Monday, January 9, 2012

Was it Worth It?

First the cost: The numbers are in for Iraq but we're still jerking around in Afghanistan so things could change. In Iraq we lost 4500 American lives with about 32,000 wounded (Iraqi dead in the hundreds of thousands). The Iraqi war cost the taxpayer $800 billion but ongoing medical treatment etc. for veterans could easily double or triple that figure. Afghanistan has cost us about $500 billion so far with 1900 American dead and another thousand or so Coalition troops. Some reports suggest the final bill for both wars could exceed the cost of World War II.

So, was it worth it? What did we gain? To be honest I'm not sure, and I wish somebody would tell me. But I can tell you how other countries benefited. In 2010 the China National Petroleum Corp became Iraq's biggest customer scarfing up 5 major oil field auctions. China is busily rebuilding infrastructure and refineries and hopes to quadruple production in 10 years. Russia's Lukoil is also doing pretty well in Iraq along with Royal Dutch Shell. So how are American companies like Exxon Mobil and Conoco doing? Not so good, they got nada.

I wonder what was going through the minds of all those oil executives and Chi-Com government types while they were getting the Baghdad red-carpet butt-smooch as American choppers hovered overhead providing security. Russia and China vehemently opposed the war at every turn but that didn't stop them from swooping in when the goodies were being handed out. They couldn't help but think Americans are the biggest chumps on the planet; and justifiably so.

We are fools. We are so blinded by political correctness, and so weak and afraid of criticism that we might, just might act in our own self interest that we have become an international laughing stock. Sometimes you have to say to hell with what others think. When you do that you are free to act, and that brings opportunity and possibility and that my friends is how you progress. We did not go into Iraq because of oil, so now we have to prove it by allowing our diplomatic and economic enemies to steal resources for which our soldiers paid so dearly in blood? We liberated Iraq, not the Chinese or Russians. If any country benefits it should be our Coalition partners and us.

This will not bode well for the United States. Not only do we not get any economic return for our sacrifice but we demonstrate our weakness before the World. And showing weakness as opposed to projecting strength is how wars start.


Mudge said...

China and Russia, along with France had a head start on these deals. While US And UK were busy enforcing the UN Security Council's sanctions (recall "oil for food") the aforementioned were engaged in striking oil deals with Sadam Hussein and China and Russia were actively smuggling oil in violation of the UNSC resolutions. Of course, the US and UK are permanent members of the UNSC so you'd expect nothing less from them. Oh are China, Russia and France. Hmmm. The UN remains the precious infant in a stroller to so many American liberals. But pull back the precious infant's bonnet and you'll see a cigar smoking booze swilling unshaven old man who'd happily put a shiv in your ribs while you coo at his goo-goos. The US needs to come to grips with what this body of international unity really is--a deeply corrupt, expensive (to the US) and dangerous sham whose only truly effective accomplishment is to subjugate American supremacy and sovereingty. Both Bush 1 and 2 understood that. But the left never will, I'm afraid.

El Sid said...

I'd go easy on the conspiracy theories. The oilfields were auctioned, and the US companies were outbid - because the deals on offer were lousy ones for their shareholders. In effect they were bidding for how much tax they would pay, and the winners are ending up paying ~98% tax. Almost all the financial benefit goes to Iraq. Which is not very interesting for Western firms, but is OK for China as they are just interested in access to supplies.

The numbers really are crazy - you might get $1.15/barrel profit, but only on incremental production, and you're having to invest $10-20bn per field to get a 4-5% return on investment. Would you risk that much money for so little return, in somewhere like Iraq with all its problems?

And now Iraq is becoming a protectorate of Iran, all because the Pentagon read too much Clausewitz and not enough Syrianos. Who merely wrote down in the 9th century what the Byzantines had long understood - you never seek to destroy enemies in central Asia, because their place will always be taken by a bigger and stronger enemy from the east whilst your army and treasury have been depleted. Better to preserve both and use the first enemy as allies to defeat the common foe.


(BTW, I've left a long reply to your piece over at

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Sorry Sid...CW didn't write this one...The Hammer did.

Newer Post Older Post Home