Dishonorable Slogan
Will: ‘No Blood for Oil’ Is a Dishonest Anti-War Argument
By George Will

George Will gives a weekly commentary on This Week With George Stephanopoulos.  (

March 2
— Antiwar demonstrations all seem to feature one slogan: "No blood for oil." 

The slogan is neither intelligent nor honorable.

Intelligent people can honorably differ about the wisdom and morality of war against Iraq.

But we should be able to agree that oil, an economic motive, is not driving U.S. policy.

Already the threat of war has added a "war premium" of about $10 to the price of a barrel of oil.

The cost of waging war, plus the cost of any damage Saddam Hussein does to his oil facilities, plus the post-war costs of occupying and rebuilding Iraq, would far exceed any foreseeable U.S. gain from changing the Iraqi regime that will control Iraq's oil.

Invade Canada?

We import 58 percent of the oil we use. But if seizing oil were our aim, our troops might be massing not in Kuwait but in North Dakota preparing to invade Canada, the number one source of imported oil — providing three times more than Iraq.

We import twice as much from two other hemisphere neighbors, Mexico and Venezuela, as we do from Iraq.

Remember, oil is fungible. It pours from many sources into the world market pool.

After a war, we will get Iraqi oil the way we currently get more than one million barrels a day of it. We will buy it, paying what we pay today — the world market price.

The "blood for oil" delusion springs from paranoia.

It accuses the entire American leadership of dishonestly invoking the specter of weapons of mass destruction — to disguise economic cupidity.

But such weapons are not specters. They are real, and we should be able to debate how to deal with them without slandering the men and women making U.S. policy by calling them cynics, eager to shed "blood for oil."

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