Grand Rapids Press First Battle In War

The Grand Rapids Press

First battle in war on Iraq will be at home

Sunday, September 22, 2002

By Ted Roelofs

The Grand Rapids Press

On the surface, oil executive Sid Jansma Jr. might seem like the kind of guy President Bush can count on as he pushes for possible invasion of Iraq.

Jansma is conservative, a big contributor to GOP causes — and steeped in the understanding of petroleum’s role in Mideast politics. He also knows something about Saddam Hussein.

Twelve years ago, Jansma sat at a conference table in Baghdad with other American executives to talk about developing that nation’s vast oil reserves. “It was gorgeous geology,” recalled Jansma, president of Grand Rapids-based Wolverine Gas &Oil. “They do have huge potential.”

Five months later, Iraqi tanks rolled into Kuwait as Saddam gambled the world would look the other way.

But as much as Jansma wants to see Iraq opened up, he warns against hasty action on our part.

“The populations of the Middle East, I believe, are going to look at an invasion as being very heavy-handed.

[click below for the rest of this story, based in part on an interview with Juan Cole, with quotes):

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