US Policies have Led to Instability in Afghanistan - Rohrabacher
And now some excerpts from a US congressional hearing held this week by the House International Relations Committee to discuss the rising oil prices with Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. Part of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Ca) comments are being presented by AAR (courtesy of an Afghan monitoring source):
Rohrabacher: Reclaiming my time, actually, I don't agree with you on that. But I would say that it would be -- I would expectn that if Congress wasn't controlled by the Republicans that you might not be blaming the Republicans at this time in order to sort of deflect the fact that we have an administration that has had policies that have put us in jeopardy and have resulted in hundreds of dollars being sucked out of the pockets of the American people.
From this perspective, from where I can sit, it looks like we have rising oil prices because of, number one, a manipulation of
supply by a conspiracy, by a price-fixing conspiracy, an international oil cartel, and also by, and I'm sorry -- and I'm happy to talk to my old friend and am waiting for your statement on this -- but the incompetency of this administration in terms of the way it's dealt with certain foreign policy issues that have made us vulnerable.
And, first of all -- by the way, in California, when the price of gas -- we really take our driving seriously out in California. And when the price of gas goes up, yes, we are unhappy. But if the price of gas goes up because of market factors, we understand that. But that's not the reason the price of gas has been going up. The price of gas has gone up because we have an oil cartel that's involved with an international price-fixing conspiracy aimed especially at the United States but other oil-consuming countries as well.
What makes this even worse is that two of the biggest players in the cartel are countries in which we have American troops stationed for their protection. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are two countries in which we have American troops stationed there for their protection. Now, I want to know whether this administration -- and I hope Secretary Richardson will tell us this -- has used this leverage and our commitment of blood and treasure to protect these countries -- have we used that as leverage to prevent those two countries from engaging in a conspiracy? And, in fact, Saudi Arabia has maximum leverage on this, but they're involved in a conspiracy to suck money out of the pockets of the American people, their very protectors. I want to know what we've done to use that leverage, the protection we afford Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, to end this price-fixing cartel.
Second of all -- and again, the members of this committee have heard this before -- I know Secretary Richardson and I may have a disagreement on this, because you have been personally involved in this particular area -- I believe that the policies of this administration have led to a continuing instability in Afghanistan, and the instability in Afghanistan, with the Taliban in control there, not only have led to these gross violations of human rights and the terrorism that we know of, but it's also prevented a pipeline from being built over these last eight years through Afghanistan that would have brought Central Asian oil onto the market.
That Central Asian oil would have made it impossible for this cartel to control this huge supply of oil and would have meant that there wouldn't have been this manipulation of the supply of gasoline and oil onto the system that has resulted in this massive increase in price. And I'm very interested to hear what Mr. Richardson has to say about our policies in Afghanistan that has led to the isolation in Central Asian oil. And again, we're talking about the competence of not only those who are handling the policy, but actually the legitimacy and how good that policy is to begin with.
So, Bill, welcome back to Congress. And we miss you on this side, but you're on that side now, so we've got to ask you some tough questions. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
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