Transcript: Linda McQuaig - Author of "It's the Crude Dude" | Jan 15, 2005

Linda McQuaig stands behind a podium and reads a speech.

Linda has wavy blonde hair and she wears a brown blazer with a red pin and a
black V-neck blouse.

Linda says OF COURSE
WE'RE HERE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT
NAVIGATING A NEW WORLD.
AND OF COURSE ANY COMMENT ABOUT
THE NEW WORLD HAS GOT TO BEGIN
WITH THE, THE OBSERVATION THAT
NAVIGATING IT I THINK JUST GOT
A WHOLE LOT MORE DIFFICULT LAST
WEEK WITH THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTION.
YOU KNOW I IMAGINE THAT TO MOST
CANADIANS THE PROSPECT OF
ANOTHER FOUR YEARS OF GEORGE W.
BUSH IS ANTICIPATED WITH MUCH
THE SAME WAY THAT ONE LOOKS
FORWARD TO LET'S SAY A KICK IN
THE FACE.

[Audience laughs]

Linda continues YOU KNOW OR
PERHAPS A COLONOSCOPY.
[Audience laughing]

A view of the audience is shown.

Linda says I MEAN AMONG
THE, THE TERRIBLE CONSEQUENCES

A caption reads “Linda McQuaig: Author,’ It’s the Crude, Dude.”

Linda continues YOU KNOW OF
THAT ELECTION IS GONNA BE THAT
THE MOST POWERFUL COUNTRY ON
EARTH IS GOING TO CONTINUE TO
IGNORE WHAT I WOULD DEFINE AS
REALLY ONE OF THE CENTRAL
PROBLEMS OF OUR ERA AND THAT IS
OUR OVER
CONSUMPTION OF OIL.
THIS OVER CONSUMPTION OF OIL IS
OF COURSE DIRECTLY RELINKED TO
THE PROBLEM OF GLOBAL WARMING,
WHICH REALLY THREATENS THE VERY
VIABILITY OF THE PLANET.
I MEAN IT'S FASCINATING THAT
THIS WHOLE PROBLEM OF GLOBAL
WARMING REALLY IS SOMETHING
WE'VE ONLY BEEN AWARE OF FOR
THE PAST 15 YEARS AND YET IT'S
SO POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC IN
ITS IMPACT.
AND THE SCIENCE IS SO
ABSOLUTELY AIRTIGHT IN, IN, IN
AND OVERWHELMING THAT THE, THE
SIMPLE TRUTH IS THAT THE WORLD
HAS COME TOGETHER AT A KIND OF
UNPRECEDENTED PACE.
TO ACTUALLY ADDRESS THE PROBLEM
OF GLOBAL WARMING, THEY DID
THAT AT KYOTO IN 1997, WHICH
WAS KIND OF A BEGINNING IN
ADDRESSING THIS PROBLEM.
SO, SO THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT
THE WHOLE WORLD KIND OF GRASPS
THE SERIOUSNESS OF IT.
IN FACT THERE'S REALLY ONLY A
TINY GROUP THAT'S RESISTING.
UM, YOU KNOW NOT SURPRISINGLY
THAT TINY GROUP IS IN THE
BUSINESS OF SELLING US OIL.
SO THAT THE LAST THING THEY
WANT TO DO IS HELP US OVERCOME
OUR ADDICTION TO OIL.
UM, UNFORTUNATELY IT JUST SO
HAPPENS ALSO THAT THEY HAPPEN
TO BE THE MOST POWERFUL SET OF
PRIVATE INTERESTS ON EARTH.
IN FACT IN THE HISTORY OF THE
WORLD.
I'M REFERRING OF COURSE TO BIG
OIL, TO BIG OIL COMPANIES, UM,
LED BY EXXON THE BIGGEST
COMPANY IN THE HISTORY OF THE
WORLD AND THEY'RE ENORMOUSLY
POLITICALLY CONNECTED IN
WASHINGTON, AND PARTICULARLY TO
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION.
SO WITHIN THREE MONTHS OF THE
BUSH ADMINISTRATION TAKING
OFFICE IN 2001 YOU KNOW BUSH
HAD PULLED THE U.S. OUT OF
KYOTO, GREATLY JEOPARDIZING THE
CHANCES THAT THE PLANET CAN
ACTUALLY DEAL WITH THIS
INCREDIBLY, SERIOUS PROBLEM.
AND OF COURSE WE CAN EXPECT
THAT THAT'S IN FACT WHERE THE
SITUATION WILL STAY FOR THE
NEXT FOUR YEARS.
BUT, BUT YOU KNOW THERE'S A
WHOLE OTHER SIDE TO THIS
DILEMMA ABOUT THE PROBLEM OF
OIL.
THE OVER CONSUMPTION OF OIL AND
THAT IS YOU KNOW THE FACT THAT
OUR MODERN ECONOMIES ARE BUILT
SO HEAVILY AROUND OIL.
YOU KNOW SO, SO WHAT THAT MEANS
IS THAT GETTING CONTROL OF OIL
HAS BECOME A KEY, POLITICAL
GOAL.
AND, AND CERTAINLY IS AN
ABSOLUTELY KEY POLITICAL GOAL
TO ANY COUNTRY THAT SEEKS TO
DOMINATE, DOMINATE THE WORLD.
AND, AND THAT OF COURSE BRINGS
ME BACK TO THE SUBJECT OF THE
BUSH ADMINISTRATION, CAUSE I
DON'T THINK IT'S AN
OVERSTATEMENT TO SAY THAT THIS
IS AN ADMINISTRATION THAT IS
VERY KEEN ON DOMINATING THE
WORLD BOTH ECONOMICALLY AND
MILITARILY.
AND GETTING CONTROL OF OIL
RESERVES IS A KEY PART OF THAT.
UM AND I WOULD ARGUE AND I DO
IN MY BOOK THAT OIL WAS VERY
MUCH ON THE MINDS OF THE
AMERICANS WHEN THEY WENT INTO
IRAQ.
NOW, THIS IS OF COURSE
VIGOROUSLY DENIED.
YOU KNOW THERE WERE A FEW HINTS
HOWEVER THAT I THINK POINTED
ANYONE INTERESTED IN THAT
DIRECTION.
ONE OF THEM WAS WHEN DONALD
RUMSFELD, THE SECRETARY OF
DEFENSE RIGHT AT THE OUTSET OF
THE WAR MADE A STATEMENT SAYING
THAT YOU KNOW SETTING OIL
FIELDS ON FIRE IN IRAQ WOULD BE
CONSIDERED A WAR CRIME.

