Online Journal
Front Page 
 Special Reports
 News Media
 Elections & Voting
 Social Security
 Editors' Blog
 Reclaiming America
 The Splendid Failure of Occupation
 The Lighter Side
 The Mailbag
 Online Journal Stores
 Official Merchandise
 Progressive Press
 Barnes and Noble
 Join Mailing List

Commentary Last Updated: Jan 8th, 2007 - 00:25:27

Our addiction to oil is fueling a potential Middle East inferno
By Michael Payne
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jan 8, 2007, 00:15

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

The entire Middle East is in danger of exploding into a horrific inferno as the situation in Iraq escalates and grows more intense every day. When the Bush administration invaded and occupied Iraq they initiated a chain of events that conceivably could lead to complete chaos and open warfare involving any number of Middle East countries. If the escalation and intensity we witness today is drastically magnified, it may well jump-start this Middle East inferno.

What prompted that ill-conceived, reckless and insane invasion? Forget about the weapons of mass destruction, toppling a savage dictator, bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq and the entire Middle East. By now, the vast majority of Americans know that all those so-called justifications were part of a carefully planned program of misinformation, actually blatant lies -- and, tragically, it worked for more than three years. But now we have reached the point where the people of America have seen through the smoke and mirrors and will not buy into any more of this swill.

Yes, Bush & Co. are totally responsible for what they have done and for what they continue to do in turning Iraq into a never-ending nightmare. And so they must bear the direct responsibility for the death and maiming of many thousands of our military and more than a half-million Iraqis. But what actually prompted them to take such drastic actions to invade and occupy a sovereign country? What was the real reason for this illegal, immoral invasion?

Here is what I believe it is all about. The world's daily consumption of petroleum is about 84 million barrels per day. America (5 percent of the population of the world) consumes about 21 million bpd or an astounding 25 percent of all the oil produced in the world. Iraq is a relatively small country in an area of our planet where just five countries have about 63 percent of the world's oil reserves. Saudi Arabia (25 percent), Iraq (11 percent), United Arab Emirates (9 percent), Kuwait (9 percent) and Iran (9 percent). And Iraq sits exactly in the heart of all that black gold that fuels our entire planet. There is no doubt in my mind that Iraq was specifically chosen as the central launching pad, the most strategic focal point, by which to control the rich petroleum resources of the Middle East.

But who and what else contributed to this current bloodbath that Bush and his cohorts created but now have no idea of how to bring under control? It is our American society, the American people. America has a ravenous, insatiable appetite, a complete addiction to oil, the resource that in one way or another affects almost every facet of our lives. We are, without a doubt, hooked on oil. We are so very much in love with our automobiles. The bigger the better; the more horsepower the better. Yes, of course, there are exceptions to the rule, such as that enlightened minority of Americans who are buying hybrids and other higher mileage autos.

More than 200 million passenger cars and trucks of all types dominate and clog our highways, streets and Interstates. Millions of trucks deliver not only essential goods but also untold millions of tons of plastic junk and other useless products that fill up our big-box retailers. Our economy is totally based upon continuous consumption and so these millions upon millions of autos and trucks, and the staggering quantities of fuel that they consume, are the major reason why we now must import more than 60 percent of our annual petroleum requirement.

Is there any evidence that our government and our leaders have either the will or the desire to initiate programs of conservation or the development of alternative fuels that would greatly reduce our dependence on foreign oil imports? Little to nothing is being done or even attempted. The oil industry is such a huge part of our overall economy and it exerts such great influence on Washington that our leaders have no real motivation or desire to try to solve this massive, growing problem. So, they continue to "stay the course" that leads to nowhere except to deepen our dependence on oil as our population continues to increase.

Think about just how deeply we as a nation are addicted to oil and how we continue to remain in a state of denial about this issue even as our addiction grows each and every day. And that one day, if we cannot find the ways to cure this addiction, our lifestyles and habits will cause great damage to this nation and to the entire world. As world consumption of petroleum continues to rapidly increase, outstripping the world's production capabilities, the United States could become involved in more and more military actions against other nations over that critical resource.

Most of America has finally awakened to the fact that the Iraq war is totally bogus, is a complete disaster and that we need to stop this madness and bring our troops home. But I contend that most of these same Americans just do not understand or comprehend that their habits and lifestyles are fueling this potential Middle East inferno and keeping our military caught up in a quagmire so deep that we know not how to extricate ourselves. That it is our society's intense love of SUVs, high-horsepower pickups, the ever-growing incidence of the 4-5-car family, together with longer and longer car commutes that has created our current dilemma.

And a further problem is simply this. We as a society clearly do not want to change; we want to continue our current lifestyles that create such massive problems and result in sending our children into wars of aggression. We do have choices. We could say, "Enough is enough, we must and will change how we live," and back off our excessive lifestyles. We could demand that our government, our leaders bite the bullet and find ways to greatly reduce our dependence on foreign oil to stop the carnage by which our children and innocent citizens are dying for no good reason.

Regardless of those naysayers who dispute it and are in a state of denial, there is a civil war going on in Iraq. The intensifying flames of hatred between the Iraqi Shiite and Sunni sects are reaching greater and greater levels, to the point that the entire Middle East could explode. Here's just how that may happen. Saudi Arabia and Jordan, both being largely Sunni, are more and more vocal in stating that they will not just allow the minority Iraqi Sunni population to be beaten into total submission by Shiites. And Shiites in Iran and Syria say they will stand in full support of their fellow Shiites in Iraq. Israel and Turkey, with huge interests of their own, are also warily watching this unfolding scenario.

If the Shiite-Sunni civil war in Iraq continues to rapidly escalate and spin out of control, it could quickly create a huge flashpoint in the entire Middle East. The result may well be the ignition of a Middle East inferno. And our military and other personnel will be exactly in the middle of it. If Turkey and Israel then enter into such a conflict, the Middle East will become a literal hell on earth.

And so we will be witnesses to just how one of the most critical periods in the history of America and the entire world will develop. These are critical, very dangerous, and ominous times that will shape the future of the world. The Middle East is now under siege; it stands at a crossroads. Will the Middle East explode?

Is there any way that we Americans can somehow find a way to cure our obscene addiction to oil? If the Middle East does explode into an inferno of hell-like dimensions, we will then have the answer to this question. Much of the supply lines for oil distribution from this rich area of production and reserves will be destroyed and the effect on Americans will be that our lifestyles and our entire lives will be drastically changed. We will then not need to decide whether we want to seek a cure for our addiction to oil because that Middle East inferno, if it happens, will make that decision for us in a most brutal way.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

Top of Page

Latest Headlines
Bush speaks; nation plays dead
No escalation! End the war against Iraq now!
The only real solution to the Iraq debacle: Impeachment and withdrawal
More troops for Iraq? Just say no.
A pathetic ploy, another "signing statement" and that "goddamned piece of paper"
Darn those Iraqis
Chain Rudy�s �presidential campaign plan� to his wrist
New kids on the block confront the imperial bully: why i�m smiling
Focus is on Bush's new strategy
A new Congress? Not when it comes to Iran
The "Surge" to screw Iraq out of its oil
Bush must have his victory, no matter how pyrrhic
George Will and the minimum wage
America, where are you?
The stench of "politics as usual" and the anger from below
The death of Saddam and buried secrets
Our addiction to oil is fueling a potential Middle East inferno
Bush, once again, sidling up to the punch bowl
New Year reflections
Dispatch from the Chinese landfill