From this morning’s Times:
It was only three hours into the workday, but Mr. Leaby’s frustrations started, as they do every morning, when he arrived around 8 to the lone refurbished office in a complex of buildings so thoroughly ransacked that birds dart through the upper stories. Employees of South Oil, Iraq’s leading oil producer before the war, are now idle because looting has brought most of the company to a standstill.
“The other day, there was looting and sabotage at the North Rumaila field,” Mr. Leaby said. “The day before that, at the Zubayr field. For three months, I’ve been talking, talking, talking about this, and I’m sick of it.”
Looting, sabotage and the continued lack of security at oil facilities are the most recent problems the industry and its American overseers must address in order to get petroleum flowing again, especially for export.
Looters stole what little Iraqi engineers had scrimped and scavenged to keep the oil industry running during the 12 years of enforced poverty under United Nations sanctions.
Under the constraints of the United Nations and Mr. Hussein, engineers were forced to maximize output with minimal parts and equipment, a process that was slowly throttling the industry, Iraqi oil officials said.
Okay, two points here. One, we don’t even have enough troops on the ground to secure the oil facilities, which pretty much proves that Shineski was right and Rumsfeld was wrong. Two, the Iraqi oil industry was barely functional over the past twelve years, which pretty much puts lie to Wolfowitz’s assertion that we had to invade Iraq because their vast oil wealth made them otherwise untouchable.