A War for Oil?

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One thing that today's high gas prices strongly suggest is that, whatever else it was, the Iraq war was surely not about oil. If you care about cheap oil above everything else, you'd have found some deal with Saddam, kept the oil fields pumping, and maintained the same realist policy toward Arab and Muslim autocracies we had for decades. Or you could have just seized the Southern oil fields. Instead, we risked losing all of Iraq's oil fields at the beginning of the war, and now face a crippled supply just as India and China are booming and the U.S. is growing fast. (Instability in Iran, Nigeria and Venezuala don't help either.) I have unmixed feelings about this. The high price of gas is the best thing to have happened to the U.S. in a very long time. It alone, given the paralysis of the government, will force a market-driven push into new energy technologies, deter SUVs, and provoke the kind of technological research which will benefit us in the future. A smart overview of the entire situation can be read on this blog. I'm longing for gas at $4 a gallon. Yes, I know it hurts people. But pain is the only medicine for America's oil addiction. And if you have an SUV, decisions have consequences. Live with them.

(Photo: Patrick Andrade/Polaris for Time.)