ALL ABOUT OIL?….Via Body and Soul, here’s a truly puzzling story from the Observer:

Facing its most chronic shortage in oil stocks for 27 years, the US has this month turned to an unlikely source of help – Iraq. Weeks before a prospective invasion of Iraq, the oil-rich state has doubled its exports of oil to America, helping US refineries cope with a debilitating strike in Venezuela.

Yeesh. And speaking of oil, yesterday Eugene Volokh criticized Reason’s Hit & Run for implying that one of the U.S. government’s unspoken war aims was “stealing everything in Iraq that isn’t nailed down.” Eugene wonders what evidence they have for that accusation.

Well, I imagine that “everything” refers to Iraq’s oil (what else do they have, after all?), and the Observer article goes on to say:

Richard Lugar, the hawkish chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, suggests reluctant Europeans risk losing out on oil contracts. “The case he had made is that the Russians and the French, if they want to have a share in the oil operations or concessions or whatever afterward, they need to be involved in the effort to depose Saddam as well,” said Lugar’s spokesman.

And we all remember that article in Newsday a couple of weeks ago reporting that hawks in the White House were advocating “appropriation of Iraqi oil income as “spoils of war,” right? What’s more, Bush has rather studiously avoided saying what his plans are for Iraq’s oil after a war, despite the fact that it would certainly help world opinion to state unequivocally that we have no plans to monopolize their oil production.

Is that enough? In the end, none of this might happen, but it strikes me that there is certainly sufficient evidence to allow Reason to wonder out loud if it’s something in Bush’s playbook.

POSTSCRIPT: And one more thing: why do we need more Iraqi oil anyway? I thought that whenever oil production dropped off, our pals the Saudis were just supposed to open up their spigots a little. What happened this time?

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