Blood and Oil, by Michael Klare

A review by Thom Hartmann

If you want to understand what’s really behind the current goings-on in the former Soviet state of Georgia, immediately buy Michael Klare’s DVD, produced by the Media Education Foundation, “Blood and Oil.”

America’s romance with oil began in the 1860s, when Colonel Drake drilled the first well in Titusville, Pennsylvania, finding a new and cheap replacement (when refined) to replace whale oil, which was spiking in price as a lamp oil because of the overfishing of whales. Within a few decades it would also be heating homes and powering automobiles and, later, trains and electric power stations.

America had vast reserves of oil, and by the early 20th century we were pumping it at an incredible rate. With virtually no imported oil whatsoever, we built most of today’s modern industrial infrastructure, and it wasn’t until World War II, which burned through fully a third of our petroleum reserves, that an American president began to consider how necessary this fuel was to America’s future and how to secure stocks of it outside the United States as our stocks fell.

That president was Franklin D. Roosevelt, and he cut the original deal with the proverbial devil – the king of Saudi Arabia.

This movie then meticulously documents how every president since Roosevelt has put oil front and center in our foreign policy, how the potential loss of it led directly to the first Gulf War, which led directly to Osama Bin Laden attacking the US (multiple times), and led to today’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Even more eerie, the movie – made months ago – posits that any day now we’d see both China and Russia getting into the international oil acquisition business in a big way, leading to conflict in the region around Georgia. (And did I mention Iran and Darfur?)

I don’t want to give away too much of this brilliant documentary, as there are a number of really jaw-dropping moments. My only criticism of it is that it doesn’t include any mention whatsoever of Jimmy Carter’s valiant efforts to move us off oil and into alternative power, particularly solar, which were then rolled back when Reagan took office.

That shortcoming aside, this is an absolutely necessary – and totally riveting – documentary that every American must see to fully understand the events unfolding around us in today’s world.

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This review originally appeared on Buzzflash

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