America's Oil Wars

America's Oil Wars

America's Oil Wars

America's Oil Wars


Why has the United States become involved in so many wars in the Middle East, and why just now? What explains the extraordinary disconnect between pre-war statements by the Bush Administration and the post-war reality? How much of the U.S. intelligence was wrong, and why? Why did the Bush Administration ignore warnings by senior military commanders about the difficulties they would face in trying to occupy Iraq? Why was there virtually no pre-war planning for administering Iraq once the war was successfully concluded? Pelletiere argues that, in going to war twice against Iraq and once against Afghanistan, the United States was seeking to put a lock on its future energy supplies. In neglecting diplomacy for so long in dealing with the Gulf States, Washington was practically compelled to use force to get what it wanted.


This book attempts to explain why the United States invaded and occupied Iraq. It seeks to discover a rationale for the Bush administration's action, one that is adequate to encompass the enormity of what was done. The action that Bush took was awful: he led America to war under false pretenses. The claims he made—about Saddam having weapons of mass destruction and his having links to al Qaeda—were not true.

What was it that was so important about invading and occupying Iraq that Bush would have been driven to such lengths?

The answer that we are going to give is that he feared a significant imbalance of power, not just in the Persian Gulf but worldwide. And this potential imbalance arose out of the outcome of the Iran-Iraq War, where the Iraqis unexpectedly, and decisively, defeated the Iranians after a hard-fought eight-year conflict.

Saddam Hussein stood at a crossroads then. He had a million men under arms, he had a general staff that had proven itself competent by subduing the Iranians, and he had a window of opportunity in which to maneuver in order to make himself the leader of the Arab world.

But Saddam's gaze was fixed on a much more substantial prize—he wanted to control the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and turn it into a bona fide cartel. Had he been able to do that, he would have gained immensely. A well-disciplined OPEC, where all of the members were solidaric, could have exercised enormous international influence. The individual who was able to marshal the resources of so great (and powerful) an institution, and keep its members in line, would have been someone with whom to reckon.

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