[Audience laughs]

Linda continues YOU KNOW IT'S
ONE THING TO DROP BOMBS ON A
CITY OF 5,000,000 PEOPLE.
IT'S ANOTHER THING TO DESTROY A
PERFECTLY, GOOD OIL FIELD.

[Audience laughs]

Linda continues NOW OF COURSE
THERE'S A REASON FOR THAT
DENIAL AND THAT IS THAT IF, IF
YOU ADMIT THAT THE WAR IS ABOUT
OIL IT REALLY CHANGES THE
NATURE OF THE WAR.
IT'S NOT A WAR OF SELF-DEFENSE.
IT'S NOT A WAR ABOUT
LIBERATION.
IT'S A WAR ABOUT GETTING
CONTROL OF THE RESOURCES OF
ANOTHER COUNTRY.
IN OTHER WORDS IT'S A WAR OF
AGGRESSION.
IT'S A WAR IN VIOLATION OF
INTERNATIONAL LAW.
YOU KNOW ITS INTERESTING
INTERNATIONAL LAW DOESN'T HAVE
ANY SUCH THING AS WAR
LIBERATION.
IT DOESN'T ACKNOWLEDGE THAT
SUCH A THING EXISTS AND FOR A
VERY GOOD REASON.
BECAUSE OF COURSE IF YOU
PERMITTED WARS OF LIBERATION
THEN ANYBODY WOULD FEEL FREE TO
INVADE AND SAY THEY WERE GOING
NEXT DOOR TO LIBERATE THE
COUNTRY.
IN FACT, EVERY INVADING ARMY IN
HISTORY HAS COME IN BASICALLY
SAYING THEY WERE COMING IN TO
LIBERATE THE PEOPLE.
YOU KNOW FOR INSTANCE ALL THE
WAY BACK TO GINSERIC, KING OF
THE VANDALS, WHO IN 1420
INVADED NORTH AFRICA SAYING HE
WAS GOING IN TO LIBERATE THE
PEOPLE THERE.
OF COURSE IN FACT HE MOSTLY
PILLAGED AND DESTROYED AND
STOLE, WHICH IS WHY 16
CENTURIES LATER THE WORD
VANDALS LIVES ON AS SORT OF
SYNONOMOUS WITH DESTROYER AND
PILLAGER.
ONE CAN ONLY IMAGINE WHAT THE
WORD BUSH MIGHT LIVE ON 16
CENTURIES FROM NOW.

[Audience laughing, applauding]

Linda continues ONE THING I
FIND ASTONISHING AND I'VE RUN
INTO THIS TO SOME EXTENT IN
REACTION OF MY BOOK.
I FIND CERTAIN PEOPLE ARE
SAYING WELL, YEAH, YEAH, IT'S
ABOUT OIL.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?
WELL WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT IS
THAT IT'S IN BLATANT VIOLATION
OF INTERNATIONAL LAW.
IT DOESN'T SEEM TO BOTHER A LOT
OF PEOPLE.
FOR INSTANCE ONE OF THE PEOPLE
IT DOESN'T SEEM TO BOTHER IS
THOMAS FRIEDMAN.
THE INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
COLUMNIST FOR THE NEW YORK
TIMES.
A BIG, RESPECTED, GUY.
HE'S A BIG, PROPONENT OF THE
WAR, AND IN A COLUMN IN JANUARY
2003 FRIEDMAN ACTUALLY
ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THE WAR WAS
ABOUT OIL.BUT THAT
DIDN'T TAMPER HIS ENTHUSIASM
FOR IT.
IN FACT THIS IS WHAT HE SAID.
HE SAID I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH
IT BEING A WAR FOR OIL.
AS LONG AS
IT'S ACCOMPANIED BY A REAL,
PROGRAM FOR ENERGY
CONSERVATION.

[Audience laughing]

