By Gary Vogler
Author or Iraq and the Politics of Oil
April 24 marks the 15th anniversary of my initial entry into Baghdad as the senior oil advisor to retired Lieutenant General Jay Garner, our US government civilian leader in Iraq.
It was the beginning of my six-plus years in Iraq working in the oil sector and denying the allegation that the Iraq war had an oil agenda. I can no longer refute such an allegation.
Was there an oil agenda for the Iraq war? If you had asked me that question four years ago, I would have said no, absolutely not. And, I said no on national television in 2014.
Ambassador L. Paul (Jerry) Bremer and I went on the Rachel Maddow Show to refute Maddow’s position that the Iraq war was largely about oil. Specifically, I said that I had not witnessed any serious oil agenda during my time at the Pentagon and in Iraq. I cannot honestly say that today. So what has changed my mind?
Phil Carroll (the retired Shell US CEO who became my boss in Baghdad in May 2003) and I agreed that if either of us saw anything close to an oil agenda in the summer of 2003, we would both resign and leave Iraq.
Phil and I had spent time in the US army during our younger years before our careers in the oil industry and both of us detested the thought of US soldiers dying so that some oil company could profit from it.
We were looking for an agenda involving US oil companies. The President’s critics were looking for the same thing and even inferring in the US press that it was taking place. We did not see it.
Up until 2013 my focus was on execution of plans and helping the Iraq oil sector as best I could. I had little desire to research about an oil agenda.
I was in denial…
Jan Oberg comments
In my view, Vogler’s insider view and revelations about the individuals and their connections in this nasty war on and mismanagement of Iraq – which, together with the sanctions over 13 years has cost about a million Iraqi lives – deserves the greatest circulation.
Please share the link to this article as widely as you can.