2006 January 22 Sunday
Iraq Oil Production Falls 3 Months In A Row

Oil production is down.

Three years after Bush administration officials predicted that oil revenues would fund the country's reconstruction, the industry is in turmoil. Attacks that knocked out pipelines in the north have combined with bad weather in the south to drive Iraq's oil exports last month to their lowest level since September 2003, in the aftermath of the US-led invasion.

Bush Administration predictions on oil production were so very wrong. I think we should pay more attention to track records on predictions and accord less weight to those who make many big incorrect predictions.

Our side can't fix the oil equipment faster than the insurgents can blow it up.

But US officials acknowledge that increase will only happen if Iraqis can protect the entire pipeline.

''If you could repair it faster than they could destroy it, you'd win the battle. But you can't," said Lowell Feld, analyst with the Energy Information Administration, an arm of the US Department of Energy.

The insurgents have insider information on some (all?) oil facilities and use it to target and time attacks.

Guarding the Fatah oil refinery used to be a pretty straightforward job for Saif Mohammed. Insurgents hit only sporadically, and usually missed important targets. But by early last year, attackers were using rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and heavy machine guns in brazen daylight assaults. They seemed to know about everything and everybody in the refinery. Ambushes were common. "We were afraid to even take vacation and go home," says 26-year-old Mohammed. "The people who worked with us used to tip off the fighters. They wanted to play both sides—to keep their jobs and be informants for the terrorists."

In addition to granting women more legal rights than they currently enjoy Saddam Hussein was also capable of protecting his oil facilities from internal opponents.

For the cost of the war in Iraq we could fund a lot of energy research, heavily insulate all government buildings, and take other steps to reduce our reliance on oil.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 January 22 10:40 PM  Mideast Iraq Economics


Comments
Invisible Scientist said at January 23, 2006 4:36 PM:

Randall Parker wrote:
"In addition to granting women more legal rights than they currently enjoy Saddam Hussein was also capable of protecting his oil facilities from internal opponents."
=========================================================

Maybe you think that Saddam is a better administrator than Bush. In that case, instead of bush, maybe we should have elected Saddam as the President of the United States.

But seriously, the reason Saddam Hussein was able to maintain order in Iraq, was because he was using politically incorrect methods for which he is being tried right now.

On the other hand, if the tension against Iran gets out of hand, we can certainly delegate Saddam to take care of the problem. It seems that he is the most qualified person to defeat Iran.

Ivan Kirigin said at January 23, 2006 7:12 PM:

"was because he was using politically incorrect methods for which he is being tried right now."

wow. Understatement of the decade. Murder is just politically incorrect?


diana said at January 24, 2006 6:58 AM:

"I think we should pay more attention to track records on predictions and accord less weight to those who make many big incorrect predictions."

Well we _should_ but since our elite(s) are mainly composed of (a) ignorant Bush supporters or (b) craven Bush opposers who have no guts or organizational ability, we will simply have to suffer the consequences.

gcochran9 said at January 24, 2006 8:38 AM:

Obviously the people who supported invading Iraq didn't known what the fuck they were talking about, except insofar as they had, shall we say, nonstandard motives. But I would bet that the majority of those who opposed it (before the war) did so for confused and incorrect reasons. Some probably thought that we'd have big military trouble in the invasion - and that was foolish. Some probably thought that war is never justified - and although most wars are indeed a mistake, not all are.

What can be done about it? Search me. I know people who would do a far better job, but the system doesn't funnel them into high office. Any system that routinely put people in power who were highly competent would be very different from ours, that's for sure: remember, we have government by amateurs. That routinely-competent government would be fundamentally undemocratic, probably.
One of the unstated assumptions of our government is that the country will never run into a real crisis, one that can only be survived by quick, intelligent, decisive action: the system isn't capable of responding to such a crisis. And indeed we never have - closest was the Civil War, probably. Even then we had enough margin to make a lot of mistakes and still win. If we as a nation ever run into the sort of short-fuse life-and-death problem that Jack Aubrey routinely solvss, we'll probably all die.

Iraq is not a life-and-death problem, any more than Arab terrorism is. It's just a big waste. If we keep doing equivalently stupid things for some time, we'd come a cropper, sure, but once is not enough - a nation like ours has a lot of ruin in it.

diana said at January 25, 2006 3:10 PM:

A lot of parents are taking their kids off the military recruitment rolls. That's not a systemic answer, but it'll have to do. They can bomb, but it's hard to invade w/o boys in boots.


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