At the just-completed U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing titled, “The Geopolitical Potential of the U.S. Energy Boom ,” Admiral Dennis Blair  — former Director of National Intelligence, President and CEO of Institute for Defense Analyses and Commander in Chief of U.S. Pacific Command — admitted what's still considered conspiratorial to some.
Put tersely: the U.S. and allied forces launched the ongoing occupation in Iraq and occupy large swaths of the Middle East to secure the flow of oil to the U.S. and its global allies, explained Blair.
Blair began his analysis lasting just over a minute after a line of questioning (beginning at 1:02:56 in the video below) coming from U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC)  about TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, “energy as an instrument of geopolitical power” and geopolitical tensions in Venezuela.
In response, though never asked about the Middle East specifically, Blair offered up his take on things :
We did not send troops into the Middle East to take possession of oil fields [or] to take over the oil. But we sent them there in large numbers because of the oil-based importance of that region to the world economy and therefore to the U.S. economy and the stability and security of that region was important to us from a national security point of view.
Had we not been so dependent on the Middle East in that sense, we would have treated the troubles there the way we do in other parts of the world where they're going through turmoil, where there's suffering going on, where there may be a combination of interests and opportunities. But this huge investment in military force there was caused by the oil-importance of that region, so I agree completely that energy security for this country — more flexibility in terms of our energy picture — would make a huge difference in terms of the position of the United States in the world.
Though investigative reporters  have covered  the topic closely , many books  have been written about it  and movies have been made about it , it's rare a member of the U.S. national security establishment will say it as bluntly as Blair did in the hearing.
For more on the people who testified at the hearing and at two other related congressional committee hearings this week, check out DeSmogBlog's article following the money trail behind the witnesses .