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RUMAILAH OIL FIELDS, IRAQ?The U.S. continued to make progress in its fight against totalitarianism Tuesday, when 137 more oil wells were liberated for democracy.
"For decades, these oil wells have suffered untold misery under Saddam Hussein's tyrannical rule," said U.S. Commander General Tommy Franks, speaking from southern Iraq's Rumailah oil fields, the site of the liberation. "With this victory, these long-oppressed wells will soon pump their first barrels of crude as free and equal wells in the global petroleum marketplace. They will join the ranks of the world's liberated oil wells, enjoying the same rights as their democratic brethren around the globe."
The Rumailah wells are the latest of nearly 900 to be freed from the yoke of oppression by coalition forces. As U.S. troops continue to advance deeper into Iraq?armed with constant standing orders to "Secure the oil wells; repeat, secure the oil wells"?an estimated 1,500 more wells are expected to be liberated in the coming weeks.
For months, U.S. officials have gone to great lengths to assure the public, both in America and abroad, that the Iraq invasion is not motivated by oil interests?a sentiment echoed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during a press conference Monday.
"This war is not about oil," Rumsfeld said. "Our decision to intercede against this dictator and not against the dozens of other ruthless dictators in the world is not about oil. France and Russia's opposition to this war is not about the purely coincidental fact that both countries have lucrative, pre-existing oil contracts with Iraq. Furthermore, the interest of many U.S. corporations in the war has nothing to do with oil, either. This war is about liberty. Oil wells deserve liberty, too."
Continued Rumsfeld: "These oppressed Iraqi oil wells deserve the right to pump oil as freely as any other oil well on God's Earth?be it in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, or an Alaskan wildlife refuge. It is crass and cynical to view this operation as being motivated by greed, profit, or the second-largest oil reserves in the Middle East. This war is motivated by one thing: democracy. Our military action is meant to provide all of Iraq's oil wells?be they big or small, staggeringly lucrative or merely very lucrative?with their God-given right to pump under a democratic system of self-governance."
In the weeks leading up to the war, the U.S. sought to make its intentions clear by air-dropping hundreds of thousands of pamphlets over Iraq assuring its people that the U.S. was not launching a war against them, but against Saddam Hussein. The pamphlets also gave Iraqi soldiers instructions on how to surrender properly, as well as a promise that they would be treated well if they did so. Most importantly, though, they included a stern admonition to all Iraqis not to burn any oil wells, warning that they would be hunted down and prosecuted as war criminals if they did.
U.S. officials hope that the pamphlets' message, especially the part about the oil wells, gets through.
"These valuable natural resources belong to the Iraqi people, who rely on their output for desperately needed food and medicine under the U.N.'s Oil-For-Food Program," Franks said. "But ultimately, we need to remember that these oil wells do not really belong to anybody. They, like any other free oil well, have the basic, inalienable right to independent representational government and self-determination under their own rule. Every oil well deserves to choose how and when it wishes to produce oil, and for whose economic benefit."
Aiding the wells in their transition to democracy will be Texaco, Mobil, and other U.S. businesses, each of which bring years of expertise in dealing with the problems and challenges that oil wells face in a free society. These private companies will be well-equipped to help manage the oil wells as they make the difficult adjustment to producing oil in freedom.
Despite the apparent inevitability of victory in Iraq, White House sources stress that the battle for oil-well liberty is far from over.
"We must remember that there are many, many oil wells living under oppression all across the world, not just in Iraq," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said. "Until every oil well enjoys the fruits of democracy, no oil well is truly free."
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