No Blood for Oil?
Before, during, and, ironically enough, after the United States' invasion of Iraq, laments that the U.S. crossed swords with Saddam Hussein's Iraqi Army, sacrificed massive amounts of economic capital, and most importantly, allowed over 4,000 some troops and over 100,000 Iraqi civilians to die in vain for one thing: oil.
From the U.S.' own Energy Information Administration:
As the above graphs delineate, the United States' peak oil imports were in 2001 and 1999, respectively, before the invasion. Ever since the invasion in 2003, there have been intermittent jumps in the number of oil imports -- though, nothing near a consistent pattern in imports. As a matter of fact, oil imports from Iraq have been on a general decline since 2003.
From the same website:
The "monthly imports" graph should clarify the trend even futher. It's patent that under Saddam, the U.S. was far more capable of acquiring larger amounts of oil than after his overthrow.
So, that begs the question: did the U.S. invade a country to import even fewer oil products? After all, according to members of the anti-war movement, oil was "a major factor in the... war". Makes perfect sense.
Furthermore, with Iraq's first ever oil auctions in 2009, "not a single U.S. company secured a deal in the auction of contracts that will shape the Iraqi oil industry for the next couple of decades", according to a report from TIME magazine.
That's right -- the next couple of decades.
During this first-ever oil auction, Total Oil of France (yes, France, one of the pioneer nations denying UNSC action against Iraq in 2003) acquired a larger portion of Iraqi oil fields than the U.S. did. Russia and China, both of whom were on France's side when it came to the threat of Saddam's Iraq, were awarded with multi-billion dollar contracts.
The nail in the coffin for this particular argument is hammered in with the fact that the U.S. only owns 16% of "the shares by region in the increased production". Iraq is at the top of the chart, at 25%, Asia (including China) at 20%, the United Kingdom at 19%, and Russia at 11%.
So, one must inquire: why isn't the U.S. markedly the top shareholder here? After all, if it established such a substantial economic hegemony over Iraq's oil fields, shouldn't it unequivocally be in the lead?
"Ah, but how about Libya?" one might inquire. The U.S. (and later NATO) began its bombing campaign there in early 2011. It must have intervened for oil there, right? After all, Libya ranks as #9 in proven oil reserves, according to the CIA's World Factbook. There couldn't have been another reason for its bombing. Humanitarian concerns? Psh.
The numbers speak for themselves:
Of course, if the U.S. did acquire lucrative oil deals from its engagement here, there would be endless cries of how "imperialist" the U.S. is (wait -- there are cries that sound like this even without these contracts).
Perhaps the U.S. invaded Iraq for oil -- not because of the potential money that could be made off of the black gold, but for quite a different reason than one man believe. Saddam Hussein, a neurotic, Stalinist, and isolated tyrant on a choke point of the world's economy would be bad news not only for the U.S., but for its allies. After all, the projected oil production there is much greater than what it would ever be under Saddam (or any of his sons).
Joseph Suh is a Contributing Writer for The Propagandist