War For Oil: An American Fixture
Series of Letters in The Bridgeport Post (Feb. 1975)

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | November 25, 2020                    

In the wake of the oil shock of late 1973, when OPEC cut oil exports to the U.S. for its military support for Israel in the Yom Kippur War, this string of letters ran in The Bridgeport Post (Connecticut).

Years later, the United States would produce a President, Donald Trump, who openly and repeatedly advocated a ruthless “take the oil” policy in the Middle East.

January 29, 1975

Quick War Needed To Seize Arab Oil?

To the Editor:

No one would cherish the thought of war in the Middle East, but it may be inevitable. The United States and the rest of the Western world cannot endure much longer the cost of oil which is rising rapidly. The Arab states and the oil producing countries are playing with fire, and they may get burned if they try to bring the Western world to its knees. The United States cannot develop another source of energy fast enough to solve our problem, nor are the oil producers willing to talk price.

What’s the alternative? Take the oil with a quick military strike. The people of America did not back our country in Korea or Vietnam, but there was no threat then to this country or its people. But this time the threat is there and it’s a big one. If America does not take action, there may be total collapse of our country.

William G. Lattanzi

[Lattanzi died in 2003 at age 57.]

February 4, 1975

War No Solution To Oil Problems

To the Editor:

It is highly inhuman and cruel on the part of William G. Lattanzi, to advocate "Quick War to Seize Arab Oil" in his letter as a solution to our energy crisis! Since when has modern warfare succeeded to solve man’s shortages as it destroys everything on its way?

There was a time when the colonial and imperialistic powers were exploiting mercilously the oil fields of the Middle East countries with so-called royalties as compensations which were peanuts in comparison to the actual market value of the oil pumped out.

Let me cite an example: Prior to the nationalization of the oil in Iran, in 1951, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. was paying Iran only 20 per cent of its net profit after payment of the income tax to the British government. This royalty amounted to approximately $100 million a year. Two and one-half years ago, the National Iranian Oil Co. reported a yearly revenue exceeding $2.5 billion dollars and last year this figure soared to $20 billion mainly because of the dollar devaluation.

In this atomic age when the danger of an atomic war hangs over the survival of mankind on this planet, it is short-sighted and foolish not to think of peace. The many horrors of the war in Vietnam must have taught us more than enough to discard the idea of war, and instead to promote the peaceful coexistence as the one and only solution to many of our present problems.

Hassan F. Zandy

[Zandy (1912-2000) was an Iranian-American nuclear physicist and professor at the Department of Physics, University of Bridgeport.]

February 5, 1975

Opposes Fighting For Arabs’ Oil

To the Editor:

I am appalled at William G. Lattanzi’s hint that war would be all right as a means to get oil. Let the government grant permission for construction of more nuclear power plants. People should leave their cars in the garage and take the bus to and from work.

Evidently Mr. Lattanzi wants all the comforts that come from plentiful inexpensive oil. Haven’t we lost enough young men in war? I am a grandmother and I would not want my grandsons to have to die or be maimed in war just so that the United States could have Arab oil.

Catherine MacDougall

February 11, 1975

Deplores Idea of War As Means to Get Oil

To the Editor:

William. G. Lattanzi said, in his letter, that the way to solve our problems with the Arab states and oil producing countries is to take the oil with a quick military strike.

I wonder if Mr. Lattanzi approved of the Nazi war machine ravaging Europe? Did he approve of the Soviet Union extending the Iron Curtain around its smaller neighbors? Did he approve of their method of quieting the Hungarian people when they tried to revolt? And, I wonder if Mr. Lattanzi would approve of a burglar coming to his home and robbing him? I can only assume that his answer would be “no”.

By what right did these things happen? Further, by what right could the American people wage war on the Arab states in order to steal their oil? Would not such an action be the same as that of a common thief? I doubt that the American people would back such an action. They would not back a government that practiced armed robbery instead of searching out a legal and practical solution to its problems.

The United States has fantastic oil reserves under the ground. Time should be belter spent in finding ways to use what we already have, instead of planning ways to steal oil from others. Before we wage war on the Arabs we should consider the possibility of their destroying the oil before we could get it.

Susan Cooper

February 14, 1975

Rejects Warfare To Get Arab Oil

To the Editor:

I think William G. Lattanzi is suffering from an acute superiority complex. His letter to the Editor stated that war in the Middle East may be “inevitable” if the Arab countries refuse to give us oil. If they “try to bring the Western world to its knees” this way, he proposed that we declare war on the Arabs and seize the oil by force.

Who does he think he is? If the starving nations of Asia decided they wanted all our food, and took it with a “quick military strike,” would he think it fair? I doubt it. Likewise, we have no right to demand the Arabs’ oil. It is on their land and they are free to do what they want with it. We can try to bargain with them but we have no business assuming that it is our right to have the oil.

Instead of trying a wild scheme like war, I think we should keep up negotiations and cut down our rampant oil consumption. We have used so much for “progress” in the past and we’re feeling the pinch now.

Monica Voionmaa

[Ms. Voionmaa graduated from high school later that year!]

The Vietnam War | IRAN | What Lessons Did America Learn?
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Related links:

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American woman: U.S. can’t keep out of Iranian affairs (1980 letter)

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