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American soldier guarding Rumaila oil field in southern Iraq
American trooper guarding Rumaila oil field in southern Iraq during initial assault in Spring of 2003. Since then, America has lost more than 1,000 men and women in combat. Many thousands more are grievously wounded, while hundreds of thousands of troops and Iraq non-combatants are exposed to the potentially debilitating effects of depleted uranium. Photo Credit: Reuters

Trading Blood For Oil

Fresh Aire's Terry Gross interviews 'Blood and Oil' author, Michael Klare

By Bill Moore

At a family reunion this past weekend, a cousin of mine said he supported the invasion of Iraq, citing the need to oust Saddam Hussein and his murderous regime. I pointed out to him that the reason we went to war was not to liberate the Iraqi people, but to destroy the still-missing-and-presumed-lost weapons of mass destruction. Only after America spent $650 million in a fruitless search, did the administration switch to the liberation line.

I asserted that the real reason Bush launched the war was to secure American influence over the region's vast oil reserves. Without going into details like the James Baker report, I explained how the world is facing peak oil within he next decade or two and that the Middle East is the only region where their reserves have not yet peaked -- though some now question that assumption.

My cousin, who has farmed in Iowa most of his life, reflected for a moment and then said he was glad that we're securing the oil fields. He asked my aunt, who was present and whose family works in the agriculture chemicals supply business, what would her life be like without that oil. Meanwhile, another aunt confided to me that she's afraid her son-in-law, who is in the Army National Guard, will be called up again to go to Iraq.

So, the debate over oil and the blood that's spilled to get it and keep it flowing has a very personal meaning to me and my extended family of aunts and uncles and cousins and their young children. That's why Michael Klare's new book is particularly poignant.

Michael Klare first gained international prominence with "Resource Wars", which looks at the catalytic role resource scarcity plays in generating global conflict. He now follows that book with "Blood and Oil", an expose on the consequences of America's growing dependence on imported oil, especially from despot regimes.

Robert Steele, who is one of Amazon.Com's Top 100 reviewers, writes of "Blood and Oil", "I have heard this author speak to groups of international intelligence professionals, and they take him very seriously, as do I. In many ways, his books complements the one by Thomas Barnett, "The Pentagon's New Map," except that whereas Barnett says that the military must go to war to make unstable areas safe for America, Klare points out that a) we don't have enough guns or blood to stabilize a world that we antagonize every time we deploy into an "occupation" mode, and b) cheap oil is going to be very, very expensive in terms of American blood on the floor". Click here for rest of Steele's review.

Blood that might be a relative of mine or yours.

To listen to Terry Gross' interview with Klare on her "Fresh Aire" program, click the MP3 Player at the right. We trust the producers at NPR will understand our desire to have Klare tell his story to our listeners and readers.

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Times Article Viewed: 5640
Published: 13-Sep-2004

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