Posted on Feb 12, 2008
Whadda you mean “we,” Mr. TV Pundit? When you say “we” are doing better in Iraq or, even more absurd, that “we” were right to invade that country in the first place, are you putting Joe Blow American in the same bag as the top officers of Exxon, which made $40.6 billion in profit last year thanks to the turmoil in the energy markets? That royal “we” is good for the royals who control our government, but its persistent use embodies a pernicious lie that betrays the core ideal of representative democracy.
Ever since “we” invaded Iraq, most of us have gotten nothing to show for it other than an enormously increased national debt that we will be paying off for decades to come and an economy that is sputtering into recession. Oil sold for $22.81 the year before the war was launched against a country with the world’s second-largest holding, and the average price last year was almost three times that, at $64.20.
With oil bouncing up to $100 in the fourth quarter, Exxon recorded the highest corporate quarterly return ever. Chevron, the country’s second-biggest oil company, saw profits rise 29 percent that quarter, contributing to an enviable profit of $18.7 billion for 2007. Clearly, what’s good for big oil is not good for most Americans, few of whom would look back on 2007 with favor.
It’s easy for the Bush big shots to equate the fortunes of big oil with that of the nation. After all, George W. got to be president only because his failed career in the Texas oil industry exposed his charms to the big energy guys, who then bankrolled his political career. Dick Cheney was an out-of-work defense secretary when picked to be CEO of Halliburton, which has profited mightily from its dealings with Exxon, not to mention running the Iraq franchise.
And the image we should all recall is of the Chevron tanker named Condoleezza Rice. Only in America would we think it not a conflict of interest that Rice was paid handsomely for being on the board of Chevron from 1991 until she resigned to go to work in the Bush White House. How worried can she be about the deteriorating position of the United States in the world when her oil company buddies are doing so well?