The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 03/06/14

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. Thanks for being with us. Let me say upfront this is not a story about North Korea and that`s kind of the point. But on October 9th, 2006, around 10:30 a.m. local time, the ground started to shake beneath a small village in the northeast corner of North Korea. Halfway around the world back here in the U.S., seismologists recorded what looked to be a 4.3 magnitude earthquake. But what happened in North Korea that morning was not an earthquake. It was a nuclear explosion. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Kim Jung-Il defies the U.S. and world and claims to have set off an atomic weapon. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That day in 2006, the secretive repressive North Korean regime showed the world that they had built and tested a nuclear bomb. A rogue country building nuclear weapons, threatening to proliferate that technology, stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. But when 9/11 happened and the U.S. announced those actions would constitute a grave and unacceptable threat to the United States, there was no radical change in our actions against North Korea. There is no move to disarm that country after 9/11. Instead the U.S. went into Iraq. If the threat of weapons of mass destructions was the driving force for U.S. action after the 9/11, why Iraq rather than North Korea? At the time North Korea really was building a nuclear bomb and threatening to proliferate that technology. Iraq wasn`t. The case for war in Iraq that was presented today to the American people proved to be a smoke screen. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no reconstituted Iraqi nuclear program. The case that was made publicly for that war turned out to be false. What was true? What was the reason for that war? We know that it wasn`t the reasons they told us. So, why did we really do it? Newly obtained documents from both here and abroad as well as interviews with many of the key players in the war-planning process and in the invasion now provide an answer to that question. The question of "Why We Did It". Watch. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GEORGE W. BUSH, THEN-U.S. PRESIDENT: I will swear to not only uphold the laws of this land. MADDOW (voice-over): Summer of 2000 -- BUSH: Not only to lift the spirit of this country when I put my hand on the Bible. I will also swear to uphold the honor and integrity of the office to which I have been elected, so help me God. CROWD: We love you, Bush! MADDOW: As the presidential race heats up, the turbo-charged U.S. economy of the roaring `90s is threatening to stall. AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Thanks very much. MADDOW: The problem is energy costs, oil costs, a looming new U.S. energy crisis. TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: And in the United States and throughout the world tonight, the rising prices of oil are beginning to be a drag on the boom economic times. The high price of oil and the soaring price at the pump have been at the top of the national conversation for months now. MADDOW: With global energy demand on the rise and U.S. dependence on foreign oil at an all-time high, George W. Bush turns America`s looming energy crisis into a central issue for the presidential campaign. BUSH: We got a potential crisis in the energy markets because we have no energy plan. And it`s, to me, that`s a possible problem for the next administration. MADDOW: When it`s clear that he will be the Republican nominee, and with energy taking center stage in the campaign, Bush taps Dick Cheney, a man with deep experience in both politics and the oil industry, to be his running mate. BUSH: I believe you`re looking at the next vice president of the United States. (CHEERS) MADDOW: The two running mates make the case that the Clinton administration did not know how to handle the issue of oil, but a George W. Bush administration would. BUSH: Those gasoline prices are going up. You know why? There have been no energy plan. DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: The fact we don`t have an energy policy out there is one of the major storm clouds on the horizon for our economy. MADDOW: Rewind a year before that election. Dick Cheney is CEO of the oil services firm Halliburton, speaking at the Institute of Petroleum`s fall conference in London. He says there, "For over 100 years we as an industry have had to deal with the pesky problem, that once you find oil and pump it out of the ground, you`ve got to turn around and find more or go out of business. Looking ahead to 2010 by which time he says world`s energy needs will have increased by millions of barrels of oil per day, Cheney asks where is the oil going to come from? Quote, "The Middle East with 2/3 of the world`s oil and the lowest cost. It`s still where the prize ultimately lies." Arguing that oil is the fundamental building block of the world`s economy, the future vice president