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Page added on June 29, 2008

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For Iraq

From the first days that American-led forces took control of Iraq, the conquering army took pains to broadcast that it was there to liberate the country, not occupy it, and certainly not to cart off its riches. Nowhere were such words more carefully dispensed than on the subject of Iraq


Many critics of the invasion derided that characterization. In Arab countries and among some people in America, there was suspicion that the war was a naked grab for oil that would open Iraq to multinational energy giants. President Bush had roots in the Texas oil industry. Vice President Cheney had overseen Halliburton, the oil services company. Whatever else happened, such critics said, energy players with links to the White House would surely wind up with a nice piece of the spoils.


Behind those competing conceptions was a fundamental reality that forms the wallpaper for American engagement in the Middle East: oil, and its critical importance to the American economy, has for decades been a paramount interest of the United States in the region. Almost everything the United States has tried to do there



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