Michael Novak writes in the National Review:
Before the war in Iraq, European, and American critics predicted enormous difficulties, massive casualties, chemical, and biological warfare unleashed, house-to-house fighting, vast destruction of cities and infrastructure. If I had predicted on my visit to Rome last February that in the first nine months of fighting there would be fewer than 300 Americans dead (i.e., by December 16); that virtually no bridges or highways or oil wells would be destroyed; and that not one single city village would be leveled, peaceniks would have scoffed. I remember one cardinal in the Vatican predicting on Vatican Radio that there would be a million deaths in Iraq. Challenged, he repeated it: a million. That didn’t happen, not even a tiny fraction of that. There were virtually no refugees â€” the people of Iraq trusted the Americans and waited in place.
It was one of the quickest, most thorough acts of liberation in history.
Yet there are still people in Europe, not least at the Jesuit monthly Civilta Cattolica, who write that the motive for the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan is not to deny support and bases to terrorists. The motive, they insist, is oil.
One wonders if those who make such accusations know how to do a profit-loss statement. Can’t they see that U.S. costs in Iraq alone have gone over $200 billion, whereas the entire annual GDP of Iraq is only $22 billion? At that rate, it would take 20 years for such an investment (which will probably have to increase by a lot over the next few years) even to be recouped. It will never show a profit.
First of all, I’m not sure if Novak meant Afghanistan or Iraq when he cited Civilta Cattolica, but since he mainly seems to be addressing oil and profits, perhaps this may help him understand the profit motive when it comes to Iraqi oil (I’ll type slowly for the Novak fans):
The US Government, which is now run by former oilmen, invades Iraq which reportedly has the world’s second largest reserves of oil. The US taxpayers pays for the aforementioned invasion, the US Military that is being used as an occupying security force, and the reconstruction of pumping and oil transportation infrastructure. Meanwhile the oil companies work out sweetheart deals with the handpicked (see: Bush Administration) Iraqi Governing council. Any ongoing damage to the pipelines and wells is paid for by…the US taxpayer again out of reconstruction funds.
Expenses, liabilities, exposure = US taxpayer
Profits = Oil companies and Halliburton