says, "Governments and the national oil companies are obviously controlling about 90 percent of the assets." "Companies are anxious for greater access there," he says, "But progress continues to be slow." STEVE COLL, AUTHOR, PRIVATE EMPIRE: They sought oil that was just not accessible because of political circumstances -- oil that if it could be accessible was abundant and easy to market. GREG MUTTITT, AUTHOR, FUEL ON THE FIRE: When Dick Cheney gave that speech in London and he was talking about the industries` interests, later he was talking about the government`s interests. But the conclusion of both of those was the same -- we need to get into the Middle East. MADDOW: In the summer of 2000, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his state-run oil company control about 10 percent of the world`s oil reserves. REPORTER: Experts say Saddam has terrific leverage now because with demand for oil high and U.S. supplies at a 24-year low, the 2 million barrels a day of oil Iraq produces matter. PHIL VERLEGER, OIL INDUSTRY ANALYST: My big fear is that Saddam Hussein is going to take the advantage of this tight market to cut oil production and that could send prices up much higher. BUSH: God bless you all. And God bless America. MADDOW: On the campaign trail, Bush and Cheney zero in on Saddam`s control of vital oil resources as a potential threat to America`s security. BUSH: On the Clinton/Gore watch, Saddam Hussein`s watch has become a major supplier of oil to America. This means that one of our worst enemies is gaining more and more control over our country`s economic future. CHENEY: I think if you were to look for something that could develop, it`s the possibility that we might find ourselves without adequate supplies of energy in the future and there would be no quicker way to shut down our economy than that. MADDOW: As Bush and Cheney take office in January 2001, they inherit a country that is thirsty for oil, and a familiar enemy who`s sitting on a sea of it. COLL: In Iraq, the oil is right there on the waterfront. All you got to do is stick a straw in it, pipe it out to a boat. Boat goes around the Straits of Hormuz and there it is in European markets. ROB MCKEE, COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY: What it has and what it puts on to the world market makes it a very important player. It was an oilman`s mecca or utopia, for sure. (END VIDEOTAPE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: January, 2001. BUSH: I George Walker Bush do solemnly swear -- MADDOW: George W. Bush assumes the presidency with the nation`s energy concerns near the forefront. Eleven days into office, Bush assembles his national security team for the first time. Along with the vice president and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, the principals include Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Treasury Secretary Paul O`Neill. RON SUSKIND, AUTHOR, THE PRICE OF LOYALTY: Paul O`Neill opened up everything for the book I wrote about him in the Bush administration including 19,000 documents, and in the first national security council meeting of the Bush presidency, January 30th of 2001, O`Neill arrives with Colin Powell. MADDOW: According to Suskind, the central focus of the National Security Council`s meeting that day is the Middle East -- Iraq. SUSKIND: Immediately, there`s talk of the Arab/Israeli conflict and Bush says, "Well, you know, no, I don`t think much is going to be done over there." Then, Bush says, "Well, what do you think the big issue in the reason is, Condi?" to Condi Rice. At which point she says, "I think Iraq is the big issue, the destabilizing force and that`s going to be our focus." The reaction of both O`Neill and Powell is startled. O`Neill sort of summed it up, Bush basically saying, "I want to overthrow Saddam, find me a way to do it. Not if, how." MADDOW: Saddam Hussein`s past use of chemical and biological weapons and the prospect of him developing a nuclear weapon make him a prime target, as does the liberation of what Iraq has under the ground. SUSKIND: In the first meeting, Rumsfeld says, "Imagine, imagine if Iraq was essentially a client state of the United States. Imagine how that would look, if they were a friendly state, if we had primacy and access and maybe control of their oil fields." And Rumsfeld is pointed about this in the first meeting, in fact, oil fields -- oil fields that will be essentially our oil fields. MADDOW: As the National Security Council trains its focus on Iraq, that same week, President Bush directs Vice President Cheney to head up a high-level energy task force. Its operations are run out of Vice President Cheney`s office. DANA MILBANK, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: It was a highly secret operation and it was arranged to be that way. They tasked these people to hide away in a room in secret, holding meetings and coming up with a policy. MADDOW: Cheney`s task force meets privately with energy lobbyists as well as executives from some of the nation`s top oil companies. Concerns