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Moore writes: "I see you're mad that back in 2007 former Sen. Chuck Hagel said that we were obviously 'fighting for oil' in Iraq."

Portrait, Michael Moore, 04/03/09. (photo: Ann-Christine Poujoulat/Getty)
Portrait, Michael Moore, 04/03/09. (photo: Ann-Christine Poujoulat/Getty)

Dear Bill Kristol

By Michael Moore, Reader Supported News

07 January 13


I just sent this to Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard magazine and one of the most influential advocates of our invasion of Iraq. He posted something this weekend about my post where I found an old quote from Chuck Hagel about how the Iraq War is all about the oil. I'll let you know when Bill gets back to me. (If you don't know much about Bill, you can find a good introduction here about his pre-war debate with Daniel Ellsberg.)

ear Bill,

Thanks for your post mentioning me! I didn't realize you visited my website so early on Saturday mornings. Man, I wish we had cleaned up after the party last night.

Anyway, I see you're mad that back in 2007 former Sen. Chuck Hagel said that we were obviously "fighting for oil" in Iraq. You explain this was "vulgar and disgusting" and "could be the straw that breaks the back of Hagel's chances" to be Obama's next Defense Secretary.

Since you feel so strongly about this, I wanted to make sure you heard about four other prominent people who've said the same thing. (I should have mentioned them yesterday with the Chuck Hagel stuff, I apologize.)

  • "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." - Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, in his 2007 memoir. (Read about it here. Greenspan then lamely tried to walk this back, when he found out just how politically inconvenient it was...while admitting a Bush White House official told him "unfortunately, we can't talk about oil.")

  • "Of course we should go to war for oil. It's like saying, you're going to war just for oxygen, just for food. We need oil. That's a good reason to go to war." - Ann Coulter, author, April 11, 2011. (Watch her say that here at 37:30.)

  • "Of course it's about oil, it's very much about oil, and we can't really deny that. From the standpoint of a solider who's now fought in the middle east for six years - my son-in-law's fought there for four years, my daughter's been over there, my son has served the nation - my family has been fighting for a long time." - Gen. John Abizaid, former commander of CENTCOM, October 13, 2007. (Watch Abizaid say this here.)

  • "We're not in the middle east to bring sweetness and light to the whole world. That's nonsense. We're in the middle east because we and our European friends and our European non-friends depend on something that comes from the middle east, namely oil." - Midge Decter, author, May 21, 2004. (Listen here, at 35:55.)

I like to think the best about people. I know all you're looking for is an open, honest debate about Chuck Hagel's qualifications - with absolutely no smears or bullying. And because you feel that way, I'm sure you'll want to update what you wrote about Hagel with these quotes, and explain that Alan Greenspan and Ann Coulter and John Abizaid and Midge Decter are vulgar and disgusting and far-left too.

Obviously you don't need any incentive to do the right thing. But let me know the second you add them all to that post, and I'll send $1000 to any charity of your choice.

Say hi to Fred "I Read the Iliad" Barnes for me,

Michael Moore

P.S. You probably meet a lot of people, so maybe you don't remember Midge Decter. You can look her up here (speaking at an event honoring your dad), here (signing the founding "Statement of Principles" of your organization Project for the New American Century) and here (where you talked about how "so many of us" have followed "in Midge's footsteps"). Oh, by the way, you were on the 2004 radio program with her when she said the above quote.

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+176 # DurangoKid 2013-01-07 12:38
Michael, don't confuse them with facts! People can handle only so much reality. Which kind of makes me wonder. Is it easier to rely on fantasies and ignore the facts now or clean up the resulting mess later? Or is there some truth in the sayings 'An ounce of prevention . . .' or 'A stitch in time . . .'? Just wondering.
+95 # bmiluski 2013-01-07 15:17
Oh honey please. When you're a republican, you leave the mess for the Democrats to clean up.
+45 # X Dane 2013-01-07 20:57

Talking about clean up...Bush&co had to do a quick correction. All the wars have smart names to make us feel better.

