Top REPUBLICAN Leaders Say Iraq War Was Really about Oil

Forget What Liberals Say … Listen to What Republican Leaders Themselves Say

Many rank and file Republicans assume that only liberals claim the Iraq war was for oil.

In reality, the top Republican leaders say the same thing.

For example, U.S. Secretary of Defense – and former 12-year Republican Senator – Chuck Hagel said of the Iraq war in 2007:

People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are. They talk about America’s national interest. What the hell do you think they’re talking about? We’re not there for figs.

4 Star General John Abizaid – the former commander of CENTCOM with responsibility for Iraq – said:

Of course it’s about oil, it’s very much about oil, and we can’t really deny that.

Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan – a long-time Republican – said in 2007:

I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil

President George W. Bush said in 2005 that keeping Iraqi oil away from the bad guys was a key motive for the Iraq war:

‘If Zarqawi and [Osama] bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks,” Bush said. ”They’d seize oil fields to fund their ambitions.”

John McCain said in 2008:

My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will — that will then prevent us — that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East.

Sarah Palin said in 2008:

Better to start that drilling [for oil within the U.S.] today than wait and continue relying on foreign sources of energy. We are a nation at war and in many [ways] the reasons for war are fights over energy sources, which is nonsensical when you consider that domestically we have the supplies ready to go.

Former Bush speechwriter David Frum – author of the infamous “Axis of Evil” claim in Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address – writes in Newsweek this week:

In 2002, Chalabi [the Iraqi politician and oil minister who the Bush Administration favored to lead Iraq after the war] joined the annual summer retreat of the American Enterprise Institute near Vail, Colorado. He and Cheney spent long hours together, contemplating the possibilities of a Western-oriented Iraq: an additional source of oil, an alternative to U.S. dependency on an unstable-looking Saudi Arabia.

Key war architect – and Under Secretary of State – John Bolton said:

The critical oil and natural gas producing region that we fought so many wars to try and protectour economy from the adverse impact of losing that supply or having it available only at very high prices.

A high-level National Security Council officer strongly implied that Cheney and the U.S. oil chiefs planned the Iraq war before 9/11 in order to get control of its oil.

The Sunday Herald reported:

It is a document that fundamentally questions the motives behind the Bush administration’s desire to take out Saddam Hussein and go to war with Iraq.

Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century describes how America is facing the biggest energy crisis in its history. It targets Saddam as a threat to American interests because of his control of Iraqi oilfields and recommends the use of ‘military intervention’ as a means to fix the US energy crisis.

The report is linked to a veritable who’s who of US hawks, oilmen and corporate bigwigs. It was commissioned by James Baker, the former US Secretary of State under George Bush Snr, and submitted to Vice-President Dick Cheney in April 2001 — a full five months before September 11. Yet it advocates a policy of using military force against an enemy such as Iraq to secure US access to, and control of, Middle Eastern oil fields.

One of the most telling passages in the document reads: ‘Iraq remains a destabilising influence to … the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East. Saddam Hussein has also demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon and to use his own export programme to manipulate oil markets.

‘This would display his personal power, enhance his image as a pan-Arab leader … and pressure others for a lifting of economic sanctions against his regime. The United States should conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq including military, energy, economic and political/diplomatic assessments.


‘Military intervention’ is supported …


The document also points out that ‘the United States remains a prisoner of its energy dilemma’, and that one of the ‘consequences’ of this is a ‘need for military intervention’.

At the heart of the decision to target Iraq over oil lies dire mismanagement of the US energy policy over decades by consecutive administrations. The report refers to the huge power cuts that have affected California in recent years and warns of ‘more Californias’ ahead.

It says the ‘central dilemma’ for the US administration is that ‘the American people continue to demand plentiful and cheap energy without sacrifice or inconvenience’. With the ‘energy sector in critical condition, a crisis could erupt at any time [which] could have potentially enormous impact on the US … and would affect US national security and foreign policy in dramatic ways.”


The response is to put oil at the heart of the administration — ‘a reassessment of the role of energy in American foreign policy’.


Iraq is described as the world’s ‘key swing producer … turning its taps on and off when it has felt such action was in its strategic interest”. The report also says there is a ‘possibility that Saddam may remove Iraqi oil from the market for an extended period of time’, creating a volatile market.


Halliburton is one of the firms thought by analysts to be in line to make a killing in any clean-up operation after another US-led war on Iraq.

All five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the UK, France, China, Russia and the US — have international oil companies that would benefit from huge windfalls in the event of regime change in Baghdad. The best chance for US firms to make billions would come if Bush installed a pro-US Iraqi opposition member as the head of a new government.

Representatives of foreign oil firms have already met with leaders of the Iraqi opposition. Ahmed Chalabi, the London-based leader of the Iraqi National Congress, said: ‘American companies will have a big shot at Iraqi oil.’

Postscript 1: Again, it is not only American politicians and oil companies.  As the Independent reported in 2011:

Plans to exploit Iraq’s oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world’s largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show.