about big oil`s influence in crafting U.S. energy policy will eventually lead Congress` General Accounting Office to file an unprecedented lawsuit against the White House for access to energy task force records. REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: John Dingell, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and I, requested the GAO to do an investigation because while we were sending letters to the vice president, we weren`t getting responses. MILBANK: They said, no, these are presidential advisers. We don`t have to divulge what they`re doing. Whereas if it had been cabinet agencies, they would have forced to divulge who they were meeting with, what the e-mails were, what the topics were. CHENEY: Did we talk to energy companies? Absolutely. You`d have to be a damn fool to put together a comprehensive nationwide energy policy and not talk to energy companies. BUSH: In order for me to get good, sound opinions, those who offer me opinions or offer the vice president opinions must know that every word they say is not going to be put into the public record. MADDOW: The White House battles to keep secret most task force files. And they will ultimately prevail in the courts in that fight. But administration opponents are eventually able to pry loose a number of secret task force files. Although it`s not known to the public at the time, the Cheney energy task force reviews this document detailing potential foreign suitors for Iraqi oil field contracts. It`s essentially a list of international oil companies that are lining up to get into Iraq. The task force also obtains detailed maps of Middle Eastern oil fields. The map of Iraq pinpoints the exact locations of the country`s pipelines, refineries and super giant oil fields. SUSKIND: We had oil fields we could divide up. Foreign suitors along with American suitors meaning major oil firms and oil contractors like Halliburton could line up for parceling of those oil fields. MADDOW: None of these documents is included in the final energy task force report that`s made available to the public and to Congress. WAXMAN: There was nothing that congress was told about. And nothing that the energy task force publicly revealed. MADDOW: The "New Yorker`s" Jane Mayer eventually discovers another document that hadn`t been publicly revealed. According to Mayer, the classified document dated February 3rd, 2001, directs members of President Bush`s National Security Council to cooperate with the Cheney energy task force, combining two seemingly unrelated fields -- the review of operational policies toward rogue states and actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields. In the first month of the Bush presidency, strategy for the potential use of military force toward rogue states and gaining access to new oil fields are melted together. COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON, CHIEF OF STAFF TO COLIN POWELL (2002-2005): If you look at the nexus of rogue states and seizing and capturing and controlling oil assets, there aren`t too many states in the world that fit that definition. Iraq stands at the top of the list. I mean, that`s like saying, "OK, do a little planning on Iraq." MADDOW: This January 2001 report also reviewed by the task force warns that with global oil demand skyrocketing, oil-rich Iraq may not be able to build the infrastructure necessary to meet the upward curve in energy demand. The report says the decades-old sanctions against Iraq with keeping much of that country`s oil from getting to western markets. COLL: The demand for world oil was so intense that you really need to unlock all of the supply you could find, and at that time, the sense was that both Iraq and Iran were the two sources of really bottled up supply that was irrationally off world markets. MADDOW: Another report reviewed by the task force a few months later promises Iraqi reserves represent a major asset that can quickly add capacity to world oil markets. The report urges the U.S. government to conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq, including military assessments -- all of this months before 9/11. MEGHAN O`SULLIVAN, FORMER DEPUTY NATL. SECURITY ADVISOR FOR IRAQ: I certainly wouldn`t argue that Iraq and the decision to go to war and oil were unrelated. (END VIDEOTAPE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JIMMY CARTER, THEN-U.S. PRESIDENT: Let opposition be absolutely clear, an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interest of the United States of America. (APPLAUSE) And such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary including military force. MADDOW: January 1980. A generation before 9/11, President Jimmy Carter announces to the world that the United States is prepared to use military force in the Persian Gulf in order to keep open the free flow of Middle Eastern oil to the world market. O`SULLIVAN: Our philosophy has been since World War II and up until today is we are most secure when the global market works. It doesn`t necessarily carry a nefarious