At the onset of Iraq War II from talk radio to business news, from Washington to Main Street the national debate shifted away from waging war to how the victor would enjoy the oil. "There's a lot of money to pay for this that doesn't have to be U.S. taxpayer money," said Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, claiming Iraqi oil production would foot the bill. "And, on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years," he predicted.
"Iraq will not require sustained aid," echoed President Bush's Office of Management and Budget.
Two and a half years later, the accuracy of Wolfowitz's "rough recollection" and the OMB's "not required sustained aid" forecasts can now be tallied at the gas pump and will be measured in winter heating bills. A barrel of oil today costs more than twice as much as it did on the eve of the U.S. invasion, while Iraqi oil exports have fallen from 2.5 million barrels per day back then, to 1.6 million bpd now.