From: Glenn Morton (email@example.com)
Date: Sat Feb 22 2003 - 20:00:19 EST
Administrations rush to war with Iraq? (fwd)
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2003 00:18:43 -0000
>From: Joel Cannon [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
>Sent: Saturday, February 22, 2003 11:31 PM
>Responding to Glenn:
>As always, I appreciate his statistics and his ability to access and
>produce data quickly. It advances the discussion. I agree with a
>number of things he says, but I think his criticisms involve some
>questionable assumptions and they ignored some of the more important
>points that I made. I will deal with those in my next post. But first
>I would like to discuss a broader and more central issue which his
>Glenn and others are correct in guessing that my discomfort as a
>Christian with the invasion of Iraq is broader than the question of
>whether oil is a (or the) principal motivating factor.
If your discomfort is greater than oil, then I would suggest stating that
rather than oil as the reason for your discomfort. It seems a bit
misdirective to say my concern is because of war (as you did in the last
note) when really your concern is over the just war theory. I would like to
try to pour more water on this concept of the war is about oil.
Two articles came to my attention this week. The first was a Wall Street
Journal article on what will happen to the oil in a post-Saddam world. It
"Many people expect that a U.S.-led victory over Saddam Hussein will
eventually result in a gusher of oil from a liberated Iraq, bringing down
petroleum prices. But the recent fate of neighboring Iran's energy industry
suggests a different future--one in which it could be years before new Iraqi
oil has any big or lasting impact on what consumers pay for fuel.
"A gargantuan new project called South Pars, here on Iran's
coast, attests to the billions of dollars foreign oil companies have
invested in Iran since the country launched its 'New Dawn' plan in 1991.
Tehran aimed to revive its oil industry, ravaged by years of revolution and
war with Iraq.
"Yet today, Iran can't pump any more crude than a decade ago. The
reason: New production has only offset the rapid decline of Iran's other
giant fields that have been pumping oil for decades.. Attempts to revive the
Iraqi industry are likely to face the same knotty problems Iran facesóthe
glacial pace of negotiations to clinch contracts and the yeas it then takes
to tap large petroleum reservoirs, even as output drops from tired oil
fields." Bhushan Bahree, "Liberating Iraq May Not Bring Expected Results:
More Oil, Lower Prices," Wall Street Journal Europe, Feb 21, 2003, p. 1
Then there is also the age of Kirkuk field. It was discovered in 1927 and
produces 900,000 barrels per day.
"Buyers of Iraqi Oil already note a decline in the quality of the
crude coming from the country's prized Kirkuk field, an indication output
capacity may be waning at the major reservoir, which has been producing oil
for 64 years. Iraq's other major reservoir, the Rumaila field in the south,
also has been pumping for decades. A United Nations study of Iraq's oil
fields a few years ago painted a grim scene of failing wells and equipment,
environmental devastation and rampant safety hazards." Bhushan Bahree,
"Liberating Iraq May Not Bring Expected Results: More Oil, Lower Prices,"
Wall Street Journal Europe, Feb 21, 2003, p. 1
What happens is that the easy to flow oil moves through a reservoir first.
More viscous oil comes later. That is what they are seeing. That is a sign
the field is going down.
One can make a very good case that France's opposition to the war is about
oil probably easier than one can make a case that the war is for the US to
get the oil.