connotation in the sense of America`s thirst for physically controlling Middle Eastern oil. WILKERSON: You don`t care who gets it as long as who gets it makes it available to the world at a reasonable price. MADDOW: Ten years after President Carter says U.S. military force will, if necessary, keep oil flowing to market, Saddam Hussein invades the oil-rich nation of Kuwait, and the First Gulf War is launched. President George H.W. Bush`s defense secretary at the time is Dick Cheney. CHENEY: Iraq controlled 10 percent of the world`s reserves prior to the invasion of Kuwait. Once Saddam Hussein took Kuwait, he doubled that to approximately 20 percent of the world`s known oil reserves and that gave him a stranglehold on our economy and that of most of the other nations of the world as well. MADDOW: Despite that stated motive of protecting the free flow of oil, the president`s public case for war centers on Saddam Hussein and his oppressive regime. GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: We`re dealing with Hitler revisited. A totalitarianism and brutality that is naked and unprecedented in modern times. And that must not stand. WILKERSON: My boss, Colin Powell, was chairman of the joint chiefs at the time and had problems with H.W., President Bush going out and talking about Hitler and things like that because he knew it was such a camouflage. This is a mask to get the American people`s support. The first Gulf War was all about oil. MADDOW: The horror of 9/11, 10 years after the Gulf War, impels the first President Bush`s son to go to war. He first launches a retaliatory war in Afghanistan. But then quickly puts three other nations on notice -- North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. BUSH: States like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. MADDOW: All three nations have been on America`s national security radar for decades. But now after 9/11, the Bush administration makes the case for action to disarm them. It is not just the threat of rogue states using weapons of mass destruction, themselves, the president argues, but the prospect of a rogue state providing biological or nuclear weapons technology to terrorist groups. Neither Iran nor Iraq is known to have nuclear capability, but North Korea is steaming full speed ahead to a nuclear bomb. WILKERSON: We argued about this in the state department. Why wasn`t there more concern with North Korea when the CIA was telling us that North Korea probably already had plutonium-based nuclear material and the answer was 100,000 casualties minimum and a real mess. No one wanted to do Korea and, of course, the footnote was, always: Korea doesn`t have any oil. MADDOW: The public case is about weapons, 9/11 changed everything. The threat of weapons of mass destruction now drives American policy. But policy toward the nation posing the most clear and present danger on WMD, North Korea, doesn`t change dramatically. Instead, inside the administration, it is the existing pre-9/11 planning about Iraq and Iraq`s oil that goes operational. It`s one month after 9/11. The State Department forms something called the Future of Iraq Project, a comprehensive plan about what a new Iraqi society will look like after Saddam is gone. State Department officials assemble a group, including Iraqi exiles, to plan for everything from health, to education, to oil and energy. Leading the oil team is a highly regarded former CIA energy analyst named Robert Ebel. ROBERT E. EBEL, FORMER CIA ENERGY ANALYST: We`re going to bring together all these senior ex-Iraqi oil officials and have them prepare a report on the future of oil in Iraq. MADDOW: Members of the group meet in London at a Washington, D.C., area hotel. They assert without a radical restructuring of its oil industry, Iraq`s oil potential will remain unrealized. In this draft report revealed here publicly for the first time, the State Department group calls for international oil companies to be allowed back into Iraq, and for the rapid expansion of Iraqi oil production, quote, "in the quickest possible time." EBEL: These findings were how this bunch of ex-Iraqi oil officials envisioned how they would come in and tell the government what it needed to do. MADDOW: Publicly, the administration presses its case to the American people that Iraq must be confronted before Saddam Hussein`s true intentions are revealed in a nuclear mushroom cloud. DONALD RUMSFELD, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: The last thing we should want is a smoking gun. A gun doesn`t smoke until it`s been fired. MADDOW: Privately, though, internal deliberations are also about exploiting Iraq`s oil. The Pentagon is debating, quote, "whether to use control of Iraqi oil to advance important U.S. foreign policy objectives affected by energy issues." While the national debate is over aluminum tubes and mobile biological weapons labs, internal planning documents note that increased oil production in a post-war Iraq would have the eventual effect of reducing world oil prices. WAXMAN: Prior to our even