"No matter what scenario you play out, regime change or lifting sanctions, oil will flow to the US from Iraq, wrote Amy Myers Jaffe, a senior analyst at the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy in Houston in the run-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom. "You know why? Because we have millions of soccer moms in four-wheel-drive cars," she quipped, belying the Bush-bashing blood-for-oil mantra that will be on the lips of MoveOn devotees at a gas station near you tomorrow during coordinated rallies across the nation for an "Oil-Free Congress." (Telegraph map shows known Iraqi oil fields, gas fields and pipelines as of March 18, 2003)
"We need to seize this moment to make sure the media and the public know that the Republican addiction to oil money is keeping gas prices high and holding America back from the clean energy future that we desperately need," emails economics-challenged Nita Chaudhary, inviting us to join a MoveOn "gas station rally" in our area tomorrow:
Gas prices are off the charts, the situation in the Middle East is unstable, scientists are warning that global warming is at a tipping point, and last month, MoveOn members decided that "clean, sustainable energy" should be one of our key goals. That's why it's time for an "Oil-Free Congress."
On Wednesday, June 28th -- right before the 4th of July when gas prices will be front and center as folks plan for the long weekend -- we're going to be holding gas station rallies across the country.
"Iraqi oil production has slumped from 3.5 million barrels a day before 1990 to some two million barrels now," reported the Telegraph on March 18, 2003, just two days before the invasion.
Would it be heartless to point out that gas prices reflect supply and demand, as well as the situation in the Middle East -- which, depending upon your perspective, has been unstable for between 80 and 1000 years -- and the jury on global warming is still out? We're not sure what an "Oil-Free Congress' would look like, but the freeing up of oil in Iraq is another story, as CNN reports [via The American Mind]:
Oil production in Iraq has hit its highest level since former leader Saddam Hussein was ousted in 2003. Production has risen to 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) from a steady 2 million bpd during the US-led invasion, Iraq's new oil minister said. Hussain al-Shahristani added that production was expected to rise to 2.7 million bpd by the end of the year.
"We have been able to break records," he said of the government, which has been in place for just over a month. Before the war, output was around 3 million bpd, peaking at a record of 3.5 million bpd.
Mr Shahristani said that Iraq's target now was to challenge Saudi Arabia's position as the world's leading oil producer.
Can you say strategery? Other than the BDS sufferers who said it was going to be a quagmire before they said it should have been a piece of cake if only the President had had a plan, nobody said it was going to be easy changing the political dynamics of this land of festering hatreds, ancient and modern. But GW's got Iran squeezed between Iraq and a hard place (Afghanistan), Iraq's new, duly-elected government is finally up and running, and now this. We can't help but think the Iraqis themselves and their elected leaders are sensing their role as children of destiny. The big news in Iraq -- if not in our own press -- yesterday was that "seven militant groups announced their desire to join the political process in accordance with the reconciliation project and said they were ready to enter a truce and stop the violence." Mohammed of Iraq the Model's take:
So far, everybody in Iraq feels good about Maliki's plan and expressed their hopes for it to meet success and ease the suffering of the Iraqi people; everybody except for the Sadrists and the association of Muslim scholars who both criticized the plan and said it wasn't acceptable and expected it to fail.
The question is are they expecting it to fail only because they think it is not framed in a workable way or because they wish for it to fail?
I'm afraid the latter is the likely answer.
Again, nobody said it was going to be easy. We agree with Wretchard of The Belmont Club that "Maliki is probably trying to get momentum going, and the only way to do that is to work on the weakest links of the insurgency first." Meanwhile, more oil-related news back stateside:
The prosecutor in the first federal U.S. trial over the U.N. oil-for-food program said on Tuesday he would show evidence of cash-stuffed envelopes, intrigue and back-channel communication with Baghdad.
Prosecutor Michael Farbiarz laid out his case during opening arguments at the trial of South Korean lobbyist Tongsun Park, who is accused of acting as an unregistered foreign agent of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the scandal-ridden oil-for-food program.
We'll take the unraveling of Oil-for-Food over rallies for an Oil-Free Congress any day.