The Iraq caper was going to be called Operation Iraqi Liberation,.... ...until they realized how it would look abbreviated, Holy Mackarel. We do not want to be THAT obvious. So it was quickly changed to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
It's all in a name.
-6 # 2013-01-08 01:40
I don't think you voters are silly enough to put them bak in next 2 decades, that was their PObiwan worry.
As for Hagel GOP are hypocritessure, but surely not bold enough to say their choice Senator for Foreign Affairs committee is wrong for defence? or do they fancy diplomatic settling FA better as a War first?

NB: I suggest they both will debate best alternbatives first compromise and act Nicely thereafter. Isn't it great as the good read Washington Post suggests, this mix an anti-Vietnam War Veteran, a Democrat Senator head of Foreign Affairs Committee in the Senate and a Vietnam Veteran a Republican Senator member of that committee who supported aims of the VN War. Just shows how astute the USA Voting public really were in choosing Obama of such wisdom to choose his Foreign Secretary and Defence secretary in such a way they have opposing views of equal experience and wisdom to debate to the end rather than declare war to end the debate.
+61 # DaveM 2013-01-07 12:45
I believe an official in the Johnson Administration stated that the U.S> was involved in the Vietnam war because of that nation's oil and mineral resources. Unfortunately I do not recall the name.

Oddly, there is a war ongoing in Mexico which, over the past six years, has created a death toll equaling the number of American dead in Vietnam. Mexico has plenty of oil. However, we have done nothing, apart from one misguided "sting" operation which wound up providing the killers with more guns.

I do not advocate invading Mexico, mind. But there are good reasons why people are fleeing the country in droves. And it astonishes me that the United States does not regard a de facto war at its borders as a threat to our national security.
+63 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-01-07 15:38
Great post. Now, I hope Michael Moore will help "uncover" who owns the rights to Iraqi oil. Is it the U.S. or is it Bush/ Cheney Halliburton and their gutless thugs. Cheney, was a draft dodger, Bush could not go to 'Nam because he "forgot" to show up for his military medical appointment. Michel Moore has the guts. Such a good American. Hope he continues his quest-who the hell got the rights to Iraqi oil? We have a right to know!!!!!
+20 # Guy 2013-01-07 19:58
The same corporations that are presently in Libya ,protected by private contractors .
+12 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-01-07 22:57
Have a reason to believe the public is being "primed" to invade Iran "because of nuclear bomb" progress while the real reason is "we want your oil."
+7 # RMDC 2013-01-08 05:57
"I do not advocate invading Mexico, mind. But there are good reasons why people are fleeing the country in droves. And it astonishes me that the United States does not regard a de facto war at its borders as a threat to our national security."

It is because the US is behind the war in Mexico. The US is orchestrating the same kind of war in Mexico that it did in Colombia since the 1980s. The point of the war is to exterminate all the free market drug dealers and consolidate the drug business under control of the Mexican military and thus under the control of the US military. The US pushes guns into the hands of drug cartels and then uses that as a pretext to fight them with the Mexican military.

The similar war in Colombia resulted in the Plan Colombia --a military take over of the nation and military control of the drug trade. Expect the same thing for Mexico.

The US uses "civil wars" as a coloniziation tactic. The clearest example right now is Syria. Mexico is undergoing a similar US sponsored civil war. This time, the US supports the government side. In Syria the US supports the rebel/terrorist side. The net result will be the same.
+77 # bobby t. 2013-01-07 12:50
One wonders if Iran was a huge supplier and partner with American oil firms if we would be worried about their crap. I seem to remember George Bush Sr. going to Kuwait after the first Gulf War and getting a rather large speaking fee, five million was it? I also believe he owns rigs in that country. I happen to like the Senior as he did raise taxes to help the economy out of a deep recession,(cost him the election) and he listened to his own advice to Reagan about destabilizing Sadam In Iraq when he was CIA director. His son didn't get the message I guess.....Senio r may go down as a great president in the future. But, he was an oil man all the way.
Funny how we fight to get the very stuff that is going to kill most of us in the future.
+37 # chomper2 2013-01-07 14:51
bobby t., kudos for noting that it's "Funny how we fight to get the very stuff that is going to kill most of us in the future." Twoud be nice if it were truly "funny." A host of other words would unfortunately be more appropriate: sad, disgusting, ominous, pitiful, stupid,...and easily a hundred others.
+122 # Mouna 2013-01-07 12:59
Michael Moore, I nominate YOU for Secretary of Defense! You are an impeccable Warrior!
+120 # jmac9 2013-01-07 13:02
As stated in the Iraq War Memorial:

