Suppose that 5 years ago today, 19 March 2003, the Congress had voted to strike a deal with Saddam:
We'll buy all Iraq's oil for $90/bbl, starting immediately - 20 March 2003.
The going price was ~$30/bbl.
This proposal would have represented about a 200% mark-up over then-current market price.
Would Saddam have accepted the offer?
For a 200% mark-up over market, I'm betting, "yes".
We might even have been able to throw in a couple of provisions:
- Give U.N. weapons inspectors full access.
- Devote at least 1/3 of the $$ to improving infrastructure.
- Act bellicose towards Iran.
Iraq's pre-war production was about 2.5Mn bbl/day. Let's be generous and say it was 3Mn bbl/day.
To date we would have paid (20 March 2003 - 19 March 2008):
What has the war cost to date?
[as of about 10 p.m. MDT, Tues, 18 March 2008. Click link for current estimate.]
The $90/bbl deal would have cost about $8Bn dollars less than the war so far.
(... and war costs are accelerating!)
Saddam might have given us a big bear hug in return for our largesse.
AND: we'd have the oil! - paid for with U.S. taxpayer $$.
We could have simply GIVEN IT AWAY to Exxon-Mobil, or any other of W's oil-patch buds.
They'd have had to pay for shipping & handling, but paid $0 for the crude!
What might have been.
6 months ago