going to war in Iraq, the focus was on oil and Iraqi oil and how to take it over far more than anything else. MADDOW: In public, Bush administration officials continue to maintain that oil is not a factor in their war deliberations. In this Infinity CBS Radio interview broadcast on C-Span, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is pressed on that issue. INTERVIEWER: Mr. Secretary, what do you say to people who think this is about oil? RUMSFELD: Nonsense. It just isn`t. There are certain things like that, myths that are floating around, I`m glad you asked. It has nothing to do with oil -- literally nothing to do with oil. MADDOW: Behind the scenes, though, planning for Iraq`s oil goes into overdrive. Rumsfeld`s Defense Department has just recruited retired ExxonMobil executive Gary Vogler to plan for the administration of Iraq`s oil sector soon after the impending invasion. GARY VOGLER, DEFENSE DEPARTMENT ADVISER (2002): Our mission was to repair, restore Iraq`s oil sector to the pre-war level before we went in. And we got word in probably November that we needed to be ready by middle of February. We took that to mean we need to be ready to go to war by the middle of February. MADDOW: According to Vogler, he and a Pentagon team travel to Houston, Texas, to the epicenter of big oil, to discuss their post-invasion plans for Iraq`s oil sector. The Defense Department team does not convene at a U.S. military base or even at even at a government building. They meet, instead, at this Houston location. The offices of KBR, a subsidiary of the oil company Halliburton. Part of the Defense Department`s prewar planning for Iraq`s oil takes place in a Halliburton subsidiary office in Texas -- a detail not known to the public before now. COLL: The Bush administration had lots of contacts in Houston, in the sophisticated executive suites of the major U.S. headquartered oil companies and they reached out there. MADDOW: The Pentagon team that traveled to Houston calls for rapidly increasing Iraqi oil production soon after the invasion. They set an initial goal of bringing production up to 3.1 million barrels a day, 50 percent more than Iraq was producing at the time. The long-term goal is to increase Iraq`s oil production to more than 5 million barrels per day. More than Iraq has ever produced. While administration officials insist that increasing production is aimed at financing the reconstruction, and that oil proceeds will benefit the Iraqi people, their war plans also note that the policy will put long- term downward pressure on oil prices. Help consumers. And diversify/increase global oil supply. As all of this detailed planning is going on in private, the Bush administration`s public argument for war is about everything but oil. CHENEY: His regime aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda. COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The weapons he is developing could well fall into the hands of terrorists who might be able to use them. BUSH: The lives of Iraqi citizens would improve dramatically if Saddam Hussein were no longer in power. MADDOW: None of the behind-the-scenes planning for Iraq`s oil is publicly known, and the administration leaves oil out of the public conversation altogether. But a large segment of the American public suspects that oil is a motive. No blood for oil becomes an anti-war battle cry. PROTESTERS: No blood for oil! WILKERSON: People misunderstand this business of oil. It isn`t about possessing it. It isn`t about ExxonMobil and Chevron and Total and Elf owning the oil. It`s about the oil flowing freely at a reasonable price. So, this is what we say when we mean protecting oil. We mean protecting the access, protecting the price, protecting the stability and so forth. Not owning it. COLL: It wasn`t a war for oil, but it was in a meaningful way a war about oil. And about the role that oil plays in our world and in our world economy. EBEL: The idea was to go into Iraq, to remove Saddam Hussein and his government. Once that job was done, then it`s about oil, period. (END VIDEOTAPE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (NEWSBREAK) (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get back! Get back! MADDOW: Winter 2002/2003 -- as the White House drumbeat for war in Iraq grows stronger, millions of people across the world are marching against it. PROTESTERS: No more war! No more war! MUTTITT: In my country, in Britain, we had more than 1 million people demonstrating on the streets of London against this war. The opposition to British participation in the war was absolutely immense. MADDOW: British Prime Minister Tony Blair`s government like its U.S. counterpart denies vigorously that overthrowing Saddam Hussein is about oil. TONY BLAIR, THEN-BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Let me first of all deal with the conspiracy theory idea that this is somehow to do with oil. There is no way, whatever, if oil were the issue, that it would not be infinitely similar to cut a deal with Saddam who I`m sure will be