Once again, there's bad news from Iraq. And it's getting worse.
A group of Sunni militants is taking control of cities across Iraq, Kurdish troops are taking control of Kirkuk, and Iran may be providing military assistance to the Shiites. This isn't a surprise -- the only thing that kept Iraq together this long was the thousands of American troops we deployed there.
Now people are calling for us to step in again to protect Iraq -- to spend more money and risk more of our soldiers lives... for what?
We were there before and didn't get a damn thing out of it. All we did was secure their oil so they could turn around and sell it to China. It's the same thing we've been doing for 40 years. We don't get -- or need -- as much oil from the Middle East as we used to, but we keep our military there anyway to secure oil supplies that go to other countries.
We tell ourselves we need foreign oil because it's still cheaper than the alternatives, but if you believe that you're living in a fantasy world.
The only thing keeping oil prices from going up even faster is our military presence in the Middle East -- and we're paying for that, too. In just the last decade, we've spent more than $4 trillion -- TRILLION -- protecting foreign oil. If people saw that additional cost added into what they pay at the pump, we wouldn't be talking about going back into Iraq, we'd be doing everything we could to get on our own resources.
Every month, there's a story like this about how a crisis somewhere else is affecting the price of oil. We hear the story and react to the crisis, but we still don't do anything to fix the real problem. If we used our domestic natural gas as a transportation fuel for heavy trucks we wouldn't have to depend on OPEC for oil.
I think we're going to keep hearing bad news out of Iraq, but let's not let it take our eye off the ball. Instead of staggering from crisis to uncontrollable crisis, let's get to work strengthening our economy here at home -- something we can and should control.
Let's unleash American ingenuity to help solve America's economic, environmental, and national security issues. We've got the people and we've got the energy to get that done.