They died for oil
Blair, Bush, Cheney lies.

Bush-Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell gang lied over 900 times about the dangers of all of them are war criminals and ready to be shipped out to the Hague international court for trial and conviction.

With the accompanying legislation of the unconstitutiona l Patriot Act, FISA, NDAA provisions, we see it wasn't only about oil,
It was about crushing your constitutional rights and instituting the police state - with endless war against the fraud of the "war on terror."

Mixed of course with the other endless fraud of the "war on drugs."
+23 # SMoonz 2013-01-07 15:19
Kristol and those cronies had so much to gain by hiding the facts.

You are right, it wasn't only about oil but so much more.

Everyone needs to check this out to see what was and continues to be at stake.
+84 # Larry 2013-01-07 13:10
Selective memory and fact culling are the right wing's stock in trade. When all the facts on any issue are considered, their schtick goes up in flames.
-18 # Depressionborn 2013-01-07 14:25
Not always. We just never expected MM to ever get it right. Yep, it's oil. I only wonder how long it will take us to leave now that we have so much of our own?
+12 # kalpal 2013-01-07 15:54
So far as I can tell, the USA no longer has a military presencein Iraq. We still have the world's most expensive building in Baghdad, a $6 billion embassy.
+19 # in deo veritas 2013-01-07 17:44
The un-diplomats should have to work in tents like our troops did. Another major boondoggle adding to the deficit!
+43 # George D 2013-01-07 15:55
It always astounds me that people refer to "our" oil; Usually in the context of "drill baby drill" and "drill here, drill now".

Yes; It's "our" oil in Alaska and off "our" shores, but will "we" benefit from that? When that oil is pumped, it will be sold on the same market to the same buyers under the same, sleazy, "profit through manipulation" game that ALL oil is and the same people (oil execs and traders) will reap the profit from it. Anyone that believes otherwise is foolish. Oh; But "we" WILL get to clean up after their spills and pollution and pay higher taxes to pay for it all.

I'd be all for drilling for "our" oil if our government worked for "we the people" and made OUR NATURAL RESOURCES better controlled.

I favor government owned refineries and drilling companies with controls on profits from "OUR" oil. That would bring THEIR oil prices down and nothing else will.
+75 # Adoregon 2013-01-07 13:13
Too bad Tibet isn't sitting on lakes of oil.
Ditto Myanmar (aka Burma).

If they were, I'm sure the [multi-national ] oil corporations would instruct the U.S. government to send our military to those nations to bring the blessings of democracy and freedom.

Yeah, democracy, just like we have here at home.

Meanwhile, "our" government continues to purvey the same old jive-as* honky bullsh*t.