delighted to give us access to as much oil as he wanted if he could carry on building weapons of mass destruction. MUTTITT: In Britain, two major oil companies, BP and Shell. They were asked, have you asked the British government for in relation to the Iraq war? The oil companies and Blair government said we haven`t talked about it, absolutely no meetings on this subject. So I managed to get documents which recorded five meetings that took place between BP and Shell and the British government between October 2002 and March 2003. Five meetings. One of the meetings was between BP and the British foreign office and the opening sentence was "Iraq is the" underlined "big oil prospect." BP is desperate to get in there. So, you have BP, you have the Blair government both saying in public, oh, no, we don`t talk about this, we`re not thinking about the oil. In private, as these documents reveal, they were talking fundamentally about it. MADDOW: Back in the U.S., the Bush administration is also denying a "Wall Street Journal" report that administration officials held meetings about the war with oil industry executives. But British documents now reveal that in the fall of 2002, ahead of the invasion, BP`s Middle East director held a week of meetings with officials from both the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon, including with Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld`s second in command. At the Pentagon with just two months until the invasion, attention turns to who will run Iraq in the immediate days and weeks after the fall of Saddam. Retired Army Lieutenant General Jay Garner, a man with deep experience in the region, gets the call from Donald Rumsfeld. LT. GEN. JAY GARNER, U.S. ARMY (RET): He said, we need right now is somebody to come in, put a staff together, operationalize the plans we put together. You know, you think if you`re going to put that together you`d have office space and desk and computers and telephones and all that. I didn`t even have a chair. MADDOW: That lack of planning when it comes to basic post-Saddam governance stands in stark contrast to the level of planning that`s already well under way for Iraq`s oil sector. VOGLER: There was a very strong sense of urgency. It was 12, 15- hour days from what I remember. They knew where every pipeline, where every refinery, gas plant, oil field, gas oil separation plant was. People said we didn`t plan very well for Iraq. I would take exception to that when it came to the oil sector. WAXMAN: We are spending more time thinking about how to deal with the oil fields in Iraq than we were about our own troops when we went to war in Iraq. BUSH: All Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning. In any conflict, your fate will depend on your actions. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. MADDOW: As the invasion of Iraq gets under way, months` worth of detailed planning aimed at securing Iraq`s oil resources gets put into action. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade who are guarding key facilities in the oil fields right now. Because we know we want to get the oil flowing as soon as possible. GARNER: I remember several times the statement that we want to make sure that we don`t give an optic that makes the American people we`re going in there for oil -- we`re not doing that. I mean, that was -- I knew that from day one. MADDOW: Despite that stated goal, as the U.S. military arrives in Baghdad, with heavy looting under way, Marines protect Iraq`s oil ministry, to the exclusion of other critical Iraqi government buildings and institutions. WILKERSON: We let the museums go. We let the art and culture go. We let the telephones go elsewhere. We let the administrative office go, ministry of the interior, ministry of justice. We let all those things go and we protected the oil ministry. MADDOW: The perception that the U.S. has launched a war for oil is further stoked when the U.S. Army`s 101st Airborne Division crosses the border into Iraq and establishes two refueling stations in the Iraqi desert. The Army names the two desert outposts after Exxon and Shell, unbeknownst to the companies, themselves. COLL: Presumably some colonel in the planning cell thought that this would be an easy designation for American soldiers flying helicopters through dust storms to bear in mind, find on a map, but it did kind of undermine the PR campaign. MADDOW: As coalition forces roll into Baghdad and topple Saddam, the general selected by the Pentagon to stabilize the situation and quickly turn over power to the Iraqis finds that his mission has changed. GARNER: I did not want to slip from liberation into occupation. I thought it was the worst thing to do. