I’m in the midst of listening to Terry Gross’s Fresh Air interview with Kevin Phillips, a former Nixon operative who is deeply hostile to the Bush family and to the religious right (and he’s just written a book about how the religious right is destroying American politics). I’m about ten minutes into the interview, and it’s all about how the Bush’s are oil, oil, oil. They come from oil, they promote oil, and no matter how they dress it up, the war is about oil.
You know what? I think he’s right. I think the war is in part (maybe in large part) about oil. As you sit at your computer, cook and eat your food, read your book, watch your TV, wear your clothes, turn on your lights, drive your car, run you shower, brush your teeth, do anything and everything in your life, you are using oil, or something that required oil before it got to you. There is no aspect of American life (unless you’re a survivalist in the deep woods, in which case you’re not reading a blog), that is not directly or indirectly affected by oil.
Given that American life is dependent on oil at every level, I think the Administration would have been positively remiss if it didn’t take steps to ensure that oil was in friendly hands. This doesn’t mean the old imperialist strategy of simply taking over a Third World country’s resources. It does mean, though, that the Administration has to address that fact that, with Chavez down in Venezuela, and increasingly radical Arabs and Persians controlling of oil from Iran to Iraq to Saudi Arabia, our life’s blood is being severed. I give credit to Bush for being savvy enough to recognize this painful fact, and to take steps to stop the process. (And, considering the fact that Saudi Arabia is now afraid, with the U.S. Army breathing over its shoulder, I think he hasn’t done so badly.)
I also think, anti-War sentiment notwithstanding, most Americans know that they need their oil. This means that they’ll mouth to pollsters politically correct pap about “No War For Oil,” and then go off to the polls and vote for the candidate most likely to keep their oil-rich lifestyles rolling. (Although I’ll go down as saying that the drivers in my neck of the woods, the ones with the “No War For Oil” bumperstickers on their 9-miles-per-gallon SUVs, seem to be in deep denial about the whole connection between their conduct and American foreign policy.)
I’m certainly in favor of exploring alternative energy sources. But frankly, despite decades of research, none have proved viable. Oil is still the big thing, and I’m in favor of the party that deals with that reality. From my point of view, that’s infinitely better than being reduced to a world of candlelight, mules and famine. So, if I were a bumpersticker kind of gal, mine would read, “Yes! War for Oil.”
Talking to Technorati: Oil, War, Iraq War