Double-talk and double-think to the max.
+67 # Douglas Jack 2013-01-07 13:22
Dear Bill Kristol, What Michael is referring to here is that; the issue is about transparency or truth. Your statements describe one who has major problems with transparency. Don't feel alone with this challenge because the whole Finance-Media-M ilitary-Industr ial-Complex is in deep denial of anything approaching the truth & have decided to keep the USA in the #1 spot as the world's most ignorant nation, maybe beside Canada, following Israel & NATO. You are just a pawn in someone else's game.
+12 # Jude Brown 2013-01-07 14:36
Chuck Hagel is scary, changing to terrifying in the Department of Defense. Of course we are fighting for oil, but we are also fighting just for the fun of it because we make and sell weapons. That is what we do. I live in North central Nebraska and am the only person in my county who did not vote for Hagel for Senator. Judith Brown
+27 # giraffee2012 2013-01-07 13:42
Michael Moore: You're so right - clap clap
+25 # reiverpacific 2013-01-07 13:52
Wee-Wullie K' is one of the by now Beltway-entrenc hed "Gang of Five": an excellent study and book by Nina Easton which is a major contribution to contemporary history that explains how we arrived at the politics of today. It'll tell you all and more that you need to know about he and his fellow-Gangsters.
BILL KRISTOL, the Harvard-educate d "intellectual" and Weekly Standard publisher
RALPH REED, the hardball politico and strategist for the Christian right
CLINT BOLICK, the constitutional lawyer and "bleeding heart" libertarian
GROVER NORQUIST, the anti-tax activist and leader of the so-called vast right-wing conspiracy
DAVID McINTOSH, the fresh-faced congressman and architect of the Right's war on regulation.
And they're still at it.
Watch the shadows; they've also got "Curdled" Rove now as part of the fink-club for the Corporate State.
+35 # hd70642 2013-01-07 13:53
All wars ever fought have been for riches and religion which religion has always been tied into wealth .Religion was invented to keep the poor from murdering rich not the rich from murdeing poor especially when it comes to riches
+30 # Lovenlaw 2013-01-07 13:57

Dear Michael,

You are a delight!
+36 # noitall 2013-01-07 13:59
Mr. Moore, thank you for kicking Billy Kristol in the balls for me. A good one too!
+27 # CoyoteMan50 2013-01-07 14:03
I vote for Michael Moore as Secretary of Defense. He'll at least come up with new ideas about performing his duties and won't wallow in the same old, same old.
+14 # guyachs 2013-01-07 14:07
We sure don't want an honest man in that position.
+34 # genierae 2013-01-07 14:32
I remember after Bush invaded Iraq how the Iraqi oil workers guarded the oilfields. They knew the real reason for the invasion and they were determined to hold on to their oil. I kept track of their efforts until all news of them disappeared. They must have lost however, because Iraq's oil was sold to multinational companies. One thing I'm sure of, they didn't give up easily. I honor their courage and I hope they are still alive.
+24 # werker 2013-01-07 14:37
I wish we could flog all the sociopaths that fan the flames for war. Howard Stern was pro war and lit up Lenny Kravitz over this. That Damn Judith Miller, and friggin Denneis Prager. Cant these people just leave us and the world alone. We dont need them!
+31 # dick 2013-01-07 14:43
One person who openly said Vietnam was about controlling natural resources of SE Asia was Gen.& Pres. Ike Eisenhower.
I wonder if GOPers want confirmation fight over Iraq fiasco.
+20 # George D 2013-01-07 15:42
That's a great point and one that MM has very cleverly pinned them to. He threw down the gauntlet and said, acknowledge your hypocrisy but as he (and we) already know that will only cause these buffoons to "double down" yet again, and begin another round of self destruction. Just in time for the midterms too :-)
+19 # JAJ 2013-01-07 15:02
Thanks Mike. It also might be worth pointing out that even the Afghanistan war, launched to get those Al Qaeda bad guys, is really at least partly about oil, as is stated clearly in this publication of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on International Relations, titled "U.S. INTERESTS IN THE CENTRAL ASIAN REPUBLICS":

