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Mineral Rights and Wrongs

Under intense political pressure, the Guardian further abases itself for the Wolfowitz story. But granting that their headline gave the quote more spin than it deserved, the discussion posted on the Department of Defense web site does clearly establish that Iraq's possession of really a lot of oil entered into the decision to invade. Wolfowitz really said that.

Were not both the President and the Vice President of the United States former oil executives, I might be willing to give the DoD the benefit of a doubt about this fuss simply being a matter of Iraq having deep pockets because of their natural reasources. But to claim, on the one hand, that Iraq's oil figured into the calculus as to whether to invade and, on the other hand, claim that aquisition of control of said mineral rights was not at issue, strains all credulity.

To quote from the website Famous Texans:

In the West Texas energy business, George W. Bush started out researching who owned mineral rights. He later traded mineral and royalty interests and invested in drilling prospects.

The significance of Wolfowitz's statement is that it is now publicly established by an administration official that were Iraq not an oil rich coutry, we might well not have invaded. I've never believed that the war was all about oil. But now we all know that oil lubricated the machinery of war.

MEANWHILE, Cynthia Tucker suggests we invade the Congo on humanitarian grounds:

But now that the Bush White House has established human rights as a legitimate reason to invade a country that represents no immediate threat to the U.S., I've got a list of other countries we ought to invade -- Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe... and, oh yes, Afghanistan, which is once again in thrall to brutal warlords. But Congo is at the top of the list.

The nation at the heart of the African continent -- it was once called Zaire -- is embroiled in a 4 1/2-year civil war whose horrors are unspeakable. So far, an estimated 3.3 million people have died, either in attacks by various factions or from the famine and disease that accompany conflicts such as this.