Linda continues NOW, OF
COURSE LET ME STRESS IT'S NOT
JUST A WAR ABOUT OIL.
IT'S ALSO A WAR ABOUT OTHER
THINGS LIKE FLEXING THE U.S.
MUSCLE MORE VIGOROUSLY IN THE
WORLD.
ABOUT RESHAPING THE MAP OF THE
MIDDLE EAST ETCETERA.
BUT I WANT TO VIEW IT AS ALSO
VERY MUCH A WAR ABOUT OIL.
AND, AND I THINK YOU HAVE TO
SEE THIS IN THE BROADER CONTEXT
OF HOW, HOW VITAL OIL IS TO THE
GLOBAL ECONOMY.
FIRST AS A TREMENDOUS SOURCE OF
WEALTH.
BUT ALSO AS A KEY TO ECONOMIC
AND MILITARY POWER GOING ALL
THE WAY BACK TO THE FIRST AND
SECOND WORLD WARS.
I MEAN IT WAS ABSOLUTELY, KEY
TO THE OUTCOME OF THOSE WARS.
BUT PARTICULARLY SINCE 1973,
SINCE THE ENERGY CRISIS OF 1973
AND THE ARAB OIL EMBARGO
THERE'S BEEN A, A HUGE FOCUS ON
THE IMPORTANCE OF OIL AT THE
VERY HIGHEST LEVEL OF THE U.S.
GOVERNMENT.
I MEAN THE U.S. PLANNERS NEVER
WANT TO BE IN THAT SITUATION
AGAIN WHERE THEY EXPERIENCE THE
KIND OF VULNERABILITY THEY FELT
IN THAT 73, 74 ENERGY CRISIS.
UM, AND SO GAINING CONTROL OF
OIL HAS BEEN ABSOLUTELY CENTRAL
TO THEIR PLANNING EVER SINCE.
IN FACT IT'S INTERESTING THAT
RIGHT AFTER THAT OIL CRISIS IN
THE MID 70S, THERE WAS A HUGE
UPSWING IN COMMENTARIES FROM
RIGHT WINGERS IN THE U.S.,
ARGUING THAT THE U.S. SHOULD BE
MUCH MORE AGGRESSIVE ABOUT YOU
KNOW ACTUALLY MOVING INTO THE
MIDDLE EAST.
FOR INSTANCE THERE WAS AN
ARTICLE IN HARPER'S MAGAZINE
CALLED “SEIZING ARAB OIL,”
WRITTEN BY A GUY CALLED MILES
IGNOTOS, WHERE HE OUTLINED A
PLAN FOR THE U.S. TO INVADE THE
MIDDLE EAST WITH ABOUT 40,000
TROOPS AND TAKE ACTUAL CONTROL
OF SOME OF THE GULF SHEIKDOMS.
NOW THIS WASN'T JUST YOU KNOW
SOME TYPICAL, RIGHT WING
BLOWHARD.
IN FACT IT TURNS OUT MILES
IGNOTOS WAS A PSEUDONYM FOR
HENRY KISSINGER.
SO, SO THE,
THE PROBLEM ALWAYS IN, IN TERMS
OF SEIZING CONTROL OF THE ARAB
OIL WAS THE, THE PRESENCE OF
THE SOVIET UNION IN THE
PICTURE.
THE FEAR THAT IF THE AMERICANS
WENT IN THE SOVIETS WOULD
RESPOND.
SO WITH THE DEMISE OF THE
SOVIET UNION THIS OPENED UP ALL
KINDS OF OPPORTUNITIES.
AND THESE OPPORTUNITIES WERE
CERTAINLY NOTED BY A SMALL,
GROUP OF RIGHT WING REPUBLICAN
HAWKS WHO IN THE 90S CAME
TOGETHER TO FORM A GROUP CALLED
THE PROJECT FOR A NEW AMERICAN
CENTURY.
AND THEIR WHOLE THEORY IN THIS
WAS THAT THE U.S. SHOULD TAKE
ADVANTAGE OF THE DEMISE OF THE
SOVIET UNION TO ASSERT WHAT
THEY CALLED AMERICAN GLOBAL
LEADERSHIP, WHICH THEY MEANT TO
BE FLEXING AMERICA'S MUSCLE
MORE IN THE WORLD.
BUILDING UP THE AMERICAN
MILITARY.
AND ONE OF THEIR BIG FOCUSES
WAS GETTING CONTROL OF OIL.
IN FACT THEY, THEY REALIZED
THAT CONTROLLING OIL WAS KEY TO
CONTROLLING THE GLOBAL ECONOMY
AND THEY WROTE A LETTER TO BILL
CLINTON IN 1998 URGING THE
OVERTHROW OF SADDAM HUSSEIN TO
BE A KEY PRIORITY AND RELATING
IT VERY MUCH TO THE HUGE
RESERVES OF OIL THAT SADDAM WAS
SITTING ON.
NOW WHAT'S SIGNIFICANT ABOUT
THIS GROUP IS THAT SOME OF ITS
KEY PLAYERS, DICK CHENEY,
DONALD RUMSFELD AND PAUL
WOLFOWITZ OF COURSE END UP
BECOMING THE BACKBONE OF THE
NEW BUSH ADMINISTRATION WHEN IT
TAKES POWER IN 2001.
NOW ANOTHER HUGELY IMPORTANT
FACTOR IS THE WHOLE PROBLEM OF
DWINDLING OIL RESERVES IN THE
WORLD.
AND, AND LET ME STRESS THE
WORLD, I'M NOT ARGUING WE'RE
ABOUT TO RUN OUT OF OIL.
THE, THE TRUTH IS THOUGH THAT
WE OFTEN FORGET IS THAT OIL IS
A FINITE RESOURCE.
THERE'S ONLY SO MUCH OF IT IN
THE WORLD AND THE 14 DECADES
WE'VE BEEN USING IT, WE'VE USED
UP ALMOST HALF OF WHAT THERE
IS.
AND, AND YOU KNOW AT THE PACE
WE'RE GOING WE'RE INCREASINGLY
USING MORE AND MORE ALL THE
TIME.
YOU KNOW WE'VE ONLY GOT ABOUT
THREE OR FOUR DECADES LEFT.
BUT THE PROBLEM BECOMES SERIOUS
EVEN BEFORE THEN, BECAUSE ONCE
YOU'VE USED UP ROUGHLY HALF OF
THE WORLD'S OIL IT BECOMES MORE
DIFFICULT TO GET THE OTHER
STUFF OUT OF THE GROUND.
IN OTHER WORDS THE STUFF AT THE
TOP IS THE EASY TO REACH STUFF.
IT'S YOU KNOW SORT OF YOU KNOW
WHAT IS SOMETIMES REFERRED TO
AS THE LOW HANGING FRUIT.
THE EASY TO GET STUFF.
YOU KNOW THE STUFF THAT EVEN
JED CLAMPETT COULD GET OUT OF
THE GROUND.

[Audience laughing, some applaud]