This point is also raised in my PeacePundit blog-post last April:
+8 # Guy 2013-01-07 20:06
Afghanistan was totally about oil transported to the Caspean Sea.
Iraq was icing on the cake for the neocons.
Why not ?It's right next door.....
+27 # moby doug 2013-01-07 15:13
And these NeoCons like Kristol who shoved a lie-based invasion down America's throat in invasion which was the greatest strategic military disaster in America's history....stil l have credibility in 2013 because...? A better policy would be to do the OPPOSITE of whatever Kristol & kru advocate. If they don't like Hagel, then he's my man.
+11 # genierae 2013-01-07 19:09
md: It's the mainstream, corporate-owned media that keeps these monsters in the public eye, ignoring their past and giving them credibility. The bad news for these elites is that the truth is becoming more and more popular, and young people are no longer satisfied with the propaganda that is constantly being fed to them.
+22 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-01-07 15:18
Dear Michael, you Irish devil (takes one to know one):

As you know, when not wearing the old legal hat, I put on the old journ. hat and FIGHT WITH WRITE. And, here's what I wrote re. war, war, war for oil, oil, oil in '06:

sung to the tune: 'It's Howdy Doody Time'

Now it's George and Dickie's time,
So it's George and Dickie's dime,
Corporate warfare is o.k.,
'Cause they know how to make it pay.

Neocons, they call the shots
While Americans get the trots
Clearly paying through the nose,
While the deficit grows and grows.

And the arms boys have their way
While Americans pay and pay.
Better ways to kill and spy,
On Americans as we try...

The Iraqi war to curtail,
And a war in Iran to derail.
We're surveilled and spied upon
While their spin goes on and on.

Yes, their terror spin has clout,
For it's what they're all about.
Keeping folks all scared and green,
While they crank their war machine.

For indeed, greed is their game.
Power is their middle name.
And the devil has his day,
While Americans pay and play.

Then they break the law with ease,
Torture if and when they please.
Keep the mainstream press in line,
Muzzle critics, lie just fine.

When it's George and Dickie's time,
Then it's George and Dickie's crime,
'Cause they rule our land and space,
In corruption and disgrace.
+23 # Sleepless in Samoa 2013-01-07 15:52
Don't forget Gore Vidal's warning "Dreaming War" subtitled Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta.
+23 # walt 2013-01-07 16:27
Good, Michael. Right on!

As everyone knows, Kristol is a neocon and committed to making the USA serve the needs of Israel. That means using our military rather than theirs as we have been doing in the Middle East and paying for it with our lives and dollars.

How is it that Hagel is being portrayed adversely because he has indicated that he would not be subservient to Netanyahu?

How did America allow this to happen? Until we face this problem and the lobby that perpetuates it, we will continue to be victims of terrorism and at war in the Middle East.
+12 # Mannstein 2013-01-07 21:08
"How did America allow this to happen?"

Indeed, how is it possible that Hagel's statement, "I am a US Senator. I am not an Israeli Senator.", not long ago was considered self evident but has now become an anti semitic slur? Not good for the US nor Israel.
+14 # marc whitehead 2013-01-07 16:45
Wonderful job of exposing the hypocrisy and plain lying the conservatives do. they care nothing about the country, only causing problems for anybody they do not agree with. And this man was the one responsible for McCain having to accept Sara Palin who would have made such a great veep. He had middle age lust.
+12 # David Heizer 2013-01-07 17:26
"Oh, by the way, you were on the 2004 radio program with her when she said the above quote."

+4 # unocelestial 2013-01-07 18:07
+14 # tbcrawford 2013-01-07 18:49
Michael Moore, An insightful social critic and a great American. Thank you!!!
-5 # Doubter 2013-01-07 18:57
Let's admit you've got to admire Ann Coulter for being this frank:

"Of course we should go to war for oil. It's like saying, you're going to war just for oxygen, just for food. We need oil. That's a good reason to go to war." - Ann Coulter
+9 # Michael_K 2013-01-07 20:18
She was lying... we went to war to keep oil profits up, not get much needed cheaper oil!
+1 # robniel 2013-01-10 11:57
Quoting Michael_K:
She was lying... we went to war to keep oil profits up, not get much needed cheaper oil!

