... and it turns out he was right.

Joe Wilson's expose of the Niger connection was very very flawed. His biggest bit of silly rationale for he conclusions was that in 1999 Iraq sent a trade delegation to Niger to discuss opening tourist flights between Iraq and Niger. Even assuming for a second that anyone in Niger or Iraq would find the other an appealing tourist destination you can't escape the two facts that: 1) the head of the trade delegation to Niger was the same official that went to Niger on it's last trade talks to buy... yellow cake uranium. 2) Niger has two major exports... 75% of all exports is uranium, and the bulk of the remaining 25% is concrete.... so if you can manage to disbelieve the sunny Iraq tourism trade (not hard), do you suppose that Saddam was interested in shipping some concrete air freight? No?

Joe Wilson asked the Niger officials who met with the Iraqis whether they were talking about Yellow cake uranium.... the officials said no. That, of course, doesn't really amount to evidence since Wilson's question was, essentially, "Hey, were you guys breaking U.N. resolutions?".... whether they were or weren't the answer would always be "No". My guess is there would have been a bogus tourism flights run if Iraq and Niger had come to an agreement... but the luggage compartment wouldn't be filled with luggage.

There is a lot more to the WMD debate, but I will let that go for now.

Anyway, none of this constitutes scientific evidence, but then we're talking "reasonable doubt" evidence anyway.

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Interesting post, jryan.

The problem still exists in the "conspired to drive up the price of oil" that the primary drivers in the price of oil came from the upswing in China's usage and a refusal of OPEC to increase output to meet the demand. How Cheney managed to fix that 7 years in advance while talking to Exxon and Mobile I'll never know.

Well iNow and Peak Oil Man are going to love the irony of me posting this reply, but I'll take a crack at it anyway. I harp constantly about people ignoring ideologically similar replies that go farther than they do and then replying to replies to those more severe positions unfairly, so I think I'd be a hypocrit if I didn't reply here, even though I largely share your view.

First off, all demand is presently being met. What's driving the increase is speculation that the demand will soon NOT be met. So what we've really been asking OPEC to do is to produce amounts OVER demand in order to lower prices. Why should they do that if demand is rising? Would you do that? Of course not. They're only going to increase production for the purpose of lowering prices if that's actually in their best interests.

Second, OPEC isn't stupid, they know that if they can't meet demand then demand will (for one reason or another) eventually trail off. So WHEN the demand is there or there's a good reason for them to want lower prices, they DO increase production. Why do you think Saudi Arabia announced a production increase last week? It's no accident that came just days after a new report showing six straight months of decrease in consumption in the US. They may now realize that lowering the price is to their benefit again.

No, the actual "conspiracy" argument (or at least one of them) is more like this: Well-informed speculators, connected to the oil companies, have conspired to put a lot of money into buying up oil futures, which drives up the per-barrel price.

Now, the reason I don't think that argument holds water is that it doesn't take into account the weakening of the dollar (which I've read accounts for as much as 20-30% of the current price of a barrel of crude!), and it doesn't take into account the fact that other commodities markets have surged following the collapse of the real estate flipping market as well. IMO this is just another investment "bubble", and it just happens to neatly mesh with fears over the future of the hydrocarbon-based society in light of global warming. Hell those investors probably feel GOOD about their investments. Helping to ween us off the oil teat, etc. The jerks.

As for the WMD argument.. that is probably for another thread... but consider this simple fact: If the administration were so devious that it would attempt to drift a certain falsehood into the public record and kill thousands in an attempt to affect world oil prices we would have found WMDs in large numbers in Iraq already. Such evil cunning doesn't publicly declare that the WMDs were not found.

I agree, I think they just deceived themselves. But they appear to have deliberately ignored evidence they didn't want to see, which is why I feel it's a hair's bredth from "lie" (because that's still a violation of the public trust). But it's still a pretty important hair, I agree.

It is "through the looking glass" reasoning. Everything is more than it appears even when there is a much simpler and more logical explanation.

I completely agree with you there. Occam's Razor, right? That's one of the reasons I get somewhat peeved about these things, because on a science board you would think that people would be all about direct, irrefutable evidence before coming to a conclusion. But I guess that would make for some pretty dry political discussion.

Cheney met with Oil Companies about Iraq - Reason: The last war in Iraq left huge environmental disasters in it's wake as Saddam ordered the oil fields set to the torch.... in case on a new war with Iraq, Oil companies with the skill and know how to put out oil fires, and to rebuild oil rigs would be needed. It's called planning.

Right, that one bugs me as well, for the same reason. It irks me when I hear people talk about the cost benefits of cutting that proverbial red tape and then complain when somebody actually does it. I wonder how much we'd have spent in Iraq if we'd actually HAD competitive bidding -- could it have been MORE? I don't know the answer, but I'll bet nobody else knows the answer either, even if they say they do.