Linda says AND, AND SO
THE PROBLEM IS THAT YOU KNOW AS
WE HAVE TO REACH DEEPER AND
DEEPER TO GET WHAT'S LEFT, YOU
KNOW THE SCRAMBLE FOR OIL
BECOMES MORE INTENSE.
BUT IT ALSO MEANS THAT WHAT'S
LEFT OF THE EASY TO REACH
STUFF, BECOMES ALL THE MORE
VALUABLE.
AND IT SO HAPPENS THAT, THAT
EASY TO REACH STUFF IS
PARTICULARLY LOCATED IN THE
MIDDLE EAST.
AND THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS
NOT LOST ON DICK CHENEY WHO OF
COURSE BEFORE HE WAS VICE
PRESIDENT, WAS CEO OF
HALLIBURTON, THE BIG OIL
SERVICES GIANT.
AND HE WAS VERY FOCUSED ON THIS
PROBLEM OF DWINDLING OIL
RESERVES IN THE WORLD.
IN FACT HE GAVE A SPEECH TO THE
LONDON PETROLEUM INSTITUTE IN
1999 WHERE HE TALKED ABOUT YOU
KNOW THE PROBLEM OF RISING
DEMAND FOR OIL AND AT THE SAME
TIME DWINDLING RESERVES.
IT'S GONNA CREATE A PROBLEM
WHEREBY THE YEAR 2010 THE WORLD
IS GONNA NEED AN EXTRA
50,000,000 BARRELS OF OIL A
DAY.
THAT'S A HUGE AMOUNT OF EXTRA
OIL PER DAY.
AND HE SAID WHERE'S IT GONNA
COME FROM?
AND HE SAYS THE MIDDLE EAST.
THAT'S WHERE THE PRIZE
ULTIMATELY LIES.
AND IT LIES
PARTICULARLY IN IRAQ BECAUSE
IRAQ IS REALLY UNIQUE.
IT HAS HUGE
OIL RESERVES.
THE SECOND, BIGGEST OIL
RESERVES IN THE WORLD.
BUT, BUT UNLIKE SAUDI ARABIA
WHOSE RESERVES ARE EVEN BIGGER,
IRAQ'S OIL RESERVES ARE ALMOST
COMPLETELY UNTOUCHED.
SO IT HAS THESE AMPLE RESERVES
AND IT'S VIRGIN TERRITORY.
IN FACT AS ONE WALL, WALL
STREET OIL ANALYST PUT IT TO
ME, HE SAID IRAQ IS THE
SUPERSTAR OF THE FUTURE.
IT'S BIGGER THAN ANYTHING
EXXON'S INVOLVED WITH.
IT'S THE BIG DANCE.
EVERYONE WANTS TO BE THERE.
NOW THE PROBLEM WAS THAT THE
U.S. HADN'T BEEN INVITED TO THE
BIG DANCE.
YOU KNOW THROUGHOUT THE 1990S
THERE'D BEEN SANCTIONS IMPOSED
ON IRAQ, MOSTLY AT THE
INSTIGATION OF THE U.S.
AND SADDAM HAD BEEN BUSY MAKING
DEALS WITH FRANCE AND RUSSIA
AND CHINA AND, AND, TO GET AND
SO WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED WAS
AS SOON AS THOSE SANCTIONS WERE
GONNA BE LIFTED, THE FRENCH AND
THE RUSSIANS AND THE CHINESE
WERE GONNA BE ABLE TO GET IN
THERE AND GET CONTROL OF THIS
WONDERFUL, LAST, REMAINING OIL
BONANZA ON EARTH.
SO YOU CAN UNDERSTAND IT WAS OF
CONSIDERABLE CONCERN TO, TO
AMERICAN OIL COMPANIES.
NOW, I WOULD ARGUE THIS
INTEREST IN IRAQ'S OIL IS
REALLY PART OF A BROADER
PATTERN THAT REALLY GOES BACK
FIVE DECADES OF U.S.
INTERVENTIONS IN THE MIDDLE
EAST FOR OIL.
IN THE PROCESS PROPPING UP
HORRIBLE DICTATORSHIPS AND
INCLUDING THE OVERTHROW OF
DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED
GOVERNMENTS.
YOU KNOW WE HEAR SO MUCH ABOUT
DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED
GOVERNMENTS, BUT IN FACT WE YOU
KNOW HOW IMPORTANT THEY ARE IN
THE MIDDLE EAST.
WHAT WE FORGET IS THAT BACK IN
THE 50S THERE ACTUALLY WAS A
DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED
GOVERNMENT IN IRAN.
IT NATIONALIZED THE OIL
INDUSTRY THERE, HOWEVER AND
THAT WAS VERY UNPOPULAR WITH
THE INTERNATIONAL OIL COMPANIES
AND WITH THE AMERICAN, BRITISH
GOVERNMENTS.
SO THE AMERICAN, BRITISH
GOVERNMENTS ORCHESTRATED A COUP
THAT OVERTHREW THAT
DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED
GOVERNMENT AND PUT A BRUTAL,
THE BRUTAL SHAH IN PLACE
INSTEAD.
AND I WOULD ARGUE THE ANGER
THAT WAS CREATED BY THAT
OVERTHROW OF THE DEMOCRATICALLY
ELECTED GOVERNMENT AND THE
IMPOSITION OF THE SHAH WAS
REALLY THE BEGINNING OF THE
KIND OF ANTI-AMERICAN RAGE THAT
LATER LED TO SUCH HORRORS AS
911.
OF COURSE THE U.S. ABSOLUTELY
REFUSES TO SEE ANY KIND OF
CONNECTION THERE.
REMEMBER BUSH WENT ON TV AFTER
911, SAID HE WAS GONNA ADDRESS
THE PROBLEM OF WHY, YOU KNOW
WHY THEY HATE US SO MUCH.
INSTEAD HE WENT ON TV, HE
DIDN'T SAY A WORD ABOUT YOU
KNOW THE OVERTHROWING OF
DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED
GOVERNMENT.
PROPPING UP DICTATORSHIPS OR
DENYING MILLIONS OF PEOPLE
DEMOCRACY.
INSTEAD HE SAID THEY HATE US
BECAUSE OF OUR DEMOCRACY.
THEY'RE JEALOUS OF OUR
FREEDOMS.
YOU KNOW IT'S KIND OF LIKE A
GIRL CONVINCING HERSELF THAT
OTHER GIRLS HATE HER CAUSE
SHE'S PRETTY.
WHEN REALLY IT'S BECAUSE THEY
THINK SHE'S A JERK.

[Audience laughs]

Linda continues NOW LET ME
QUICKLY SAY THAT YOU KNOW THIS
LONG HISTORY OF WASHINGTON
INTERVENING FOR OIL HAS NOT
ALWAYS BEEN VIOLENT.
SOMETIMES IN FACT COUNTRIES
SIMPLY CAPITULATE WHEN THE U.S.
COMES FOR THEIR OIL.
TAKE CANADA FOR INSTANCE.