"TotalFina Elf [a company largely owned by the French
government---grm]initiated nonbinding agreements but declined to commit to
actually developing the oil, which would have violated UN sanctions. But
TotalFinaElf was able to do simulation studies on the fields. This data,
company officials say, would enable TotalFinaElf to get the oil flowing
about one eyar earlier than a competitor starting from scratch. Even then,
TotalFinaElf recons it would tak it almost four years to start production if
it won a contract5 from a new Iraqi government." Bhushan Bahree, "Liberating
Iraq May Not Bring Expected Results: More Oil, Lower Prices," Wall Street
Journal Europe, Feb 21, 2003,p. 10
The second article is by Nicholas Boles in The Times. He points out that
going to war protects poor people around the world, allowing them to have
employment and food. He writes:
"There is nothing like (self-)righteous indignation to give the Left the
warm glow of a Ready Brek breakfast. And nothing gives them that feeling
more completely than the idea that the only reason the United States wants a
war with Iraq is opil. But like all the houshold gods that the Left
cherishes, this too has feet of clay and a nead full of nonesense." Nicholas
Boles, " A Perfectly Moral Case for Fighting for Iraq's Oilfields," The
Times, Feb 21, 2003, p. 24
"A war to defend open access to the Middle East's oil reserves would be a
just war--and a war fought primarly to defend the world's poor."
No oil, the poor lose their jobs. Is that threat worth some thought?
Consider what Saddam could do if he got the Bomb and my scenario came true.
(remember, he already took over Kuwait once).
"During the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, 2.75 per cent of global oil
production was withdrawn from the market. The Iranian revolution in 1979
withdrew 5.68 per cent. Both events led to a dramatic rise in oil prices and
severe recessions throughout the OECD. If Saddam gained control of nearly a
quarter of global oil supplies, he would be able to unleash a depression of
"You would have thought that the need to protect the world
calamity required little further justification. But the Left does not see
it that way." Nicholas Boles, " A Perfectly Moral Case for Fighting for
Iraq's Oilfields," The Times, Feb 21, 2003, p. 24
Thus, if you think the US is going to get lots of oil out of Iraq and that
is why we are going to war, that is false. If you think the US is going to
war to ensure open supplies which will allow the poor to keep working, then
that is probably correct. If that is about oil, then so be it. Remember
that the poor pay most when the oil is cut off.
I confined my
>discussion to the relevance of oil and the Hubbert curve because that
>(as a scientific issue that had previously been discussed here) was
>the issue that was relevant to the list (Glenn provided insight
>potentially relevant to the war). I did this in the context of just
>war theory because no matter how questionable its application over the
>years, this seems to be the most broadly accepted and
>least restrictive Christian thinking with regard to pursuing violence
>in defense of justice.
>I think Glenn's response contradicts just war theory (at least all
>Christian just war theory I have heard propounded) and invites the
>question as to whether Jesus has any relevance to war. Central
>features of just war theory as I understand it are: 1. that the ``just
>cause'' involves a response to aggression (including imminent
>aggression); and 2) all available alternatives have been exhausted.
>Glenn's reasons for going to war are that he thinks ``it is about an
>up and coming dictator who might get the bomb....If Saddam gets the
>bomb, he wins the entire Middle East as a vassal state stretching from
>Pakistan to the Strait of Gibralter, having the bomb and looking to
>topple the West?''
Have you never read any of the Decline and Fall? Have you ever heard of
Saladin? or Suleiman the Great? I don't want to be on the side of saying we
have to go to war. I don't like war. I like even less what I think the
future may hold if we don't. Don't you know that civilisation is the sound
of slippered feet coming down the stairs to the sound of jackboots coming up
them? History shows us that power what history is really about. Is that the
way it should be? NO! But humanity is fallen and that is the way it is.
>While I respect Glenn's abilities, and have benefited from his
>insights, I do have to wonder what allows him to predict with such
>precision the psychology and the political and military capabilities
>of Saddam Hussein and why he is willing to act on this psychoanalysis
>when acting has such deadly consequences.
If I might respond a bit in kind, the ability is the same one you use to
read the mind of Dubya to discern the thoughts in his and Cheney's minds
that the war is all about oil. If you can do it for one side, why am I not
allowed to do it on the other? :-)
Is such speculation
>sufficient warrant for the many civilian casualties that will result
>from a war on Iraq within any moral framework? I think not.
Serious question: Why is my scenario any more speculative than your last
note which told us what Dubya and Cheney were thinking? I frankly see little
Don't copy me in any reply. I am too busy now to continue this.
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