Since the Arab oil boycott 30 years ago, there has been talk by Democratic and Republican administrations about doing something to make America less dependent on foreign oil producers. Has there ever been a better time for liberation than now? Wouldn't the public warm to a campaign to free us from the dictates of despots who influence our foreign policy and domestic politics based on how "generous" or stingy they are with their oil spigots? "Let them eat sand" would be a nice battle cry.
Were it not for their oil, we wouldn't care about their repressive societies. There are enough oil reserves in the West (Alaska and Canada come to mind) to supply our energy needs as we look for alternative sources and simultaneously work to liberate ourselves from the oil companies that would like our petroleum addiction to continue. I would be willing to drive an energy-efficient hybrid car if I thought it would starve a dictator.
Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator for Iraq, and Vice President Dick Cheney, along with other administration officials, have reportedly pressured Republicans to give up on the idea of putting reconstruction funds in the form of loans to be repaid from Iraq's vast oil reserves. But why, unless it is to protect countries that had contracts with Iraq under Saddam Hussein, but haven't done us any favors lately.
The nations primarily responsible for the enormous wealth in the oil-producing Middle East states are the United States, Europe and Japan. The oil-producing states would have no substantial income and their dictators would be riding on bikes and not in Mercedes were it not for our money.
Let's use Iraqi oil to pay the bills. There will be plenty left in the ground to fuel Iraq's economy for years to come. Why should the Iraqis complain? It's their freedom we bought. Let them help pay for it.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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