Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

Blood Oil

"Because Nigerian oil is so vital to the American economy, President Bush's State Department declared in 2002 that—along with all other African oil imports—it was to be considered a "strategic national interest." That essentially meant that the president could send in the U.S. military to protect our access to it. After the first MEND attack, events in the Niger delta unfolded almost as if they had been scripted by alarmist Pentagon planners. In mid-February, MEND struck again, seizing a barge operated by the American oil-services company Willbros and grabbing nine more hostages.