S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Oil barrel motivation

Bad trends for the Veep - Today's post is, in a way, a continuation of yesterday's subject about changes in the Middle East, "What are they to make of US?" The Financial Times reporter, Philip Stephens, provided some pertinent comments (3/2/07). To quote,
The balance of power in Washington has shifted. Vice-president Dick Cheney, the standard-bearer of muscular unilateralism, is looking increasingly out of place. His power has been undercut by Donald Rumsfeld's replacement at the Pentagon with Robert Gates and the rising influence of the State department's Condoleezza Rice.
Mr Cheney has been wounded too by the prosecution of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, his former chief of staff. The White House, meanwhile, has taken the opportunity to redefine the national interest in terms of international engagement.
Bad timing - Shortly after escaping from having to testify in the trial of his former aide, "Scooter" Libby, Vice-President Dick Cheney left for a nine-day trip around the world. Vice-President Cheney's trip did not last quite long enough for him to be shielded from any fallout following the trial, because the jury has not yet reached a verdict in the Libby case.
Nine bad days - Why go? It is worthwhile to look further at his trip. What were the purposes and outcomes of it? Is it possible to speculate about a hidden agenda, apart from getting out of town while the jury deliberated? The Vice President's trip ended in the Middle East, but began with a flight in the opposite direction, to Australia and Guam. This leg of the trip appears to be about "carrying the flag" and pontificating about military matters. Cheney's trip to Australia was often marked by controversy, particularly criticism of China and North Korea. The International Herald Tribune discussed China on Cheney, reporting reaction to his criticism of their military progress. He then went on to Singapore. The Financial Times reported on the Vice President's trip to Japan, where he was snubbed by their defense minister (2/20/07).
Bad news and bombing - In December of last year I posted a piece called "Regrettably, it continues to be "awl about the oil." That, I feel, continues to be the case. The International Herald Tribune (2/26/07), covered Cheney's trip to the oil-rich Persian Gulf. David Sanger at the New York Times discussed the trip Pakistan. It was there that a bomb went off near where Mr. Cheney was staying. He remained there unexpectedly because of a storm that delayed his trip to Afghanistan. Adding fuel to this volatile story is a recent report that the U.S. knew of the bomb threat, carried in the NYT.
Bad ending - This is bad press. The U.S. News & World Report story revealed that Cheney does not always want his opinions attributed to him (see "The big "I" miscue), a classic example of his use and abuse of the press. And finally, a story in the Baltimore Sun reported that Cheney is now back home and still has opinions, this time about any possible pullout from Iraq. I have always believed that Mr. Cheney was in the lead for the invasion of Iraq. And he is probably still in the lead of those who went to war there for the oil.
The conclusion is bad - Cheney's Iraq was all about oil. Antonia Juhasz at The Huffington Post wrote a great post about Iraq and oil, titled, "Are U.S. Oil Companies Going to "Win" the Iraq War?" It is one of the best and most thorough explanations of the reasoning and eventual outcome of the Iraq war. Quoting from the post's central thesis and conclusion,
On Monday, the Bush administration and U.S. oil companies came one step closer to "winning" the war in Iraq when the Iraqi Cabinet passed this new national oil law.
The brainchild of the Bush administration and its corporate allies, the law is the smoking gun exposing Bush's war for oil.
. . . There is time, if we shine enough sunlight, to expose the oil agenda driving the war and support Iraqis who believe that now is not the time for their government to rush into contracts that will lock in the fate of their most valuable resource for a generation.
Oil Change International, Global Exchange, and others organizations and communities across the United States and around the world are coming together in protest events on March 17-19, to mark the 4-year anniversary of the Iraq war.
They are urging environmentalists, climate justice, and peace activists to join together in protests at the headquarters and gas stations of the oil companies leading the charge in Iraq: Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon, ConocoPhillips, Shell and BP. Learn more at
The ending will be bad for Iraq - In a protracted civil war, or partitioned, or a satellite of Iran, it does not look like a western-style democracy is in the cards for the neo-cons. But most of them have already left the Bush administration, anyway. Watch Mr. Cheney's actions closely in the next few weeks and months. Now that the oil agreement has been accepted by the Iraqi cabinet, the next step upon which he will be counting is ratification by the Iraqi parliament. It is not clear whether there must be very much security established in country for Halliburton and the other oil companies to begin to wrap up their Iraq oil contracts. The U.S. will have its permanent bases in the Middle East, and the oil will be secured, whether Iraq is partitioned or remains intact. After that Cheney and Bush may not be that much interested any more.
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My "creative post" today at Southwest Blogger is about the difficulty of being understood.

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