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Over a Barrel 

The role of oil in U.S. policy: A new documentary goes behind the headlines

Wednesday, Aug 31 2005
It's no secret that the United States is starting to freak out about oil. We use more of it than anyone else, and make less of it than we can afford to be using. And yet, we can't seem to curtail our addiction: Between air conditioning our homes, driving our cars, and taking our weekend flights, we've all become complete energy pimps. Our government has no choice but to address this issue. But is that why we invaded the Middle East? Husband-and-wife documentary filmmakers Gerard Ungerman and Audrey Brohy think so, and they attempt to prove it in their new film, The Oil Factor: Behind the War on Terror.

Narrated by Ed Asner, the documentary looks at both of the U.S.'s recent international invasions -- Afghanistan and Iraq -- and posits that they are part of a long-term ploy to take control of the oil resources in the region. In the film, Ungerman and Brohy, who spent three months in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, interview a number of people on the subject, including Noam Chomsky, Ahmed Rashid (author of Taliban), and the Pentagon's Karen Kwiatkowski; the film also offers numerous statistics and world maps that illuminate the steadily increasing number of U.S. military bases positioned in oil-heavy territories.

But the hour-and-a-half documentary comprises a lot more than interview segments. In fact, the middle of the movie all but departs from the subject of oil greed to delve into the devastating effects of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, spotlighting the immense number of casualties that have resulted; it also tracks U.S. involvement in these nations, beginning with our initial support of Taliban forces against the Soviet Union and ending with the current plight -- a situation that has left many civilians impoverished, wounded, and, ironically, without electricity.

About The Author

Karen Macklin


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