BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Retired Houston oil executive Philip Carroll, the Pentagon's handpicked adviser overseeing the reconstruction of Iraq's oil industry, acknowledged Thursday that he faces potential conflicts of interest because of his financial holdings in American companies planning to bid on Iraqi oil contracts.
Carroll had a 32-year career with Shell Oil Co. in Texas, where he retired as its chief executive officer, and another four years as the head of Fluor.
"You have to realize that oil occupies a very important and unique place in the minds of the Iraqi people," the Texas oilman said. "It constitutes the overwhelming, dominant economic force in the country. It provides the wherewithal of building a better life for the Iraqis.
"There are also feelings throughout the population that oil represents, in essence, the national heritage of Iraq."
Securities and Exchange Commission documents show Carroll continues to be paid more than $1 million a year by Fluor Corp. in retirement benefits and bonuses. He also owns about 1 million shares of the company's stock, documents show.
Fluor has said it plans to bid on an Army Corps of Engineers contract to rebuild Iraq's oil industry to prewar levels.
Last fall, Carroll said, he began working for the Pentagon, developing contingency plans for Iraq's oil sector in the event of war. He assumed his work was completed, he said, until Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called him shortly after the U.S.-led invasion began and offered him the oil adviser's job.
"My response was, `Well, this is not high on my hit parade list right now,' " Carroll said. "But under the circumstances, you just can't say no."
We're the ones who should be saying no to government by, for and of CEOs, especially the Texas variety.
The "national heritage of Iraq" is, oddly enough, one of the foundations of Western civilization, a point that is beyond the comprehension of your average Houston oil executive. And everything we've seen so far about this administration's grasp of foreign policy and homeland security is well below average, so it follows that a clueless joker like Carroll would equate Iraq's national heritage with the object of his desire — its oil.
Thanks to Junior's administration, soon not only our entire country but all those under its influence will become the carcinogenic, larcenous, murderous shithole that Texas is.