President Bush Asserts Right to Control Iraqi Oil

Friends Committee on National Legislation

WASHINGTON – October 17 – President George Bush this week rejected a Congressional effort to bar the United States military from controlling Iraq’s oil resources.

Before signing a military funding bill earlier this week, the president issued a “signing statement”, barring any expenditure of funds to “To exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.”

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, a 65 year old Quaker lobby, has worked with Congress for three years to pass legislation that bars the United States from building permanent military bases in Iraq or exercising control of Iraq’s oil resources. “We are dismayed that the president would deny the Iraqi people and its government the basic sovereign right to control their own natural resources.  President Bush apparently believes that as commander in chief he is entitled to seize Iraq’s oil fields and control Iraqi oil if he should deem it necessary to protect U.S. national security,” said Jim Fine, a lobbyist for the Friends Committee on National Legislation.  “It’s hard to see any other logic behind his signing statement.  He has, in effect, declared himself –and any future U.S. presidents who fail to repudiate his outlandish claims–emperors of Iraq.”

President Bush has signed the restriction against controlling Iraqi oil into law five times since 2006, but has issued 2 signing statements this year asserting that banning U.S. control over Iraqi oil would violate the constitutional powers of the executive.  He argues that his administration is not legally bound to abide by those provisions.

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