We tried that for 10 years, remember? Iraq would not agree to allow exploitation of their oil by the big oil companies.No it didn't. It required something called negotiations. We could have called for opening up the country's oil trade in exchange for lifting sanctions. It would have been far easier, orderly, and predictable than a war. Yes, American foreign policy has often used regime change and other less than savory means to secure important US business interests. I have no problem with accepting this premise. However, in most of these cases we lacked substantial leverage over these countries. With Iraq we did, in the form of sanctions and no-fly zones.
The Iraqi government privatized some of 2% of the world's oil production. Iraq was seen as a threat to the rest of the Middle East's oil trade.
STRATEGIC ENERGY POLICY CHALLENGES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
REPORT OF AN INDEPENDENT TASK FORCE - 2001 (before our invasion of Iraq)
"U.S. energy independence is not attainable."
"Persistently tight crude oil markets highlight the concentration of resources in the Middle East Gulf region and the vulnerability of the global economy to domestic conditions in the key producer countries. The Gulf nations have one major asset – their oil and gas reserves. They, like Russia, Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Venezuela and some other oil producing nations, depend heavily on hydrocarbons to support their citizens. If the current regimes in the Gulf cannot deliver a better standard of living for rapidly increasing populations, social upheaval could result, and anti-Western elements could gain power. Similar concerns exist with respect to some other oil-producing countries outside the Gulf."
"Some of the real costs, such as the high-cost U.S. military presence in the Middle East, are already accepted and forgotten by the public."
"Iraq remains a destabilizing influence to U.S. allies in the Middle East, as well as
to regional and global order, and to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East. Saddam Hussein has also demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon and to use his own export program to manipulate oil markets. This would display his personal power, enhance his image as a “Pan-Arab” leader supporting the Palestinians against Israel, and pressure others for a lifting of economic sanctions against his regime.
The United States should conduct an immediate policy review towards Iraq, including military, energy, economic and political/diplomatic assessments."