Bill Sykes' Newsletter from America.
An ex-Brit gives his views-(without fear
or favor)---of the American Scene
As this may be the last chance of reader’s of "View from America" to
give forth and present their views, (Please refer to Part B of the October
2005 edition of "View from America"), I decided that it would
be appropriate that a reader of this newsletter should be given the chance to
provide the next to the last word.
William recently sent me a copy of an article that he wrote
three years ago on the 24th September 2002.
This letter gives a very educated, eloquent, and brilliantly philosophical
rhetorical summary of his thoughts at the time of the United States determination
to go to war with Iraq with their intent of preserving Middle East oil supplies,
in order to "make the world safe for America’s gas guzzling SUVs".
He also comments upon potential before and after results of a war with Iraq
and goes on to describe very succinctly why America chose to go to war and
the possible downstream economic effects of such a war.
letter is quoted verbatim in its entirety.
William writes from UK. "
It’s the oil, stupid":
As official Washington grinds inexorably forward
towards war - and 'regime change' - with Iraq,
UN resolutions or not, it seems increasingly clear that
the so-called war on terrorism has become a convenient
cover for a much wider agenda on the part of certain influential
thinkers and policy makers. Top of that agenda is oil,
and the sure access to it at a reasonable price.
agenda spreads well beyond Iraq into the arena of nation
building and recasting the old orders and even boundaries
of the Middle East.
Washington’s attitude towards Middle East oil reminds
us of the quote of an eccentric Japanese-Canadian member
of the US Senate Senator Hayakawa who, when asked his view
on the Panama Canal and the prospect of returning it to
the locals, quipped "Why, it’s ours, we stole
it fair and square".
The Arabs are allowed to enjoy
the fruits of their oil sales, just as long as they make
it available on demand and are nice to Israel. Otherwise,
they can look out.
Oil is presently selling for around $30 a barrel, a price
that is believed to contain a war premium of $5—10
If there were a short war with a quick result then a combination of Iraqi oil
becoming available and a collapse of the war premium could drive oil below
$20 a barrel. This would act as a tax reduction and stimulation to the beleaguered
Western economies. But if the war is messy and protracted, or President Hussein
decides to pollute his oil fields, and possibly those of his neighbours, with
nuclear or other materials, then oil could conceivably spike in the $50 to
$100 range. This would well and truly seal the fate of the Western economies
to a renewed recession.
The assumption amongst think tanks advising Bush is that
a regime change can be effected reasonably easily using
disgruntled elements in the military and society to turn
on Saddam. At least, they are selling it to the American
public that way. There are echoes of the Spanish-American
War of 1898 and America’s 'manifest
destiny' here. The Murdoch media empire is playing the role of the
Hearst yellow press of that earlier time as cheerleader in chief for war.
The overwhelming military power enjoyed by the US at this time is allowing
these policy wonks to dream wider dreams of restructuring the Middle East
to make it safe for all time for Israel and US oil interests.
Whilst Iraq may be the first 'beneficiary' of
this new American destiny, Iran, Saudi Arabia and even
Egypt are close behind. Saudi Arabia is presently unsettled
by the internal fights to succeed the ailing King Fahd.
The chief protagonists are the Crown Prince Abdullah (the
King’s half brother) and the King’s seven full
brothers (known as the Sudheiri seven). Abdullah and Washington
are not close; he is seen unhelpful to the US and helpful
to Al-Qaeda. Washington would prefer a more malleable puppet.
But the think tanks, taking a longer view, dream of a democratised
Saudi Arabia and propagate plans to redraw its boundaries,
leaving the religious and oil-poor areas in a separate
These ideas have been given greater credibility this
last week with the announcement of a new Bush doctrine
of pre-emptive intervention when US interest are threatened.
Conspiracy theorists will also look to the influence of
large US oil interests, who are prominent supporters of
the Republicans. They see a unique opportunity to gain
at the expense of Russian and French oil interests in Iraq,
later Iran and possibly Saudi Arabia.
So to rephrase the Clinton campaign slogan, we can forget the useful fool,
Al-Qaeda, - it’s the oil stupid!
It’s ours we stole it fair and square. The world must be made safe for
gas guzzling SUVs (sport utility vehicles).
History however, is rarely that simple. Only simpletons
believe it is. The Middle East has been a quagmire for
outsiders bent on changes throughout the ages. The new
Crusaders should examine this record before plunging everyone
into this new adventure to make the world safe for Exxon
My comments on Williams letter:
obviously could not have said it better myself - William
has put forward an excellent appraisal of the conditions
that existed in the Washington political and military establishments
three years ago and in doing so provided an insight into
the future of a world clamouring for oil products at any
If the objective of the President of the United States, and some senior members
of his administration’s agenda of going to war with Iraq was, as the
reader states, to "ensure a secure access to oil at a reasonable
price" and, "make the world safe for America’s gas
guzzling SUVs", then this President and his cohorts have failed
miserably on all counts, as the world price of a barrel of oil has more than
doubled since the war started and consequently the price of a gallon of gasoline
has soared to astronomical levels worldwide.
Reports, not rumours, (true or false), have circulated
for some time, suggesting that oil companies worldwide
have opted to lower production and refining quotas in order
to increase gasoline prices - would they do that - of
course they would, why should they stop doing what they
have always done - that is to charge the highest price
per gallon that the market will bear - and blame it upon
supply and demand. Of course there is the hidden cost in
each gallon of gasoline of the iniquitous tax that is generally
added by Governments, States, countries, etc.
time is long overdue that American oil companies, and their
associates, be investigated to determine whether alleged
fraudulent, corrupt, and illegal price fixing has led to
increased prices at the pump for the general populous,
and has resulted in elevated oil company profits.
same time a study should be conducted to determine if it
would be feasible to introduce a law limiting the amount
of tax that each and every State can lawfully add to the
baseline price of each gallon of gasoline.
This investigation should be conducted by a select committee
of unbiased Independent Financial Accountants who would
be given complete authority to examine oil company books
and financial records, including prices, profits, and oil
company revenues as compared to their overall transportation,
refining, and other stipulated costs, which should use
as a basis the price per barrel of oil versus the price
per gallon of gasoline calculated during the period from
the current day - retro-active to the 11th of September
2001 - in order to establish if any corrupt pricing practices
have been introduced during that period.
I know that this is a form of nationalization but perhaps
that is what is needed.
A paragraph entitled, "The price of oil" which
can be found in the September
edition of “View from