Let's Suppose Bush "Wins" his Oil War

Jon Flanders Jon_Flanders at compuserve.com
Sat Feb 8 18:13:02 MST 2003


>From James Howard Kunstler's Web Site

January 31, 2003

      Commentator Jim Minter on the Energy Resources list-serve makes
some excellent points about the looming Iraq war vis-a-vis oil. Note,
Minter is not a war hawk. he is just trying to explain what is really
behind our policy.

    << Iraq has a lot of oil that is soon to be needed in the global oil
market. It doesn't matter to this market whether American, British,
French or Russian companies pump and sell it. It's a global market!
Iraqi oil doesn't even need to come to the U.S. Even if Iraqi oil only
went to Europe it would increase the global supply and lower the global
price. Oil companies are multi-national. Their investors are
international. Don't trap yourselves into old-think nationalism. As we
slide deeper into this decade, global oil consumers need Iraqi oil.
Saddam has out-waited us--at terrible cost to the Iraqi people--but
nevertheless shutting off Iraqi oil from the global market will soon
hurt global consumers worse than it hurts Saddam's regime. Why? GLOBAL
OIL PRODUCTION IS AT PEAK, as Matthew Simmons, Colin Campbell, Jean
Laherrère and other knowledgeable experts have shown... as the highest
levels of U.S. and British decision-makers know from their
highly-classified briefings. And so, because global oil production peaks
in this decade, Iraqi oil must re-enter the global mainstream--and soon!
Saddam can't have those profits. It's as simple as that. The global
community cannot afford to have the profits from the very imminent
massive pumping of Iraqi oil funding the arsenal of that maniac. That
regime has got to go
It's a stark picture and I suppose the best "humanitarian" face we can
candidly put on it goes something like this: "The goal is to see peace
and stability come to Iraq and the oil-producing Middle East while the
global economy pumps its oil. The aim of the global community is to set
up a 'democratic, market-economy regime' in Iraq with the oil revenues
going to build a stable, secular and prosperous society in Iraq. The
Iraqi people can select whomever they please to help them quickly
develop their oil, and God bless them (though guess who has the best oil
Oil directly fuels more than a third of the American economy, most
specifically our entire transportation system. That includes the
auto/truck industry (everything from manufacturing to repair to
insurance) road building and maintenance, all commerce and industry
(trucking delivers everything and even the few trains left are diesel),
air transport, and every facet of our daily lives from commuting to
tourism. There is no substitute fuel for our present transportation
system. None. Nada, Zilch. That has been conclusively and finally
demonstrated to exhaustion on this Energy Resources Web Site. But even
if those lame, low-net transportation-fuel substitutes touted by a few
stubbornly-giddy techno-cornucopians were viable, none can claim that
their pet schemes can be put on-line in time to provide an
alternative-fueled transportation system for America in this decade...
or even the next decade. Without our petroleum transportation system,
the U.S. economy dies. Also having trans-continental economies, Canada
and Australia are in the same boat. Next in transportation vulnerability
are Europe and Japan.
Oil is also the base feed stock for our petro-chemical industry and
possibly half of all the non-edible, physical products we now consume.
There are some substitute feed stocks in some products, but they are not
likely to be as cheap or as usable as oil stock is presently. Oil
products also drive much of our non-transportation machinery, in
addition to heating and powering a chunk of our built-infrastructure.
Here, at least, petroleum products can be almost totally replaced,
though not always swiftly or efficiently... and rarely, cheaply. We can
run our buildings, if not our cars, on something besides petroleum.
However, our modern agricultural system is totally petroleum-dependant.
So is our forestry and fishing.
 Bottom line: Our transcontinental economy is built upon the cheap
transportation provided by petroleum. For the foreseeable future there
is no alternative. If oil fails totally, which is not likely, we fail
totally. But [as we advance into the future and] oil becomes restricted
and expensive, we enter the same "stagflation" of
inflation-with-recession that we experienced after the last oil crisis
in the mid-70s. Simply put: Without petroleum the U.S. faces
catastrophe; with constrained supplies or expensive supplies of
petroleum we only face disaster.
The rapid flow of Iraqi oil into the global bloodstream for the next
dozen-or-so years will not, of course, alleviate the total decline in
global petro-stocks. But rapidly pumping Iraqi oil can push forward in
time the "felt effects" of the global "Hubbert Peak" decline. Pumping
Iraq and Saudi Arabia at ever-accelerated rates can for a time cover the
decline of the North Sea and the North Slope, the continental U.S., and
other aging oil fields. Of course, as many here at Energy Resources have
already pointed out, this reckless course of blindly fueling the growth
of oil consumption only assures that when the supply/demand crunch
finally does arrive, it will be more precipitous and more catastrophic
than the sane and sensible "soft path down" proposed by our late guru,
Howard T, Odum and many others.
I am NOT advocating or defending the impending war to depose Saddam --
just explaining why it is going to happen and why no amount of outrage
and righteous indignation is going to stop it. I think the world's oil
gluttony is deplorable. I do not think that consuming nations have a
right to other people's resources. What I am trying to explain is the
relentless logic of our blind consumption. We are at Peak but we do not
understand it. We have been lied to by our corporations and our
government. Our news media has been credulous, blind, corrupted and
stupid. And so the momentum of our economy and our society is going
full-tilt to business-as-usual, which means getting all the petroleum we
can pump into our transportation bloodstream because our economy and our
society shrivel without it. It is far too late to change course. We do
not even know that we need to. What's more we don't want to know, and
most of us wouldn't make the hard decisions to begin changing our
personal lifestyles if we did know.>> 

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