The minutes of a series of meetings between ministers and senior oil executives are at odds with the public denials of self-interest from oil companies and Western governments at the time.


Minutes of a meeting with BP, Shell and BG (formerly British Gas) on 31 October 2002 read: “Baroness Symons agreed that it would be difficult to justify British companies losing out in Iraq in that way if the UK had itself been a conspicuous supporter of the US government throughout the crisis.”

The minister then promised to “report back to the companies before Christmas” on her lobbying efforts.

The Foreign Office invited BP in on 6 November 2002 to talk about opportunities in Iraq “post regime change”. Its minutes state: “Iraq is the big oil prospect. BP is desperate to get in there and anxious that political deals should not deny them the opportunity.”

After another meeting, this one in October 2002, the Foreign Office’s Middle East director at the time, Edward Chaplin, noted: “Shell and BP could not afford not to have a stake in [Iraq] for the sake of their long-term future… We were determined to get a fair slice of the action for UK companies in a post-Saddam Iraq.”

Whereas BP was insisting in public that it had “no strategic interest” in Iraq, in private it told the Foreign Office that Iraq was “more important than anything we’ve seen for a long time”.

BP was concerned that if Washington allowed TotalFinaElf’s existing contact with Saddam Hussein to stand after the invasion it would make the French conglomerate the world’s leading oil company. BP told the Government it was willing to take “big risks” to get a share of the Iraqi reserves, the second largest in the world.

Over 1,000 documents were obtained under Freedom of Information over five years by the oil campaigner Greg Muttitt. They reveal that at least five meetings were held between civil servants, ministers and BP and Shell in late 2002.

The 20-year contracts signed in the wake of the invasion were the largest in the history of the oil industry. They covered half of Iraq’s reserves – 60 billion barrels of oil …

Postscript 2: Oil was not the only reason for the war.

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  • Here’s a good clip of David Frum talking about the oil of Iraq today on the Wolf Blitzer show:

  • Dear Washington’s Blog;

    I love your blog so very much. Could you do us a small favor and add a tweet button to each blog post? I’m lazy… errr… I prefer convenience. But seriously it’s for your benefit to add it as well.

  • Dear Washington’s Blog;

    I love your blog so very much. Could you do us a small favor and add a tweet button to each blog post? I’m lazy… errr… I prefer convenience. But seriously it’s for your benefit to add it as well.

  • It truly is sickening to see what the US NATO and other allies get away with,and it’s easy to find and read their plans for further wars.They want perpetual wars,to enable full control over all rescources,not just oil,and that’s why they have set up the police state at home.To handle the unrest at home,when they crash our economies so we won’t be able to fight back and stop this madness! Where’s the outrage? People have become apathic to it thanks to all the massive propaganda.

    • juandos

      Oh boy! Yet another conspiracy loon…

      • FedUpCanadian

        Yet another braindead sheep, juandos… YOU.

  • 5 dancing shlomos

    the war against iraq was, still is all about israel.
    the propagandists/liars were jews.
    the planners and aggressive pushers of the war were jews.
    the major defenders of the war were/are jews.
    the jew’s puppets.

    • juandos

      All right now, let’s hear it from the anti-semetic peanut gallery…

      Babble on fool…

      • CaptainFun

        Some Muslims are Semetic people as well. You can be anti-jew without being anti-semetic.

  • Bud Holzman

    I was in charge of evaluating the oil and gas reserves of Iraq in 2004. I am a geologist with over 40 years of experience. I went over there and for 6 months evaluated all 84 discovered fields and made recommendations to both the Iraqis and US on how to repair and fix their broken systems.I also reevaluated their reserves and that number has been published–230 BBO. I also had DIRECT orders from Washington to NOT recommend any American companies to avoid a conflict of interest. I helped in writing several articles of their Constitution. One of them stated tthat the natural resources of Iraq belong to their people. If this war was fought for oil, why did the US encourage me to make sure that the Iraqis owned the oil. Recent bidding on Iraq fields show that America was not granted any special deals. Check the winning bids. China, Russia , India and several other countries won most of the contracts.

    • John Doe

      That is so critical Bud. I’ve never understood why on earth we did not receive anything in return. We could have and should have taken control of the oil….spoils go to the victors…but we seemingly got nothing in return so what the hell was the point. Perhaps destabliization of the entire region has always been the plan. Since Iraq, we’ve taken down Egypt, Libya and Syria with clear intent.

      • Bud Holzman

        We have
        not taken down Egypt. The Egyptians are smart and turned out a very dangerous
        group. Their country is becoming fairly stable for that region. Syria is a
        completely different animal. I worked the northeastern part of Syria and that
        region, now in ISIS hands, has always been in political turmoil. As for us
        getting the spoils of war, I and our government at the time, wanted the Iraqi
        people to own the oil. Unfortunately Malaki and several hard-line Shia leaders
        wanted to punish the Kurds and Sunni by taking over the oil and putting
        restrictions on who will produce. However, in the end, it is a world market for
        oil and natural gas and it really doesn’t matter who puts the oil on the
        market. It will still end up in your gas tank one day.

