JIM CREES: Unrest in Iraq? Really!??!

Okie dokie.

If you’re wondering about the meteoric increase in gasoline prices at the pump, the reason is ...

Unrest in Iraq.

Yessir, you can expect an increase in gasoline prices nationwide because of recent violence in Iraq.

“Motorists should be ready for gas prices to increase around 5-10 cents,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. “The price hike could continue depending on the duration of this conflict.”

Gasoline prices in Big Rapids and throughout the area have skyrocketed just as the summer vacation season begins because of “unrest in Iraq.”

So, here’s my question.

If there is “unrest in Iraq” today, then when exactly was there a state of "rest" — quiet and calm — in Iraq.

Was there no unrest, say, two weeks ago? A couple months back? Last year?

When was there not unrest in Iraq? And certainly over the past decade.

Really? Gas prices are shooting up because of the “unrest” in Iraq?

OK. Here’s a couple things for you.

A) There has never been calm or quiet in Iraq.

Never.

Even under the totalitarian regime of Saddam Hussein, there was little if any “calm.”

Iraq is basically a "manufactured" country — created by the British for their puppet, Faisel, who had been forced out of French controlled Syria.

Iraq was a kingdom until 1941 when there was a coup d’etat. The British re-invaded Iraq soon after. There was a military occupation until the 1950; a armed revolution in the early 1960s; and, finally, Saddam Hussein in 1979.

Saddam Hussein invaded Iran a year and a half after taking power, during which war some 1.5 million people from both sides died.

Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera.

Then, the U.S. invaded Iraq which did absolutely nothing to stabilize the situation.

Witness ... today.

Unrest in Iraq.

There has never been anything BUT a state of unrest in Iraq, so to say that the present increase in gasoline prices at American pumps is the result of some sudden, unexpected, and never anticipated “unrest in Iraq” is simply a bald-faced lie.

But ... we buy it.

Like the sheep we are, we learn the increase in gasoline prices is because of some unrest in the Middle East and we simply accept this as truth because ... well ... because.

B) We don’t buy or import that much gas from Iraq in the first place.

According to the independent U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) the U.S. imports close to 9,006,000 barrels of crude oil from Iraq per month — or about 124,403,000 per year.

That equals about 3.48 percent of our total crude oil imports.

3.48 percent! And the world is coming crashing down around us.

Really?

After processing the crude, we get some a total of 6,547,000 gallons of gasoline from Iraq. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)

There are some 246 million vehicles registered in the U.S. All the gasoline we get from Iraq would fill every car in America’s gas tank twice. Two times. That’s all! 

We get 15 times more crude oil from Canada, (and there isn’t too much unrest there.) Heck! We get four times more oil from Mexico than we do from Iraq.

C’mon! Only 3.48 percent of the crude imports ... annually.

That’s it. Iraq is tenth or eleventh on our list of individual suppliers, and there are a bucket load of suppliers who supply as much crude as do they, or just a touch less.

Still, we believe the doomsayers, pull up to the pump, mumble and grumble a bit, fill the tank.

And drive away.

Every time the oil producers, with the complete and total support of the U.S. government (Democrats and Republicans alike) want to make another bunch of billions on the backs of American consumers, they find some excuse to do so.

Unrest in Iraq.

Switch over from summer gas to winter gas. (Really? Does the change in seasons come as a surprise to them every year?)

A pipeline problem here. A pipeline problem there.

Let me tell you something. If the Pioneer newspaper has a problem — if the press breaks down; if the electricity is cut off; if the editor-in-chief is hit by a bus crossing Michigan Avenue — there will be a newspaper on the stands the next day, and at exactly the same price.

On the other hand, if the head of Exxon or BP has heartburn after a wild evening of conspicuous consumption, gas prices skyrocket the next day.

And, another thing. When some ne’er-do-well walks out of Walmart without paying for her PopTarts, the entire force and muscle of the law enforcement community and judicial system is brought to bear and the criminal can expect to do some hard time - at least in the county slammer.

But ... when the heads of oil producing companies conspire and collude to rape and pillage the consumers in this country, the folks in Washington shrug their shoulders and say, “How can we even dream of regulating those prices?”

And the oil barons head for the Caymans.

It is simply bullwash, and we continue to condone it ... ’cause too many of us have no choice.