[Audience laughs]

Linda continues THE U.S. HAS
LONG BEEN AFTER OUR ENERGY AND
IT WAS A KEY GOAL OF THE U.S.
AND THE FREE TRADE AND NAFTA
AGREEMENTS TO GET AN ENERGY
DEAL FROM US AND THEY GOT IT.
IN FACT THEY GOT A DEAL SO THAT
WE CANNOT, WE CANNOT CUT OFF
OUR EXPORTS TO THEM UNLESS WE
CUT OUR OIL BY THE SAME AMOUNT.
WHICH MEANS THAT IN FACT IF
THERE WAS A SHORTAGE OF OIL IN
LET'S SAY THE EASTERN, CENTRAL
PART OF THE COUNTRY AND YOU
KNOW WE WANTED TO REDIRECT
SHIPMENTS HEADING FOR THE U.S.
TO EASTERN CANADA, THAT WOULD
BE ILLEGAL UNDER NAFTA.
WE WOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO DO
THAT.
AND IT'S INTERESTING TO NOTE
THAT, THAT WAS CONSIDERED SUCH
A, A COMPROMISE ON OUR
SOVEREIGNTY.
SUCH A COMPROMISE, THAT, THAT
ASPECT OF NAFTA WAS CONSIDERED
SUCH A COMPROMISE IN
SOVEREIGNTY THAT MEXICO REFUSED
TO SIGN IT, AND WAS GRANTED AN
EXEMPTION.
NOW LET ME, I AM RUNNING OUT OF
TIME HERE, SO LET ME JUST VERY
QUICKLY SAY I DON'T WANT TO
LEAVE THE IMPRESSION THAT THIS
PROBLEM IS INSOLUBLE.
IN FACT I THINK OUR ADDICTION
TO OIL IS A HIGHLY SOLVEABLE
PROBLEM.
I MEAN THERE'S ALL KINDS OF
ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF ENERGY
OUT THERE THAT WE KNOW ABOUT.
WIND AND SOLAR POWER, HYBRID
CARS, ETCETERA.
AND IN FACT THE, THE BEST
SOLUTION IS PROBABLY THE
EASIEST ONE OF ALL, WHICH IS
GREATER EFFICIENCY IN OUR USE
OF ENERGY.
AFTER THE ENERGY CRISIS OF THE
70S WE ACTUALLY BRIEFLY TOOK
ENERGY EFFICIENCY SERIOUSLY.
AND WE INTRODUCED THINGS LIKE
YOU KNOW REGULATIONS ON HOW
MUCH, ON FUEL ECONOMY IN CARS
AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN
APPLIANCES.
AND DO YOU REALIZE WE MANAGED
IN A FEW YEARS TO REDUCE OUR
ENERGY CONSUMPTION BY AN
ASTONISHING 30 PERCENT.
BUT UNFORTUNATELY BY THE 1980S
WE COMPLETELY LOST THAT
POLITICAL WILL.
AND YOU KNOW EVEN ALLOWED THE
OPENING UP OF ALL KINDS OF NEW
LOOPHOLES LIKE FOR THINGS LIKE
SUVS.
IF THERE WAS EVER AN
UNNECESSARY VEHICLE, ONE WOULD
HAVE TO SAY IT'S AN SUV.
[Audience applauding]

A view of the audience appears.

Linda says YOU KNOW
THERE IS A TRIUMPH OF MARKETING
REALLY, THOSE CHUNKY,
OVERSIZED, UGLY VEHICLES.
YOU KNOW SORT
OF LIKE GATED COMMUNITIES ON
WHEELS.

[Audience laughing]

Linda continues YOU KNOW IT'S
STRIKING THAT THE SUVS ACTUALLY
DATE BACK TO THE, TO THE 1930S
TO THE CHEVY SUBURBAN.
IT WASN'T POPULAR AT ALL AT THE
TIME.
IN FACT THE ONLY REASON IT
SURVIVED BACK THEN WAS BECAUSE
THE SIZE AND SHAPE OF IT MADE
IT PERFECT FOR THE FUNERAL
BUSINESS FOR THE LOADING AND
UNLOADING OF COFFINS.
SOMETHING THAT A FEATURE THAT'S
CONTINUED TO THIS DAY.
ALTHOUGH NO LONGER MENTIONED IN
SUV ADVERTISING.

[Audience laughing]

Linda continues SO LET ME
JUST SAY THOUGH THE SUV'S
TYPICAL OF HOW WE'VE SQUANDERED
OPPORTUNITIES TO REDUCE THE
CONSUMPTION OF OIL.
YOU KNOW WE COULD HAVE
DRAMATICALLY REDUCED OUR OIL
CONSUMPTION IN THE LAST 25
YEARS.
ONE OF THE KEY THINGS WE COULD
HAVE DONE WAS THROUGH THIS FUEL
EFFICIENCY.
BUT GOVERNMENTS STOPPED
REQUIRING CARS TO BE MORE
ENERGY EFFICIENT, MORE FUEL,
EFFICIENT.
AND THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT CAR
MANUFACTURERS HAVEN'T CONTINUED
TO MAKE THEIR ENGINES EVER MORE
EFFICIENT.
BUT THEY NO LONGER DIRECT THOSE
EFFICIENCY GAINS TO FUEL
EFFICIENCY BECAUSE THEY'RE NO
LONGER REQUIRED TO.
SO INSTEAD THEY PUT THOSE
EFFICIENCY GAINS TO, TO
SOMETHING ELSE, TO MAKING EVER
BIGGER, MORE POWERFUL VEHICLES
THAT CAN BE PROPELLED EVER
FASTER.
AND SO I THINK THAT IN MANY
WAYS IS A METAPHOR FOR HOW
TRAGICALLY WE'VE SQUANDERED OUR
ABILITY TO DEAL WITH THIS
ENORMOUS PROBLEM.
IN FACT I'LL JUST LEAVE YOU
WITH THIS ONE QUOTE, THAT I
THINK SUMMED UP THE TRAGEDY
NICELY.
IT WAS FROM AN ENGINEER
INTERVIEWED IN WASHINGTON.
HE WAS TALKING ABOUT THIS
PROBLEM OF EVER BIGGER VEHICLES
GOING EVER FASTER.
AND HE SAID IF WE CONTINUE ON
THE PATH WE'RE ON WE'LL BE
MAKING 18-WHEELERS THAT
ACCELERATE LIKE RACING CARS.
THANKS VERY MUCH.