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My understanding from Rumsfeld, from the White House, from everywhere, we were going to go in there and we were going to set up an interim government as rapid as we could, but when Ambassador Bremer came over, that direction change. MADDOW: Instead of quickly handing off power to a new Iraqi government and getting out, the Bush administration selects former Ambassador L. Paul Bremer to take over in Iraq and remake Iraq`s entire economy, starting with the oil sector. PAUL BREMER, FORMER AMBASSADOR: We`re not here to be a colonial power. We`re here to help turn over as quickly as we can efficiently do it to the Iraqi people their country. We had virtually no elbow room for major changes to anything unless we could get the oil going, and that was our priority. (END VIDEOTAPE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: May 2003, two months into the invasion of Iraq. George W. Bush selects former U.S. Ambassador L. Paul Bremer to be the top civilian in charge in Iraq. BUSH: Ambassador goes with the full blessings of this administration and the full confidence of all of us in this administration that he can get the job done. MADDOW: At the top of the list for Bremer is oil. BREMER: I had been told we had to get the oil going because it was an oil-dominated economy. This was fairly straightforward. Unless you can get the oil going, you can`t get the economy going. MADDOW: What Bremer and his team find when they get into Iraq is an oil infrastructure decimated by decades of war, sanctions, and corruption. ROB MCKEE, COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY: I was shocked when I got there about how undercapitalized it had been, how neglected it was. BREMER: The oil fields were being held together by baling wire and duct tape, in some cases literally duct tape. MADDOW: The day after Bremer arrives in Baghdad, the Bush administration draws up secret policy guidelines, which are later declassified, stating that the coalition will move to privatize state-owned enterprises in Iraq, including the oil industry. BREMER: Oil was the lifeblood of the Iraqi economy. You got to get the oil going if you`re going to get the economy going. It was not something we were going for selfish American reasons or because we wanted more oil on the world market or all of these fantasies that people dream up. We were doing it because we were the Iraqi government. MADDOW: The task of remaking Iraq`s oil sector falls to retired Shell Oil CEO Phil Carroll. Carroll is appointed by the Bush administration to be the senior adviser to Iraq`s oil ministry. BREMER: His role was, as was the case with all of these advisers, to essentially get alongside the Iraqis at the ministry of oil, make an assessment of the physical plant, the oil fields, the production facilities and of the people. MADDOW: When Carroll arrives in Baghdad, he comes up against radical U.S. plans being discussed to commandeer and transform Iraq`s entire oil industry. COLL: He was surrounded by politicized young Republican volunteers who had no experience in the oil industry, who were planning stock market privatization schemes, running around talking about building pipelines from Baghdad to Israel, things that were really highly unrealistic and provocative. Phil Carroll very much acted as the brakes against the privatization crowd. MADDOW: In this 2005 BBC report re-aired on the program "Democracy Now", Phil Carroll describes what he encountered when he arrived in Iraq. CARROLL: There were models everywhere from total privatization to partial privatization, et cetera, et cetera. There were all sorts of ideas floated about the economy of Iraq and what ought to be done. I was very clear that there was to be no privatization of Iraqi oil resources or facilities while I was involved. End of statement. VOGLER: The first meeting that he and I had in Baghdad we sat down together and he said, "Gary, if I hear any hint of an oil grab out of here, I`m leaving." And I looked him in the eye and said, Phil, if there is, I`ll be with you. MADDOW: The oil industry veterans ultimately prevail, as Paul Bremer decides to keep in place temporarily Saddam`s decades old ban on foreign companies owning Iraqi oil assets. But with the occupation not going well, with Iraq unraveling, the foreign governments that led the invasion start to jockey for position to try to take advantage of what Iraq has under the ground. Less than two months after the invasion, as the insurgency boils, the British government is internally discussing getting Iraq`s oil fields up and running as its first main target. They`re debating how to position Britain in Iraq to maximize their own long-term energy security. And Britain is not the only one. BUSH: In the battles of Afghanistan and Iraq, Polish forces served with skill and honor. America will not forget that Poland rose to the moment. MADDOW: Along with Britain, Poland, a member of the Bush administration`s Coalition of the Willing positions itself to take advantage of Iraqi oil. In July 2003, a consortium of Polish companies signs a contract with Halliburton subsidiary KBR to join in Iraq`s reconstruction. At the signing, Poland`s foreign minister declares that their government has never, quote, "concealed our desire to provide Polish firms with direct access to sources of crude oil." Access to Iraq`s oil, Poland`s