  • Skye Bowen

    Bull-shit. Sadaam was trading oil for Euros, and other non-USD currencies. He was also working with Gadhaffi to bring the gold dinar into international trade. This is why Iraq was invaded, and he was murdered. He was a threat to the machine.

    • jimmydominic

      you’re right. it’s multiple reasons. they mention this in the last link at the bottom of the article

  • journo

    It’s hardly a revelation that the totally misguided invasion of Iraq was all about oil. But looking at balance sheets, I’d say the military/congressional/industrial complex did very well by it as well.

    • see

      That is exactly why War in Iraq was started.

  • J. Alejandro

    Very convenient and selective. Grow up people. Oil is what everybody is interested in that region: The U.S., Europe, the Russians, the Chinese. Even the great Obama said a couple of days ago the present and future of Iraq is in “America’s interests”.

    Perhaps memories need to be refreshed about what “Top Democrats leaders” said about Saddam, and the policy of regime change for Iraq of the Clinton administration which they supported also for Bush when he came to office.

    • john doe

      if iraq was about oil why did we not take control of it? you realize we received nothing in return for the cost and sacrifice right? the money coming from those oil wells is still going to the iraqis…not the US! so please explain how these facts are so contrary to your theory.

      • kimyo

        suppose for a moment that dubya actually has a few marbles rolling around in there (well, okay, not dubya, but his handlers).

        so, what we have now in iraq is what exactly what dubya’s plan called for. the goal was not to seize iraq’s oil and sell it off, it was instead to take it off the market for a decade (boosting prices for saudi output). as well, if you accept that what was ‘achieved’ there is what was planned, then fracturing/destabilizing the state makes sense, in that it provides the breeding ground for our next enemy-du-jour, isis.

        when you say ‘we received nothing’, that’s correct, if you’re talking about the american people. however, firms like blackwater / halliburton / bechtel / boeing didn’t do so bad (2 trillion plus dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to, but it’s nothing to sneeze at).

        • Chris

          There are contractors that always profit in a war, but to be honest there’s no way around that. The government strongly relies on contractors, not just with war, but many things. Private firms have always build machinery and such for the government. And yes, the profit. Are they supposed to do this work for free? I’m no fan of GWB and Cheney in the least, but even I don’t believe for a second that they sent the US to war just as a plot to make money for private contractors. That wouldn’t merely be immoral, it would just be idiotic. Couldn’t they have accomplished the same with tax breaks?

          Everyone claims we went into Iraq for oil as if that’s indisputable fact, but nobody provides any numbers or evidence showing that this has actually been the case. Pointing out the fact that contractors made money isn’t an argument, they ALWAYS make money, otherwise they wouldn’t be in business in the first place. We get less than 5% of our oil from Iraq and less now than we did before the war, even with sanctions in place. If we needed to get to their oil, why didn’t we just lift the sanctions?

          • Guest

            That is not how it works. What Western imperial powers do is set up puppet rulers so that no one nationalises oil reserves in the Middle East. That is why they have helped Islamists take/retain power in the past, squashing and secular, nationalist government from cutting off easy access to blood oil.

      • see

        Because the war was a scam & the government wasn’t able to plan & implement the scam to their advantage. So we lost American lives & money. I think it is an embarrassment.

  • JJ
  • kbro
  • kbro

    from the cnn article posted below :

    “Yes, the Iraq War was a war for oil, and it was a war with winners: Big Oil.

    has been 10 years since Operation Iraqi Freedom’s bombs first landed in
    Baghdad. And while most of the U.S.-led coalition forces have long
    since gone, Western oil companies are only getting started.

    the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s domestic oil industry was fully nationalized
    and closed to Western oil companies. A decade of war later, it is
    largely privatized and utterly dominated by foreign firms.

    From ExxonMobil and Chevron to BP and Shell, the West’s largest oil companies have set up shop in Iraq. So have a slew of American oil service companies, including Halliburton, the Texas-based firm Dick Cheney ran before becoming George W. Bush’s running mate in 2000.”

  • see

    Of course the US invaded Iraq to get oil minerals strategic access. However, NO ONE in the government could say “this war is a scam. We have wealthy investors who want resources in the mid east, and we do what they pay us to do.” So it was a faux, ineffective war that caused pain & suffering for some who served in the Military and it wasted US money that should have been spent on US domestic problems. Incredibly our government also intervened militarily in Afghanistan. More loss of American soldiers’ lives and loss of US money. Such a malingering error!

  • Lynn Rowe

    So many deaths. So many lives ruined. For oil. And the “no blood for oil” world majority were mocked, threatened and bullied. We were also 100% correct. And the bullshit will happen again; Iran, Syria…the never-ending quest to make the supremely-wealthy in America more supremely wealthy. Soldiers of course are just “fungible” after all.