Bush Says U.S. Pullout Would Let Iraq Raidcals Use Oil As A Weapon
Date: Monday, November 06 2006
After all other excuses have failed it's NOW about the OIL? 4Canada
By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 5, 2006; Page A06
GREELEY, Colo., Nov. 4 -- During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, President Bush and his aides sternly dismissed suggestions that the war was all about oil. "Nonsense," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld declared. "This is not about that," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.
Now, more than 3 1/2 years later, someone else is asserting that the war is about oil -- President Bush.
As he barnstorms across the country campaigning for Republican candidates in Tuesday's elections, Bush has been citing oil as a reason to stay in Iraq. If the United States pulled its troops out prematurely and surrendered the country to insurgents, he warns audiences, it would effectively hand over Iraq's considerable petroleum reserves to terrorists who would use it as a weapon against other countries.
"You can imagine a world in which these extremists and radicals got control of energy resources," he said at a rally here Saturday for Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.). "And then you can imagine them saying, 'We're going to pull a bunch of oil off the market to run your price of oil up unless you do the following. And the following would be along the lines of, well, 'Retreat and let us continue to expand our dark vision.' "
Bush said extremists controlling Iraq "would use energy as economic blackmail" and try to pressure the United States to abandon its alliance with Israel. At a stop in Missouri on Friday, he suggested that such radicals would be "able to pull millions of barrels of oil off the market, driving the price up to $300 or $400 a barrel."
Oil is not the only reason Bush offers for staying in Iraq, but his comments on the stump represent another striking evolution of his argument on behalf of the war. The slogan of "no blood for oil" became a rallying cry for antiwar activists prior to the March 2003 invasion and angered administration officials. "There are certain things like that, myths, that are floating around," Rumsfeld told Steve Kroft of CBS Radio in November 2002. "It has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil."
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Saturday that Bush's latest argument does not reflect a real shift. "We're still not saying we went into Iraq for oil. That's not true," he said. "But there is the realistic strategic concern that if a country with such enormous oil reserves and the corresponding revenues you can derive from that is controlled by essentially a terrorist organization, it could be destabilizing for the region."