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The old adage was that a society had to choose: guns or butter. You can’t have both. However, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld were determined to prove that false. In their analysis, America had reached the stage where it could wage wars without any serious domestic repercussions. Indeed, one of their fantasies–actually presented by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in a Capitol Hill appearance–was that to the victors would fall the spoils. Iraqi oil, that is, would pay for it all–and produce cheaper gasoline at the pump for American consumers.
But that vision seems to be yet another chimera of the Bush Administration’s war on terror.
In well-reasoned analysis, the Eurasia Group reported Monday the prospect of increased gas prices come this fall. Given months of non-response from suppliers to high crude prices, and the likelihood that little else other than gasoline demand is driving those high prices, Robert Johnston and Greg Priddy argue that the situation in Iraq will be the main driver of oil prices as the summer draws to a close. Violence in the Niger River delta, though serous, will not result in large production shortfalls.
Neither Johnston nor Priddy forsee the Iranian situation, which remains at a relative standstill, as driving any major market changes. But come September, the Bush administration will have to issue its major report on progress in Iraq. If the July report, in which the Iraqi government met only 8 of 18 benchmarks, is any indicator, a US gradual withdrawal from Iraq may begin quite soon. An American evacuation will leave room for the further possibility of Iranian, Saudi Arabian, and Turkish involvement in Iraq. Such moves could precipitate tension in the oil market – not to mention serious regional conflict – which Johnston and Priddy believe will be bad news:
By summer’s end, gloomy market sentiment on Iraq could well move from the speculative to the substantive.
Those “no war for oil” protesters, it now seems, saw the situation much more clearly than most observers gave them credit.
Evan Magruder contributed to this post.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Years ago, I lived in Montana, a land of purple sunsets, clear streams, and snowflakes the size of silver dollars drifting through the cold air. There were no speed limits and you could legally drive drunk. My small apartment in Missoula had little privacy. In order to write, I rented an off-season fishing cabin on Rock Creek, a one-room place with a bed and a bureau. I lacked the budget for a desk. My idea was to remove a sliding door from a closet in my apartment and place it over a couple of hastily cobbled-together sawhorses.
Amount the inventor of the yellow “smiley face” had received for it by the time of his death in April:
An astrophysicist observed that the early universe looked like vegetable soup.
In North Korea, a missile capable of striking U.S. bases overseas blew up immediately after a test launch, and in North Carolina, a G.O.P. headquarters was firebombed.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”