[Audience applauding]

Tina and Linda sit across from each other at a wooden table on stage facing the
audience. Linda speaks into a microphone and looks at the audience and Tina.

Tina says THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE
LIKE SEYMOUR HIRSCH WHO
CERTAINLY IS NOT WHAT I WOULD
SAY A BUSH FANATIC, HE SAYS THE
WAR WAS NOT ABOUT OIL AT ALL.
I MEAN IT'S ABOUT BUSH'S
GENUINELY HELD BELIEF THAT,
THAT HE WANTS TO BRING
DEMOCRACY TO OTHER PARTS OF THE
WORLD.
NOT THAT HE DOESN'T SAY THERE
AREN'T ISSUES WITH THAT.
BUT JUST TO YOUR QUESTION ABOUT
THE, THE WAR BEING ABOUT OIL.

Linda says WELL LET ME
JUST SAY, FIRST OF ALL I HAVE
TREMENDOUS RESPECT FOR SEYMOUR
HIRSCH.
THE WORK HE'S DONE ON PRISON
ABUSE AND ON THE MEI LEI
MASSACRE, I THINK HE'S
FANTASTIC.
I DISAGREE WITH HIM STRONGLY
ABOUT THIS.
UM, LET, LET ME JUST SAY THAT I
WOULD ARGUE AND, AND I DO MAKE
THIS VERY CLEAR THAT I THINK
THE WAR WAS ABOUT SEVERAL
THINGS.
IT CERTAINLY WAS ABOUT YOU KNOW
ASSERTING THE U.S. MORE
FORCEFULLY IN THE WORLD, AND
THAT WAS WHY I REFERRED TO THAT
WHOLE THING ABOUT THE PROJECT
FOR THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY.
THOSE PEOPLE, CHENEY, WOLFOWITZ
AND RUMSFELD, WERE THE
ARCHITECTS OF THE WAR.
AND YOU KNOW WHEN, WHEN BUSH
CAME INTO OFFICE HE'D BARELY
LOCATED IRAQ ON A MAP AT THAT
POINT.
BUT THESE GUYS ALREADY HAD AN
AGENDA ABOUT OVERTHROWING
SADDAM.
AND, AND THEIR AGENDA WAS VERY
CLEARLY RELATED TO FLEXING U.S.
MUSCLE AND GETTING CONTROL OF
THE OIL.
SO I THINK THE WAR WAS ABOUT A
NUMBER OF THINGS.
BUT, BUT ONE OF THE THINGS I
WOULD AND ALSO REMOVING SADDAM
AS AN INTRANSIGENT FOE OF
ISRAEL WAS ANOTHER VERY KEY
MOTIVE.
BUT, BUT ONE THING I WOULD SAY
VERY STRONGLY IS THAT THE WAR
WAS ABOUT A NUMBER OF THINGS.
BUT IT WASN'T AT ALL ABOUT THE
THINGS THAT BUSH SAID IT WAS
RELATED TO.
IT CERTAINLY WASN'T ABOUT
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.
IT WASN'T ABOUT LINKS TO AL
QAEDA, AND IT CERTAINLY WASN'T
ABOUT LIBERATING THE IRAQI
PEOPLE.
IF SO, IF IT HAD BEEN ABOUT
LIBERATING THE IRAQI PEOPLE
THEN FOR INSTANCE, UM, I THINK
THEY WOULD HAVE GONE ABOUT IT
VERY DIFFERENTLY.
THEY WOULDN'T HAVE FOR INSTANCE
MADE DETAILED PLANS BEFORE THEY
WENT IN ABOUT HOW AS SOON AS
THEY GOT THERE, THEY WERE GONNA
PRIVATIZE ALL OF IRAQ'S OIL.
THEY WERE VERY FOCUSED ON THAT.
I DIDN'T GET A CHANCE IN FACT
TO TALK ABOUT HOW YOU KNOW THAT
ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THE
BUSH ADMINISTRATION DID WHEN IT
CAME INTO POWER, IT TOOK TWO
INITIATIVES RIGHT, RIGHT OFF
THE TOP AND IT IMPLEMENTED THEM
WITH GREAT URGENCY.
ONE OF THEM WAS IT SET UP THE
CHENEY TASKFORCE ON ENERGY.
THE CHENEY TASKFORCE WAS VERY
FOCUSED ON GETTING CONTROL OF
NEW OIL RESERVES IN ROGUE
STATES.
AND THEY WERE VERY BUSY
STUDYING DETAILED OIL MAPS OF
IRAQ.
THEY HAD LISTS OF THE, ALL THE
FOREIGN SUITORS THAT HAD BEEN
MAKING DEALS WITH SADDAM AND
HOW MUCH, HOW MUCH THE DEALS
WERE WORTH.
THEY WERE WORTH A TOTAL OF
SOMETHING LIKE 1.1 TRILLION.
THIS WAS ALL THE STUFF THEY
WERE GONNA BE LEFT OUT.
AND THE OTHER BIG INITIATIVE
WAS AND WE NOW KNOW THIS, THAT
RIGHT AS SOON AS THE NEW
ADMINISTRATION TOOK OFFICE AT
THE VERY HIGHEST LEVEL THEY
WERE DISCUSSING HOW TO
OVERTHROW SADDAM.
THIS IS BY THE WAY MONTHS
BEFORE 911 OF COURSE.

Tina says YEAH.

