So Why Are We Allowing ISIS to Export Oil?

I just fought down my natural revulsion to anything that comes from the major networks to watch "Sixty Minutes." Teased into it by the promise that former SecDef, Leon Panetta, was going to blow the whistle on his former boss, Obama, I allowed myself to be sucked in. Panetta did say that it was a mistake to remove all American troops from Iraq, but to characterize that as a denouncement of Obama’s foreign policy was a bit lame. What became more readily apparent was that Leon was speaking up and speaking out for that oldest and most venal of reasons, to sell his new book.

From the entire interview what came across to me as completely unbelievable – no, unacceptable -- was the revelation that ISIS is a self-funding movement due to its control of producing oil fields in Northern Iraq. King Abdullah of Jordan estimated the ISIS revenues from energy production were approximately $6,000,000 per day, a helluva lot of income for a ragtag terrorist organization. He then went on to say that they are, in fact, bootlegging their product at well below the market price, as low as $30.00 per barrel at a time when legitimate product is moving through major markets at triple that figure.

When I heard that my immediate response was to look at my spouse in astonishment and yell, “What the hell? Why are we allowing them to do that?” That question should be one that every tuned-in citizen asks of his elected representatives in Washington. To gather production from an oilfield into a central, marketable product requires a well-engineered network of collection processes that are quite visible to aerial observation and equally vulnerable to aerial attack and destruction. If all that black gold is moving through underground pipelines, there still must be major gathering points and transshipment terminals.

So why are these key targets not being bombed into oblivion by our military, thus cutting off ISIS’ cash flow? An age-old tenet of war is to strangle your enemy’s economy. Why then are we allowing these murderous thugs to extract, transport and sell on the international market a product that feeds their murderous atrocities? I’ve spent a large portion of my life around west Texas oilfields and you can believe me when I tell you that while all the geological exploration takes place mostly underground, the actual drilling and the subsequent collection processes take place right out there in the open, totally vulnerable to attack from the air. Even underground pipelines have periodic, above surface pumping stations just sitting there waiting for a smart bomb. 

So, Barack, why are you sitting on your butt and allowing ISIS to fill its coffers by exporting oil?