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Iraq: An Explosive Mix of Oil and Politics

October 29, 2002

Re "Is Big Oil Lubricating War Drive?" Commentary, Oct. 25: Jeremy Rifkin needs to stop watching so much TV and start taking his medication. His theories of oil conspiracy are about as grounded in reality as the theory -- also widely believed "in the streets" in parts of the world -- that the Israelis engineered the Sept. 11 attacks. His assertion that in Europe "most people believe" that the Americans are out to steal Iraq's oil fields is ridiculous. If oil were the real issue, one would expect Europe, which is far more dependent on Middle Eastern oil, to be leading the charge.

Most Europeans, like most Americans, recognize that Saddam Hussein poses a threat but that there are questions about how immediate that threat is and what should be done about it. Peddling conspiracy theories may help Rifkin sell his books, but it only confuses the debate over difficult decisions that need to be made in the real world.

Bruce G. Merritt



Could Hussein, the Bully of Baghdad, become a world-honored martyr? With President Bush's help it is possible. Rifkin implies that if we go it alone, the suspicion that war with Iraq is for nothing more than to confiscate its oil will be confirmed. Could the U.S. ever sustain a military might big enough to live forever as robber baron to the world?

Rex Styzens

Long Beach


Missing from Rifkin's piece is any explanation of what the oil industry has to gain from a war with Iraq. It stands to reason that a successful war resulting in the liberation of Iraq would lead to lower world oil prices. This would not be good for the oil industry, as margins would be reduced.

So where's the benefit? Assuming there is an oil angle, wouldn't the beneficiaries of such action be the consumers, not producers, of oil?

James Stirling



Question: "Is Big Oil Lubricating War Drive?"

Answer: Dumb question.

Cay Sehnert

South Pasadena

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