foreign minister says, quote, "is our final goal." (END VIDEOTAPE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: It will take just one month to get Iraqi crude oil flowing again after the invasion. TOM ASPELL, NBC NEWS: Black gold under the ground, reserves of 10 billion barrels. There`s so much of it here, it comes out of the ground, catches fire and just burns away. MADDOW: But the decade of violent insurgency and all-out chaos that follows ultimately prevents Iraq and its oil sector from reaching the potential that U.S. policy planners had in mind. REPORTER: An explosion at an oil pipeline. Iraqi oil ministry officials call it sabotage. The U.S. military is investigating. No injuries, but a blow to Iraq`s already crippled oil industry. MADDOW: If Iraq was expected to relieve the world`s energy problems in 2003, the years of instability that follow the invasion prove the opposite. COLL: They took essentially 10 years to rehabilitate Iraq`s oil field to start to produce at a level that would support the Iraqi government. It`s not anything like the windfall or the bonanza that some people had fantasized about. MUTTITT: In terms of containing the oil price, of course, the U.S. failed and failed spectacularly. They destabilize the region through military intervention, and destabilization in the Middle East inevitably leads to higher oil prices. MADDOW: Despite that instability, Iraq`s vast oil fields, which were one state-owned and controlled by Saddam Hussein are now largely open to Western oil companies, and completely free from the sanctions that held back their full potential. Iraq`s easy oil is finally getting to market. Iraq in 2012 produced more oil per day than it had at any point in the previous three decades. It`s now on track to become the world`s second largest oil exporter behind only Saudi Arabia. COLL: This idea that Iraq mattered because it had oil was important, if not central to the decision to invade the country. ALAN GREENSPAN, FORMER FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Anyone who controls the Straits of Hormuz can shut down the industrialized structure of the West. And I (INAUDIBLE) about, my view, taking out Saddam Hussein was a very important thing. So, I -- my view of the war was yes, it was about oil. MADDOW: In the decade since the invasion, declassified documents have revealed private deliberations about Iraq`s oil in the U.S. and in the U.K. that were unknown to the public at the time. Deliberations that were never part of the public case for war. With the revelation that Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction, with the collapse of the public case for war, those involved in the war effort have also now begun to reflect on what transpired in private, behind that public case. What was the reason for the invasion? What was the reason for that near decade of war? Why did we do it? WILKERSON: If you know the region, as well as I do now, particularly after spending many years in the military doing war planning for the region, it`d be unreasonable (ph) for me to say it wasn`t about oil. Of course it was about oil. WAXMAN: The Iraq war was presented to us to stop Saddam Hussein from getting weapons of mass destruction. We know now that to a great extent the war in Iraq was about oil. BREMER: I know there are people who make the argument, as they did in the first gulf war that this war of liberation was actually a war about oil. I frankly know of no evidence that shows that. O`SULLIVAN: I certainly wouldn`t argue that Iraq and the decision to go to war and oil were unrelated. I mean, Iraq -- 95 percent of Iraq`s revenues come from oil. It is a big global producer and at least today exporter. You can`t divorce these things. These are realities. VOGLER: We, in my mind, we did not go into Iraq for oil. The folks that I worked with, we all felt like we were going into Iraq because of WMD. Now, were there other folks that had other reasons? I`m not aware of it. There may have been. EBEL: We didn`t go into Iraq to get access to the sand. We went into Iraq to get the access to oil, period. CARTER: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region -- MADDOW: A U.S. foreign policy doctrine that was first articulated during an energy crisis in the 1970s, put into action during the Gulf War in the 1990s -- G.H.W. BUSH: And that must not stand. MADDOW: -- and then brought to its full potential in 2003 -- G.W. BUSH: Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. MADDOW: That foreign policy doctrine is not a thing of the past. Even as America has upped our own oil production, the commitment to defend the international free flow of oil by force remains. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region. We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world. WILKERSON: The U.S. interest in the Persian Gulf region are always first and foremost about oil. Oil and war mix. And they`re mixing today and they`re going to mix a lot more. (END VIDEOTAPE) THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END