Wednesday, May 24, 2006

BOOK REVIEW: It's the Crude, Dude: war, big oil, and the fight for the planet

This review has been submitted to Alternatives Journal but I do not know when/if it will be included in their publication.

The Iraq Invasion as Smokescreen: Fight for Democracy or Oil?
It’s the Crude, Dude: war, big oil, and the fight for the planet, Linda McQuaig, Toronto: Anchor Canada, 2004, revised and updated 2005.

“…the Middle East, with 2/3 of the world’s oil and lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies.” Dick Cheney, November 1999

Linda McQuaig, a journalist well-known for taking pokes at the big myths, now focuses on the largest. In It’s the Crude, Dude: War, Big Oil, and the Fight for the Planet, McQuaig aims squarely at the debate no one is having - Why was information on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction falsified and why did the United States want to invade Iraq? During the 18 months since the falsification came to light, no commission or committee has been convened to investigate. It’s the Crude, Dude is an attempt to bring into perspective the US’s actions in Iraq by positioning them within the historical perspective of their behaviour in the Middle East, and their quest to control the world’s oil resources.

McQuaig posits that the Iraq invasion was already planned to serve the interests of Big Oil when Cheney was still CEO of Haliburton. Once George W. Bush took office, two key policies to benefit the oil industry were immediately implemented: withdrawal from the Kyoto Accord and the beginning of the invasion of Iraq. Bush and Cheney have continually put the interests of Big Oil before those of democracy, global law and the American citizen. The “war on terror” has provided the smokescreen of “national security”, creating the illusion that there are no competing interests at work within Bush’s administration.

The oil shortage has already begun, mostly unacknowledged by officials, and, thanks to NAFTA, Canada gave up its right to reduce oil exports to the US, unless we reduce our own consumption by the same amount. McQuaig believes this wake-up call needs to be heeded and the reliance on oil reduced if Canada hopes to weather the coming war between China (second in oil consumption) and the US over oil.

At a time when the world’s focus should be finding renewable energy sources and environmental conservation, the current US administration is rolling back environmental protections and promoting reliance on oil.

McQuaig doesn’t put forward anything Canadians don’t already know or suspect. It’s the Crude, Dude provides a starting point for the discussions that must happen, framing the research and statistics in a clear, concise manner understandable by the average concerned citizen.

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