Thursday, 21 April 2011

Weapons of Mass Distraction - Its All About Oil!

The excellent Phil Hedron at the Dizzy Thinks blog here takes the lid off the oil motivation issue:

Phil refers to a supposedly revelatory story in The Independant that 'exposes' a series of meetings between major oil companies and the Govt before the Iraq war - supposedly they illustrate that the war was not about democracy or weapons but oil.

No surprise there then.

What is surprising, is how many people do still believe that the foreign wars that we have recently got involved with are about anything other than serving our national interests. There are still plenty of people around who really believe that the entire Iraq escapade was launched just because of some mistaken intelligence about weaponry.

Politicians continue to fight shy of coming clean about the true motives for war in Iraq and now Libya.

Somewhere, somehow it was decided that it was better to create and perpetuate lies about humanitarian motives, or desires to get rid of dangerous dictators or dangerous weapons than it would be to tell the people the truth.

And perhaps that was the right decision.

Imagine if Dave just said the following one day:

"It's time that this government was honest with it's people. Everyone needs to think about how completely dependant all our lives are on oil and gas. Think about how we generate our electricity, power our vehicles, live our lives.

And then everyone must imagine how our lives would be affected if the oil ran out. If suddenly the lights went off, we couldn't fill up our cars or keep ourselves warm in winter or grow and harvest crops using powered machinery. Our economy and our way of life would collapse - totally.

Which is why this government must deal with what Tony Blair described as the most pressing issue of our time - energy security.

But instead of making up stories about how awful dictators are or how we want to democratise countries or prevent the spread of Islamist terrorism, we are just going to be honest and tell you it's all about the oil.

We are not going to mess around any longer trying to tell you that the motivations behind coming up with natural energy sources such as wind, wave and nuclear are because of some dodgy scientific claims that the earth is getting too hot..

Many of you have known for a long time that this is just a ruse. Really it's all because we need to try and reduce our dependancy on oil - not because of some supposed damage it does to the environment but because unfortunately, the oil is in other people's countries.

So here we are telling you it straight. We are hooked on oil, you are hooked on oil, we and you cannot live without it so let's just be honest about it. Accept that we have to keep sending our soldiers to die in foreign countries to make sure we get our, or rather their, oil."

What would be the outcome of a burst of honesty such as this from our PM?

Would we rally behind our leaders when they called for war or would public opinion degenerate into moral outrage about the idea that we would invade countries or assist the overthrow of other governments just to get access to their natural resources.


The lesson of history is that if you want to motivate people to go to, or support going to war, then you need to come up with some higher moral purpose than just personal or national gain.

Essentially you need to wrap up what people would generally think of as being bad to look like it is doing good. Think back to The Crusades and virtually every conflict since.

So. Is it right that the government continues to lie to the people? Is it actually better to lie to people than tell them the truth if, in so doing, you protect them from the consequences of their realisation?


Anonymous said...

The argument that the war in Iraq was about protecting the supply of oil to the West fails to stand up because there was no threat to that supply.

Sadam Hussein's regime was producing oil and selling it to the West. There had been no threat to that oil production prior to the invasion and indeed any military action would have put at risk that supply (even for a short time) and would have had an impact on the price.

The West is content to buy oil from corrupt, oppressive and undemocratic regimes (Iran, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria) without feeling the need to invade.

Iraq is a relatively small producer of oil (2.5% world production in 2009)and its location makes it more important to Europe than the USA. If the US was interested in securing a stable supply of oil for its own markeks then it would have invaded Venezuela (3% production and closer to home).

The argument about oil and Iraq is always promoted by those against the war because they think it will drum up more support and is easier to sell than their real motivation which is anti-capitalist and anti-war.

Robin, I'm surprised you have been drawn into promoting such a position.

Sometimes the truth is less exciting than the alternatives - Iraq's support for terrorism posed a threat to the peaceful existence of democracy in the West and it was time that we did something about it.

Robin Horsley said...

Anon. I think you misunderstood my position if you think it's anti capitalist and anti war. I am with dizzy. Whilst I don't have any insight into what's actually going on behind the scenes I do generally accept that if the motives behind some of the military action we have taken in the last few years are energy security based then that is not a bad thing. Fact is, we need cheap energy. As you have commented as anon I have no idea if your comments ref Iraq have any cred but thanks anyway for your contribution.

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