Gary Vogler questions agenda behind Iraq War during President’s Lecture Series
SHEPHERDSTOWN — “I spent roughly 75 months in Iraq that added up to roughly 20 goodbyes, so my wife deserves a lot of credit,” said 1973 West Point Military Academy graduate Gary Vogler, during the President’s Lecture Series on Oct. 23 at the Robert C. Byrd Center.
Promoting his book released in 2017, “Iraq and the Politics of Oil: An Insider’s Perspective,” Vogler described his time in Iraq in the 2000s, as a civilian senior oil consultant from the Pentagon.
“I started writing the book in 2014. I wanted to write it to appeal to people in the military and oil industry. I think I accomplished that, because of the seven reviews I’ve gotten so far in the press,” Vogler said, before quoting reviews from the InterAgency Journal and Petroleum Economist, proving he succeeded in marketing the book to the two groups.
According to Vogler, he started writing the book with a positive view of his time leading the efforts to restore Iraq’s oil industry after the second Gulf War, and did not plan on writing a contentious book.
“I had no interest in writing a book that would be controversial. For 12 years, I was convinced there was no agenda behind the Iraq War. But when I started doing research for this book, I realized I was dead wrong,” Vogler said.
On April 1, 2014, Vogler defended the Iraq War on the Rachel Maddow Show, stating the war had no agenda. According to Vogler, he had been convinced in his years working in Iraq the war had no agenda, because he could see no Americans profiting from any oil agreements with the Iraqi Minister of Oil. But as the year progressed and Vogler continued researching the war for his book, he was faced with facts, forcing him to change his mind.
“We were looking for an oil agenda between the U.S. administration and an oil company,” Vogler said, mentioning he and a colleague had agreed they would resign from their positions if they discovered an agenda behind their work, during their time in Iraq. “We both detested the thought that U.S. soldiers would go out onto the battlefield and die, all to fatten the pockets of some U.S. oil executive. But in our time in Iraq, we didn’t see an agenda with a U.S. oil company.
“Up until 2014, my focus was on execution of plans and helping the Iraqis. When we went in, our mission was to get their oil production above two million barrels a day, and we did that. The United States government spent $2 million to get the Iraqi government to spend $2 billion to get a revenue of $2 trillion in the future,” Vogler said. “I refused to entertain the face that we were sent there for oil.”
Although Vogler now can see, looking back, indications of undercover dealings at the Pentagon in 2003, he didn’t realize until he wrote the book that members of the U.S. government made deals with Iraq to send oil to Israel, when Israel was paying high oil premiums at the time.
“This war cost us $2.4 trillion, just to help Scooter Libby make a couple million dollars. Libby moved his oil through a secret pipeline through Israel,” Vogler said. “I don’t know how many people were complicit. I don’t think it was an official plan, you wouldn’t find documents about it. I’m as pro-Israel as any American, but I don’t think 4,486 U.S. soldiers should die, just to get Israel cheap gasoline.”