Thursday, October 16, 2008

Signing Statements, The Military-Petroleum Complex and Oil Wars

If you have any doubt as to why we went to war with Iraq, read on.

Contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers, as stated by the American Bar Association in 2006, President Bush went ahead and issued another signing statement on Tuesday that would allow him to ignore parts of the new military authorization act he signed into law.

Why? To ensure U.S. control of Iraq' oil, of course.

In the authorization bill, Mr. Bush challenged four sections. One forbid the money from being used “to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq”; another required negotiations for an agreement by which Iraq would share some of the costs of the American military operations there.
Bush objected to one section of the bill barring attempts “to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.” Bush also declared the right to ignore sections of a bill meant to protect oversight at federal agencies; he rejected a provision that would allow inspectors general the right to their own counsel instead of politically appointed attorneys, and he rejected a section that would require the White House to tell lawmakers what each inspector general said about the administration’s budget proposals for their offices.

The signing statements Bush issued are necessary to keep - as Nick Turse calls it, in his book, The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives - The Military-Petroleum Complex, functioning.

The Pentagon awarded Shell a $338 million contract, on September 17th, in addition to the over $1 billion it was already awarded the previous year. The following day on September 22nd, Iraq and Shell officially signed a $4 billion deal to process and market natural gas. The very next day, Shell "established an office in Baghdad.

Bush scored some major points a few days ago when the Iraqi government put 40 billion barrels of oil up for sale...that's 40% of Iraq’s reserves. This is the biggest sale of oil assets ever. All the big players - Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total, BP, and Chevron - who show up regularly on Pentagon's payroll, taking home more than $4.1 billion - are involved.

It should come as no surprise that President Bush is doing all he can to ensure the future profits of oil companies, especially at a time when when the number of oil discoveries are less, the size of those discoveries, smaller, and the demand for oil is greater than ever, across the globe,

Americans use twenty million barrels of oil per day, or seven billion barrels of oil per year, that's 25% of what the world uses. That may not sound like a lot until you consider Americans make up 4-5% of the world population, and that the US reached peak oil in 1970. Our dependence on other countries will continually increase as we import approx. 70-75%, between crude oil and finished products currently.

Is there an oil shortage? I doubt it because by the time we run out of oil, we should have the technology available to harvest energy from the sun. However, shoddy oil infrastructure and waste is a problem.

After the oil price of oil collapsed in 1982, massive amount of down-sizing occurred in the industry leaving us with the "shortage" problem we have today...shortage of equipment and professionals, that is. One deep water rig costs $1 billion and takes 4-5 years to build. There are approximately 500 off shore oil rigs worldwide, today and they are on average about 28-years old...it used to be that oil rigs were retired after 25-years. In addition, there is a shortage of geologists, rig hands, reservoir engineers, drilling crews and seismic crews.

Combine an outdated oil infrastructure with the explosive economic growth of other parts of the world -- China and India -- and you can imagine the problems this might cause. Since these "underdeveloped" countries of yesteryear have morphed into the "developing" countries of today, due to , as Matthew Simmons, author of Twilight in the desert: The Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy. says, "in a nutshell, the supply is too old and the demand is too new".

If we could contain the economic blueprint -- two or more cars per household, trucking industry, excessive use of electricity etc. -- to the U.S., Canada, Western Europe and more recently Korea and Japan, oil supply wouldn't be so problematic. However with China, India and other parts of the world adopting our wasteful ways, oil supply, demand and waste become an enormous issue.

The Iraq war may only be the beginning of whats to come. For example, the tribes of the Niger Delta are sick and tired of the oil companies taking but never giving back. Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is blowing up pipelines and siphoning off the oil in an effort to rid their country of these greedy companies. Their ultimate goal is to totally destroy the capacity of the Nigerian government to export oil.

What could all this lead too? Oil wars, according to Simmons. But, hasn't that already started? Yes, however, so far we've been spared the brutality. If things continue on the same path...well, let's just say karma's a bitch.

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