Linda says SO, SO IN
OTHER WORDS YOU HAVE THESE TWO
KEY INITIATIVES.
ONE ABOUT MAKING SURE SADDAM
DOESN'T AWARD HIS OIL TO ALL
THEIR COMPETITORS, AND THE
OTHER ABOUT OVERTHROWING
SADDAM.
BOTH TOP SECRET, BOTH AT THE
HIGHEST LEVELS OH, AND BOTH
ORCHESTRATED BY THE SAME GUY
DICK CHENEY.
YOU KNOW YOU WONDER COULD THERE
BE A CONNECTION?
[Tina laughs]

Tina says COINCIDENCE PERHAPS?
UM, LET ME ASK YOU THOUGH ABOUT
THIS IDEA THAT THERE MIGHT HAVE
BEEN OTHER WAYS TO GET THE OIL.
I MEAN THE WAR IS COSTING
BILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF
DOLLARS AS WE KNOW.
PEOPLE HAVE SUGGESTED I KNOW
YOU'VE HAD DISCUSSIONS WITH
MICHAEL -- BEFORE THAT YOU KNOW
SURELY THERE WERE OTHER WAYS TO
GET IT THAN TO GO TO WAR.
I MEAN WHY WOULD BUSH RISK
THAT?
AND A TWO-PART QUESTION, SORRY.
UM, WHY ARE THERE NOT OTHER
INITIATIVES FOLLOWED AT HOME?
BY THAT I MEAN IN NORTH AMERICA
THAT WOULD, I MEAN WHY DON'T
THEY LOOK FOR CHEAPER OIL,
CHEAPER, CLEANER, ENERGY
RESOURCES THAT WE KNOW ARE
AVAILABLE?

Linda says OKAY.
WELL FIRST OF ALL YOU'RE
ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, THEY DON'T
NEED TO INVADE OIL TO GET THE
OIL.
IN FACT SADDAM AND EVERYONE
ELSE THAT OWNS A LOT OF OIL, IS
ONLY TOO THRILLED TO, TO SELL
IT.
IN FACT THAT'S WHAT THEY WANT
TO DO WITH THE OIL.
OIL ISN'T SORT OF SOMETHING
INTRINSICALLY BEAUTIFUL THAT
YOU KIND OF WANT TO PUT IN
YOUR, YOUR HOUSE.
YOU WANT TO SELL IT.
THAT'S THE ONLY REASON TO HAVE
IT.
BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT IT'S NOT
JUST ABOUT BEING ABLE TO BUY
OIL.

Linda says IT'S ABOUT
BEING ABLE TO CONTROL OIL.
AND, AND PARTLY BECAUSE OF THE
GEOPOLITICAL THINGS I TALKED
ABOUT.

Linda says ABOUT HOW
IMPORTANT IT IS FOR MILITARY
AND ECONOMIC PURSES IN THE
GLOBAL ECONOMY, COUNTRIES THAT
SEEK TO DOMINATE WANT TO BE
ABLE TO CONTROL OIL AND CONTROL
POSSIBLY CUTTING OFF OIL TO
OTHER PEOPLE.
SECONDLY, IT'S A SOURCE OF JUST
TREMENDOUS WEALTH IF YOU
CONTROL IT.
YOU KNOW ONE OF THE KEY THINGS
THAT THE U.S. WANTED TO DO IN
GOING INTO IRAQ, WAS TO
PRIVATIZE THE OIL.
IN FACT THEY HAD ELABORATE
PLANS TO THAT EFFECT DRAWN UP.
AND, AND THESE IN FACT WERE
LEAKED, THEY ENDED UP IN THE,
IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL IN
FACT BEFORE THE INVASION BEGAN.
THINGS HAVEN'T TURNED OUT
EXACTLY AS THEY'D HOPED OVER
THERE.
SO THEY HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO
FOLLOW THROUGH ON ALL THOSE
PLANS.
BUT GETTING, PRIVATIZING IRAQ'S
OIL WAS A KEY MOTIVE.
LET ME JUST QUICKLY SAY BY WAY
OF BACKGROUND THAT THE WHOLE
HISTORY OF THIS IS THAT IN THE
1970S IRAQ AND MOST OF THE
OTHER OIL COUNTRIES IN THE
WORLD, OR AT LEAST THE OIL
COUNTRIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST
NATIONALIZED THEIR OIL
INDUSTRIES.
AND, AND SO THE PRIVATE OIL
COMPANIES THAT HAD DOMINATED
THE WORLD OIL MARKET UP TO THEN
AND TOTALLY CONTROLLED IT WERE
KIND OF PUSHED OUT.
THEY WERE DOWNGRADED TO FROM
OWNERS DOWN TO DEVELOPERS.
THEY STILL, STILL ENDED UP YOU
KNOW BECOMING HUGE, HUGELY
WEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL.
BUT THEY NEVER GOT OVER THE
FACT THAT THEY LOST ACTUAL
OWNERSHIP OF THE INDUSTRY.
SO, REPRIVATIZING THE OIL,
GAINING CONTROL OF IT,
REPRIVATIZING IT WAS A VERY BIG
PART AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN A VERY
BIG PART ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE
TRYING TO ACHIEVE.
AND IRAQ OFFERED THEM THIS SORT
OF PERFECT OPPORTUNITY TO BEGIN
THAT WHOLE PROCESS.

Tina says BUT THAT'S NOT GONNA
HAPPEN IS IT?
I MEAN THERE'S NOT GONNA BE --

Linda says WELL IT'S NOT
GONNA HAPPEN PROBABLY BECAUSE
THEY TOTALLY UNDERESTIMATED THE
STRENGTH OF THE RESISTANCE.
AND IN FACT THEY'VE BEEN FORCED
TO BACK OFF ON THE OIL FRONT
BECAUSE THEY CAN'T EVEN GET
CONTROL OF THE STREETS --

Tina says YEAH.

Linda says LET ALONE THE
OIL FIELDS.

Tina says YEAH.

Linda says BUT JUST
BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T SUCCEEDED
DOESN'T MEAN THAT THAT'S WHAT
IT WASN'T ALL ABOUT.

