The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century, by Kevin Phillips
If my military brothers haven’t read this book, they should. Part 1: Oil and American Supremacy will hit way too close to home for those like me who spent time in Iraq. Today there remains a dearth of evidence indicating any Iraqi weapons of mass destruction but a preponderance of data supporting the war was about oil. Having been there, both on the streets of Tikrit and in the battle-staff update briefings, I agree with his conclusion.
While Kevin Phillips, a former Republican strategist makes a compelling argument on the impacts of the big money influence of our political bodies, this book is not an easy read. He makes a point, sometimes on the outrageous side, and then takes off on a story reaching through all ages often deviating from his main point. When he gets down to the dirty details, he back up his thesis. For history buffs, his side runs are extremely educational. For a guy who wants the uncut facts it was a difficult read.
In the end, with my own flash-backs to division staff meetings where slides tracked oil production from various geographic areas, indicated up or down trends, and feedback discussed as to what the US military was doing to aid the effort, Phillips conclusion that it was all about oil rings true. While I personally dislike his style and historical sidetracks, Phillips makes his point and supports it with over a thousand references. A short excerpt:
“In Baghdad’s Iraqi National Museum, left wide open to looters in 2003 by careless military planners, dozens of wall maps explaining Iraq’s achievements as the cradle of world civilization: it’s invention of writing and the wheel, the birth of mathematics, and the establishment of the first code of laws (Hammurabi’s). By most archeologists’ accounts, the museum and the National Library were world-class institutions with unique collections.
Even so, the first major building to be surrounded and occupied by American soldiers was the one housing truly vital maps and artifacts: The Iraqi Oil Ministry. Here were thousands of seismic portrats of the nation’s oil fields, the subterranean keys to the Majnoon, northern Rumaila, West Qurna, and many more. World opinion had little difficulty in mistaking U.S. priorities.”