03/03/2008 08:24 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

William F. Buckley Jr., An Appreciation, An Interlude on Oil

Bill Buckley was a great man, a giant among mere mortals. No need here to detail his many feats and accomplishments. Tributes to him abound in journals throughout the land.

For me, in commemoration, a few words of homage and thanks are in order. Just under three years ago my book, Over a Barrel, was published. It was the result of a lonesome quest to confront and expose the machinations of the oil market and the malign manipulations of the OPEC cartel. To alert whomever would listen to the nascent security, economic and environmental danger we were facing, and would continue to face with ever growing intensity.

It was a fool's mission, most especially so in that those the book held to account had everything on their side: endless money, access, government and media. After waiting too long for others to express outrage over what was happening in energy markets and with growing frustration at the ringing silence, I had decided to proceed on my own. Of course once the book was published its premise was so at variance with accepted wisdom and the vested interests of too many and the powerful that few took notice. But there was one exception -- William F. Buckley, Jr.

Shortly after its publication WFB,Jr. wrote a column for National Review online (NRO) - "Looking Ahead-Oil; What could happen if we continue to go as we are going" (8/12/05), commenting about the book. The book, in his words, was "... memorable in the special sense that a nightmare can be memorable... about what could happen if we continue as we are going". That was nearly three years ago, oil was at the $60/bbl threshold and much of the nightmare predicted was about to come about or is at the very cusp of coming to fruition.

No, Bill Buckley's column did not make the book a 'best seller' by any stretch of the imagination. But it did highlight the character of the man. Righteous and brave, unafraid to tread where too many others are wary.

Given the book's focus on the manipulation of the price of oil and in parts on its largest producer, let me reiterate WFB's admonition found in the last paragraph of his column, making it clear that he understood where our dependence on oil and our growing subservience to its suppliers was taking us. That he understood the big picture so much more clearly than others purportedly more expert on this issue than he. I quote:

"It was 20 years ago that the U.S. and the Saudi's arrived at a deal. The Saudis would set prices so as to protect the U.S. oil industry. And the U.S. would protect the Saudi's independence. We regret that and should make the Saudis regret it also."