There is no such thing as "cheaper oil" in a global economy. To go to war for it is a fool's errand.
+10 # RMDC 2013-01-08 06:01
Ann Coulter is a lawyer but she does not seem to understand that her statement is an endorsement of crime. Plundering for oil is theft. Starting a war is the worst of all crimes according to the Nuremberg principles. Coulter simply does not care that she advocates crime. She's a cheerleader for criminal cartels or otherwise knows as oil corporations.

Ann Coulter and Bill Kristol are among the worst of the worst far right wing lunatics. The make good comedy, but are hardly worth arguing with.
+2 # Nominae 2013-01-10 15:28

Exactly SO, and that's why I get SO frustrated to see ANYONE giving them, like Palin, FREE PRESS ! If one simply IGNORES ignorance, it dies of it's own paucity of common sense.

Coulter and her ilk are not PAID to think. They are professional political BOMB THROWERS. They do well what they are PAID TO DO, but all one need do to rob them of their power is to IGNORE THEM - not to actually dignify their patent crap with a response, much less a "reasoned" argument. When last did we "ague" with a live hand grenade minus the pin ? Successfully, I mean ! :)

The less SAID about these paid propagandists, the easier to STARVE them for the attention that is the life's blood keeping them mouthing off for money.

They descend in ALL ways from the original Carnival Barkers ! Spin bullshit for money ! But even the original Barkers knew that you couldn't keep selling the SAME snake oil in the SAME little town for very long. You had to keep movin' to stay one step ahead of the law, not to mention the "unhappy" clients.
+1 # Doubter 2013-01-10 15:33
Whoever gave me minuses must think I'm endorsing AC instead of just pointing out the cynicism of her and her coreligionists.
+13 # ishmael 2013-01-07 19:04
The lousy part is that not only does the US right exist, but that in addition, they have so many uneducated, ignorant supporters. To them faux is "news".

The std-bearers like Kristol wear hypocrisy proudly like male plumage but their acolytes are too steeped in lies and myth to notice or care.

The country, and the world, is much the worse off.
+11 # genierae 2013-01-07 19:11
Michael, you rock!!
+13 # Michael_K 2013-01-07 20:17
Oh dear... Michael Moore falls victim to gross disinformation. Of course it's about "the Oil"... but not in the way they disingenuously acknowledge! It isn't about making Iraqi oil available to the US and Europe, it's about making the price of oil consistently high, over a lengthy period of time. IF it were about "grabbing" the Iraqi oil, we'd actually grab the Iraqi oil! (And the war would've paid for itself as promised, etc., etc.)
+6 # Susan1989 2013-01-07 20:43
Great stuff.....
+4 # Gordon K 2013-01-07 23:21
Bob Dole observed during the first Gulf War that we were fighting for oil. He made the comment during a brief TV interview that I happened to catch. I never saw the clip again. I doubt that it was ever rebroadcast.
+4 # grouchy 2013-01-07 23:57
I believe that, if my memory is correct and someone will go back into the records ( ie. the press) and check, the Bush Bunch, in their eagerness to get us into Iraq, spun that scam with several different themes and did so unsuccessfully before coming up with the highly successful scary one of "WMD". It's thus an historical fact and in the records--assumi ng anyone is FINALLY willing to check!
+4 # L mac 2013-01-08 00:09
You go Michael, make 'em walk the talk!!
+8 # tomtom 2013-01-08 11:01
Our Department of Defence has become the Lobbyists for the Arms Profteers. The perfect business: sell weapons to all sides, with new civil wars becoming lucrative markets. The ultimate free market, pro-freedom strategy. Guns for all and all for guns!
+1 # Nominae 2013-01-10 15:33
Quoting tomtom:
Our Department of Defence has become the Lobbyists for the Arms Profteers. The perfect business: sell weapons to all sides, with new civil wars becoming lucrative markets. The ultimate free market, pro-freedom strategy. Guns for all and all for guns!

Not to mention a covert foreign policy that *guarantees* new reasons for us and all other nations to go to war with one another all over the globe, thus ensuring an enthusiastic market for the arms we make and market.

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