2006: Position on War for Oil in the Middle East

Joe Biden didn’t say “we attacked Iraq for oil,” but he admitted that it was “in part about oil.”

Kirkuk, IRAQ:  TO GO WITH A STORY BY PAUL SCHEMM: US soldiers from the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne division watch as smoke from an oil fire covers the sky, outside Kirkuk, 250 kms north of Baghdad, 09 April 2006. Somewhere underneath Kirkuk are an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil, with a strong possibility that there might be more, yet disintegrating infrastructure and a steady campaign of sabotage has restricted the flow of the area's greatest resource to a trickle.  AFP PHOTO/PAUL SCHEMM   (Photo credit should read PAUL SCHEMM/AFP via Getty Images)
U.S. soldiers from the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division watch smoke from an oil fire cover the sky outside Kirkuk, Iraq, on April 9, 2006. Photo: Paul Schemm/AFP via Getty Images

In a July 2006 speech at an energy summit, Joe Biden declared that “domestic energy policy is at the center of our foreign policy” and cited protecting U.S. oil interests as a factor in the Iraq War. “What about the hidden military cost? Does anybody believe we would allocate a significant portion of our defense budget to CENTCOM, if not for our extraordinary dependence on oil?” Biden said. “Even before the Iraq War, we spent $50 billion a year to maintain our large military presence in the Gulf. Its primary purpose was to protect the free flow of oil that we buy.” He added, “I’m not saying we attacked Iraq for oil. But ensuring we do not leave behind a civil war that turns into a regional war is in part about oil. We are losing thousands of American lives, and spending hundreds of billions of dollars to avoid that.”

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