Kucinich: 'We went to war for the oil companies'
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who has introduced measures to impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, said Thursday that oil executives who secretly met with the vice president in 2001 should be held criminally liable for pushing an illegal war.
"In March of 2001, when the Bush Administration began to have secret meetings with oil company executives from Exxon, Shell and BP, spreading maps of Iraq oil fields before them, the price of oil was $23.96 per barrel. Then there were 63 companies in 30 countries, other than the US, competing for oil contracts with Iraq," the Ohio Democrat said during a speech on the House floor.
"Today the price of oil is $135.59 per barrel, the US Army is occupying Iraq and the first Iraq oil contracts will go, without competitive bidding to, surprise, (among a very few others) Exxon, Shell and BP."
The New York Times reported last week that those companies, Chevron, Total and some smaller companies were set to receive no-bid contracts from Iraq's Oil Ministry. According to the paper, such deals "are unusual for the industry," and the companies prevailed over more than 40 others, including some from Russia, China and India.
In March 2001, two years before Iraq was invaded, Cheney met with top executives from Exxon Mobil Corp., Shell Oil Co., BP America Inc. and others on his infamous secret Energy Task Force.
Kucinich seemed to accuse participants in that meeting of plotting the invasion of Iraq. There's no indication that the participants discussed military action, although documents later released showed they did eye Iraq's oil fields.
The White House convinced the Supreme Court to let it keep secret the proceeding's of Cheney's task force, although the Washington Post later revealed most of its activities.
Kucinich accused the US government of forcing Iraq to privatize its oil fields, which are estimated to hold more than 100 billion barrels of oil, and keeping US troops at war to protect the oil reserves.
"Our nation's soul is stained because we went to war for the oil companies and their profits. There must be accountability not only with this Administration for its secret meetings and its open illegal warfare but also for the oil company executives who were willing participants in a criminal enterprise of illegal war, the deaths of our soldiers and innocent Iraqis and the extortion of the national resources of Iraq," he said.
"We have found the weapon of mass destruction in Iraq. It is oil," Kucinich continued. "As long as the oil companies control our government Americans will continue to pay and pay, with our lives, our fortunes our sacred honor."