Kevin Doyle Blog

Writing and activism

‘Rich Man’s War – Poor Man’s Blood’

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I found this photo recently, taken 13 years ago on this day at an anti-war protest held here in Cork. I’ve re-touched the image only for effect and re-posted it below.

Rich Man's War...Back in 2003 we were being told that the US led invasion of Iraq was all about finding those “weapons of mass destruction”. On the other hand the banner suggests a different narrative to do with oil and greed. From the vantage point of 2016 I thought it might be worth it to take a quick look over what we now know. Here it is:

CNN ran an article on April 15th 2015 about the Iraq war. In Why the war in Iraq was fought for Big Oil the following was noted:

  • Before the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s domestic oil industry was fully nationalized and closed to Western oil companies. A decade later, the same industry was largely privatized and utterly dominated by foreign firms.
  • ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Shell Oil all set up operations in Iraq once the war was ‘officially’ concluded.
  • A number of smaller American oil service companies are also doing business in Iraq.  One particular company that is busy there is Halliburton, a firm linked to Dick Cheney who was George W. Bush’s running mate in 2000 US Presidential election.
  • Also noteworthy is the fact that Western oil companies are now at the head of efforts to produce more oil from Iraq oil fields – considered to the among the largest and most lucrative in the world.
  • CNN notes that this did not happen by accident either. “Representatives from ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Halliburton, among others, met with Cheney’s staff in January 2003 to discuss plans for Iraq’s postwar industry. For the next decade, former and current executives of western oil companies acted first as administrators of Iraq’s oil ministry and then as “advisers” to the Iraqi government.
  • The Bush Administration also led the way in forcing through contracts in the Iraq oil industry hat are highly favourable to Big Oil. CNN again: These contracts “provide exceptionally long contract terms and high ownership stakes and eliminate requirements that Iraq’s oil stay in Iraq, that companies invest earnings in the local economy or hire a majority of local workers.”

What about the other side of the equation – Poor Man’s Blood. Business Insider, drawing on data from the Iraq Index [The Brookings Institute] and the Costs of War Project, reported as follows last year. To date:

  • 134,000 civilians have been killed directly due to the Iraq War.
  • 2.8 million persons remain either internally displaced or have fled the country.
  • 655,000 persons have died in Iraq since the invasion that would not have been expected to die if the invasion had not occurred. This particular piece of data has its origins in a study explained here and published by The Washington Post.
  • The cost of war has been estimated at $2.2 trillion. This figure referring to costs up to 2014 only. It is expected that they are will rise further.

Oh, and those “weapons of mass destruction”?  They haven’t been found… I guess you could say the protest banner was spot on.

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Written by Kevin Doyle

March 8, 2016 at 3:17 pm

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