Letter: Oil distorts Iraq policy

Published July 10, 2014 5:04 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The bloody, brutal assault waged by ISIS on the Iraqi government and people has brought back the question of what to do in Iraq. But the question of how to help the poor, war-savaged men and women of Iraq gets diluted by conflicts of interest. Reports of ISIS taking over Iraqi oil fields and possibly disrupting the price of oil have already started to surface. Every report that focuses on oil can take away from the real problem of human suffering. Oil has taken over too many debates, and our nation must end dependence on the substance as quickly as possible.

If ISIS endangers enough oil reserves, the question of how to help Iraq may begin to be framed more in protection of global interests than of protection of lives. When the protection of lives becomes a secondary issue, solutions involving cruel but stable regimes appear too possible.

Regulations of carbon emissions or subsidies to clean energy could help curb future oil usage and thus our interest in oil. I believe a carbon tax would curb oil dependence more than the other options while limiting government intervention, but most approaches to the oil problem would be better than what we have now.

Regardless of the method, relying less on the natural resources of war-torn nations will allow us to focus on what actually matters: how to relieve the suffering of the nation's people.

Richard Buck

Salt Lake City