December 21, 2006
Iraq war conspiracy—you can’t blame the Jews
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Sell off Iraq's oil fields, and private companies will pump oil in their little Iraqi patches to the max. Iraq, the neocons hoped, would crank out 6 million barrels of oil a day, bust its OPEC quota, flood the world market, demolish OPEC and, as the price of oil fell off a cliff, Saudi Arabia would fall to its knees.
"It's a no-brainer," Cohen told me at his office at Heritage. It was a dim little cubby, in which, in our hour or two together, the phone rang only once. For a guy who was supposed to be the godfather of a globe-spanning Zionist scheme to destroy the Arab oil monopoly, he seemed kind of, well ... pathetic.
And he failed. While the Norquist-promoted sell-offs, flat taxes and copyright laws were dictated into Iraqi law by occupation chief Paul Bremer, the Cohen neocon oil privatization died an unhappy death. What happened, Ari?
"Arab economists," he hissed, "hired by the State Department ... the witches brew of the Saudi royal family and Soviet Ostblock."
Well, the Soviet Ostblock does not exist, but the Arab economists do. I spoke with them in Riyadh, in London, in California, in wry accents mixing desert and Oxford drawls. They speak with confidence, knowing Saudi Arabia's political authority is protected by the royal families -- of Houston petroleum.
After two mad years of hunting, I discovered the real plan for Iraq's oil, the one that keeps our troops in Fallujah. Some 323 pages long and deeply confidential, it was drafted at the James A. Baker III Institute in Houston, Texas, under the strict guidance of big oil's minions.
It was the culmination of a series of planning groups that began in December 2000, with key players from the Baker Institute and Council on Foreign Relations (including one Ken Lay of Enron). This was followed by a State Department invasion-planning session in Walnut Creek, Calif., in February 2001, only weeks after Bush and Dick Cheney took office. Its concepts received official blessing after a March 2001 gathering of oil chiefs (and Lay) with Cheney, where the group reviewed with the vice president the map of Iraq's oil fields.
Once I discovered the big oil plan, several of the players agreed to speak with me (not, to the chagrin of some, realizing that I rarely hold such conversions without secretly recording them). Most forthright was Philip Carroll, former CEO of Shell Oil USA, who was flown into Baghdad on a C-17 to make sure there would be no neocon monkey business in America's newest oil fields.
It had been a very good war for big oil, with tripled oil prices meaning tripled profits. In Houston, I asked Carroll, a commanding, steel-straight chief executive, about Cohen's oil privatization plan, the anti-Saudi "no-brainer."
"I would agree with that statement" Carroll told me, "privatization is a no-brainer. It would only be thought about by someone with no brain."
Bush world is divided in two: neocons on one side and the establishment (which includes the oil companies and the Saudis) on the other. The plan the establishment created, crafted by Houston oil men, called for locking up Iraq's oil with agreements between a new state oil company, under "profit-sharing agreements" with IOCs (international oil companies). The combine could "enhance the [Iraq] government's relationship with OPEC," it read, by holding the line on quotas and thereby upholding high prices.
Wolfowitz Dammerung: Twilight of the Neocon Gods
So there you have it. Wolfowitz and his neocon clique -- bookish, foolish, vainglorious -- had their asses kicked utterly, finally and convincingly by the powers of petroleum, the Houston-Riyadh big oil axis.
Between the neocons and big oil, it wasn't much of a contest. The end-game was crushing, final. The Israelites had lost again in the land of Babylon. And to make certain the arriviste neocons got the point, public punishment was exacted, from exile to demotion to banishment.
In January 2005, neocon point man Douglas Feith resigned from the Defense Department; his assistant, Larry Franklin, later was busted for allegedly passing documents to pro-Israel lobbyists.
The State Department's knuckle-dragging enforcer of neocon orthodoxies, John Bolton, was booted from Washington to New York to the powerless post of U.N. ambassador, and just recently was kicked from there to the curb.
Finally, on March 16, 2005, second anniversary of the invasion, neocon leader of the pack Wolfowitz was cast out of the Pentagon war room and tossed into the World Bank, moving from the testosterone-powered, war-making decision center to the lending office for Bangladeshi chicken farmers. "The realists," crowed the triumphant editor of the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, "have defeated the fantasists!"
So much for the big Zionist conspiracy that supposedly directed this war. A half-dozen confused Jews, wandering in the policy desert a long distance from mainstream Jewish views, armed only with Leo Strauss' silly aphorisms, were no match for Texas oil majors and OPEC potentates with a combined throw weight of half a trillion barrels of oil.
Greg Palast is an investigative reporter and the author of the New York Times bestseller, "Armed Madhouse: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats, Bush Sinks, The Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's Behind Left, and Other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War," from which this piece is adapted. Palast can be reached at www.gregpalast.com.
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