But even you have to admit that when you take away oversight abuses are more likely to happen. The people have a right to know their money hasn't been wasted, and even without partisan grandstanding a lot of these questions we've been hearing would probably still be asked.

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Bush stated that Saddam had WMDs - Reason: Although there were competing views on this subject in the CIA Bush stated very clearly in his "16 words speech" that his intent was to never be wrong on the "probably harmless" side again.

This is effectively an appeal to consequences though. The war in Iraq has paid a massive toll on the American economy, American morale, and America's role in the international community. These things seem minor when juxtaposed with a doomsday situation, ala Bush (and Condi's) "we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun, that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."

However, the desirability of preventing Saddam from using WMDs has little to do with whether or not he had WMDs in the first place, or whether an all-out invasion was the best way to resolve the situation. The argument is effectively the same as Pascal's Wager: it's logically flawed because it really says nothing about the truth value of the premise, but instead makes an argument entirely from potential consequences.

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(Supply and Demand Recap)

Yeah, pardon me for simplifying the issue. The speculation market is driving the price of oil, for sure, as it does all futures commodities. As such, anything that is seen as potentially changing output of the commodity in the future effects the current trade.

Sorry, that was probbaly a recap none of us needed.

Anyway, the war in Iraq is not the primary driver of the oil futures market. Oil has skyrocketed in the last 12 months as the turmoil in Iraq is dropping precipitously. Confrontations with Iran and the continued rise in oil needs in China have driven the oil futures as much as anything, and Exxon, Mobile had little to do with that.

Also, yeah, OPEC isn't stupid, and will not over produce no matter how much we may want.

The cost of a barrel of crude versus the value of the US dollar is also an interesting subject since the US dollar is also on an oil standard. It hurts my brain to do all the permutations needed for a drop in the dollar to equate to a rise in oil. But if I have simplified it sufficiently, the oil backed dollar meant the that value of the US dollar was based in large part on the fact that the US purchased the lions share of the worlds oil. As the primary buyer, the dollar was high. Now that te demand is rising elsewhere, and the US is loosing ground as the primary oil consumer the dollar is falling.

Adopting the oil standard was really a bad plan all around when you look at it that way. Going back to the gold standard has it's own pitfalls, however. You never want to adopt a standard whos market is currently peaking.

I agree, I think they just deceived themselves. But they appear to have deliberately ignored evidence they didn't want to see, which is why I feel it's a hair's bredth from "lie" (because that's still a violation of the public trust). But it's still a pretty important hair, I agree.

I wouldn't say it's a hairs breath by any stretch. I am sure that many here would rather the U.S. Government move forward on Global Warming initiatives and ignore the contrary information because the potential damage if the AGW side is right is over powering. That is the same reasoning used by the current administration with regrad to the Iraq WMD reports. After all, regardless of the dissenting view, the "Iraq has WMDs" was the consensus view world wide.

In reality, the problem was not with Bush but rather with Saddam, and the possition he had himself in in the Middle East. Given that he was one of the strongmen in the region, and given that the bulk of his army was destroyed in the first Gulf War, and given that he had no friends other than Syria in the region, it was in his own best interest to play the game with the UN and keep everyone guessing as to whether he had WMDs or not.

It should also be pointed ouot that he had always planned to start his programs again once the UN left for good. And he had every reason to believe they would, since he had payed off many influential politicians in France and Russia and could always count on their vote in the Security Council.

The Final Assessment of the Iraq Survey Team doesn't get as much press as what they failed to find following the initial combat... but it is worth a read:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/report/2004/isg-final-report/

I completely agree with you there. Occam's Razor, right? That's one of the reasons I get somewhat peeved about these things, because on a science board you would think that people would be all about direct, irrefutable evidence before coming to a conclusion. But I guess that would make for some pretty dry political discussion.

Yeah, and politics SHOULD be dry and based on facts. This is why it is ill suited to be involved in AGW at this early stage of the research.

Right, that one bugs me as well, for the same reason. It irks me when I hear people talk about the cost benefits of cutting that proverbial red tape and then complain when somebody actually does it. I wonder how much we'd have spent in Iraq if we'd actually HAD competitive bidding -- could it have been MORE? I don't know the answer, but I'll bet nobody else knows the answer either, even if they say they do.

But even you have to admit that when you take away oversight abuses are more likely to happen. The people have a right to know their money hasn't been wasted, and even without partisan grandstanding a lot of these questions we've been hearing would probably still be asked.

"Even me"? Hmmmm.. not sure how to take that.

Anyway, governmnet contract competition doesn't guarantee reduced cost OR increased quality and never has. We could start a whole different discussion about this myth as well, and having seen that sausage being made a few times I can assure you that it doesn't always follow the standard market model. All it seems to do is increase the randomness of the eventual corruption.

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