Krugman: Bush backer banks on Iraq’s failure

A Texas oil company whose CEO is a longtime confidant of President Bush with access to the most closely held US intelligence has entered into an agreement to explore for oil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The agreement shows that Dallas-based Hunt Oil Co. and its chief executive Ray L. Hunt are “effectively betting against the survival of Iraq as a nation,” argues New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

Hunt raised about $100,000 for Bush during the president’s 2000 campaign, and he serves on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which gives him access to some of the most exclusive data collected by US spy agencies.

“What’s interesting about this deal is the fact that Hunt, thanks to his policy position, is presumably as well-informed about the actual state of affairs in Iraq as anyone in the business world can be,” Krugman observers. “By putting his money into a deal with the Kurds, despite Baghdad’s disapproval, he’s essentially betting that the Iraqi government — which hasn’t met a single one of the major benchmarks Bush laid out in January — won’t get it’s act together.”

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