Tina says OKAY.
LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS OTHER
ISSUE THEN.
YOU SUGGEST IN, IN YOUR BOOK
YOU GIVE US AN EXAMPLE OF
LUDDITES.
YOU TALK ABOUT HOW HORRIFIED
PEOPLE WERE WHEN THERE WAS A
BETTER SPINNING MACHINE BROUGHT
FORWARD.
AND OF COURSE PEOPLE THOUGHT
OH, MY GOD, YOU KNOW IT WILL BE
THE END OF US.
THE END OF JOBS.
YOU SUGGEST THAT BIG OIL IN A
WAY IS A LUDDITE BECAUSE REALLY
THERE ARE TECHNOLOGIES OUT
THERE.
THAT THEY'RE FIGHTING A KIND OF
REAR GUARD ACTION.
NOW, IF THAT'S SO, WHY IS THAT
THE CASE?
I MEAN IN WHOSE, IN WHOSE
INTEREST, SURELY IT WOULD BE IN
THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST TO
SAY YOU KNOW WE DON'T HAVE TO,
WE DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO GO TO
WAR.
WE DON'T WANT TO BE IN THAT
MESSY MIDDLE EAST.
WHY DON'T WE FIND CLEANER AND
CHEAPER ENERGY ALTERNATIVES?

Linda says WELL, OKAY, A
COUPLE OF THINGS THERE.
I MEAN FIRST OF ALL, YOU'VE GOT
TO REMEMBER THAT THE PEOPLE WHO
ARE PAYING FOR THE WAR AND
DYING IN THE WAR ARE NOT THE
SAME PEOPLE THAT BENEFIT FROM
GETTING THE OIL.
YOU KNOW THE, THE, THE WAR SO
FAR HAS COST SOMETHING LIKE
130, 140 BILLION.
ANOTHER 70 BILLION IS NOW
REQUESTED.
BUT IT'S NOT THE OIL COMPANIES
THAT ARE PAYING THAT MONEY.
THEY, THEY DON'T PAY FOR THE
WAR.
IT'S OF COURSE THE AMERICAN
TAXPAYER.
SO, SO WHAT ESSENTIALLY IS
HAPPENING IS THAT THE AMERICAN
TAXPAYER AND AMERICAN SOLDIERS
ARE PAYING FOR A WAR THAT ENDS
UP BENEFITTING I WOULD ARGUE A
VERY, VERY SMALL SLIVER OF
SOCIETY.
BUT IT SO HAPPENS THAT, THAT,
SMALL SLIVER YOU KNOW IS
BENEFITTING ENORMOUSLY.
FOR INSTANCE HALLIBURTON, YOU
KNOW THE FORMER COMPANY HEADED
BY DICK CHENEY --

Tina says MMM-HMM .

Linda says AND, AND WHO
STILL THE COMPANY THAT STILL
PAYS DICK CHENEY YOU KNOW
DEFERRED COMPENSATION YOU KNOW
THEY'VE GOT 18 BILLION DOLLARS
WORTH OF CONTRACTS IN IRAQ.
SO, SO IN OTHER WORDS YOU KNOW
MONEY FROM THE ORDINARY CITIZEN
IS BEING REDIRECTED INTO THE
POCKETS OF HALLIBURTON AND A
FEW OTHER BIG OIL CONTRACTORS
WITH POTENTIALLY HUGE PROFITS,
TO GO INTO THE HANDS EVENTUALLY
OF THE PRIVATE OIL INDUSTRY YOU
KNOW IF THEY CAN GET CONTROL OF
THE RESERVE.
NOW, NOW YOU SAY, YOU SAY YOU
KNOW WHY DON'T THEY MOVE ON TO,
TO MORE, MORE ALTERNATIVE
SOURCES THAT ARE, THAT ARE SO
PROMISING?
BUT YOU KNOW THIS JUST LEAVES
OUT THE WHOLE POLITICAL
DYNAMIC.
I MEAN THE, THE, THE TRUTH IS
THAT THE POWERFUL OIL INDUSTRY
IS EXTREMELY CONNECTED TO THOSE
IN POWER.

Tina says MMM-HMM.

Linda says AS I WAS
SAYING IN PARTICULARLY THE BUSH
ADMINISTRATION.
SO, SO WHAT ENDS UP HAPPENING
IS THAT YOU KNOW EVEN BUSH HAS
REFERRED TO THE IMPORTANCE OF
YOU KNOW ALTERNATIVE ENERGIES.
BUT AND HE MAKES THOSE KINDS OF
PUBLIC STATEMENTS.
BUT IN FACT WHAT, WHAT THE
SIMPLE TRUTH IS, IS THAT THE
OIL COMPANIES ARE THE ONES WITH
THE CLOUT.
SO, SO EVEN, IF YOU EVEN TAKE
SOMETHING LIKE THE ALTERNATIVE
ENERGY, YOU KNOW WIND AND SOLAR
POWER AND THESE VERY KIND OF
PROMISING SOLUTIONS.
THERE'S ALL KIND OF SORT OF
POLITICAL STATEMENTS MADE ABOUT
HOW IMPORTANT THEY ARE AND HOW
WE'RE GONNA HELP THEM.
BUT IN FACT ALMOST NO MONEY
GOES INTO SUBSIDIZING THESE
VERY, PROMISING ALTERNATIVES.
IN FACT THE REAL PROBLEM THAT
IS YOU KNOW THE REAL SUBSIDIES
GO INTO THE OIL INDUSTRY.
YOU KNOW IN THE FORMS OF
CAPITAL COST ALLOWANCES AND TAX
WRITEOFFS.
I MEAN THE SUBSIDY FOR THE OIL
INDUSTRY IS MASSIVE.
THE SUBSIDY FOR THESE
ALTERNATIVE FUELS IS TEENSY.
AND, AND SO YOU KNOW WE HAVE
THIS SITUATION WHERE PEOPLE
SORT OF SAY, OH, YOU KNOW THESE
ALTERNATIVE ENERGIES, THEY'RE
SO GOOD.
YOU KNOW BUT IF ONLY THEY WERE
COST COMPETITIVE.
WELL THE REASON THEY'RE NOT
COST COMPETITIVE IS BECAUSE THE
BAD, OIL INDUSTRY, THE BAD KIND
OF SOURCES OF ENERGY --
ARE SO
HEAVILY SUBSIDIZED.

The caption changes to “Special Thanks to Canadian Random House.”

Watch: Linda McQuaig - Author of "It's the Crude Dude"