GOP congressman: It's about the oil

Republican Rep. Dan Lungren says that U.S. troops are fighting in Iraq "so that we can continue to purchase oil from the region."

Published May 6, 2005 12:17PM (EDT)

From the "Tell Us Again Why We're Fighting in Iraq" Department, here's Republican Rep. Dan Lungren, in a letter he sent to hundreds of people who wrote to complain about his support for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: "I feel quite strongly that as long as we have our military in the Middle East fighting so that we can continue to purchase oil from that region, we have an obligation to find alternatives to foreign oil. It is difficult to justify the death of even one soldier when we are not doing everything in our power to explore options for oil within our country."

A spokeswoman for Lungren, a former attorney general from California who sits on the House Committee on Homeland Security, told the Sacramento News & Review that the congressman read and approved the letter before it went out. She said that Lungren doesn't believe that George W. Bush sent troops to Iraq to secure oil for the United States in the first place, but that that's what U.S. forces are doing now as they battle insurgents trying to "manipulate the oil."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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