How Green is the Span...
Certainly the dullest man to ever rivet a nation's attention, Alan Greenspan has come back into the news after a single line from his recent book caught some people's attention:
"I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."
But I've said it before, and I'll say it again:
The current war in the middle east isn't about terrorism, or even about oil - that's merely profit and bribes for some of the individuals involved. The real kick the Vulcans are on is power, and they are playing a bad game of it, trying a short cut, trying to force a "final victory" without realizing that you cannot play at toy soldiers when your battlefield is metaphorical.
The oil was, believe it or not, an excuse. The oil got support in back rooms, it provided an incentive to a certain element that would work with the government, and it, if you'll excuse me, greased the wheels in the political arena as well: the Carter Doctrine (short version: they stop our oil, we invade) could be called up as part of a legal rebuttal.
The problem wasn't so much the control of the oil reserves as it was the stability of the cost. Hussein has enough to jerk the price around at his whim, but he was still selling oil to the United States in the weeks before the actual invasion.
The oil was only one leg of the table that the current war games are being played on: important, yes, but not sufficient on its own. If it were, Iraq would have been invaded in the 80s.
Another limb was whatever crazy-juice president Bush drank from his daddy's still. For those who don't remember, even into his first year as president, Junior was considered a useless dilettante, and a stupid one at that. Like his policies or not, mock his indecisiveness and chameleonism, Bush Senior was not considered a stupid man. Horribly inappropriate for the job, sure, but not stupid; and his son suffered by comparison.
Consider also: one of these two fought in a war. The other owned the Texas Rangers and is widely regarded as having hidden behind his daddy's dialing hand when the threat of a draft came along.
Nothing gets your macho back like a war, dang it!
A third factor was political expediency: war presidents get re-elected. Afghanistan was handy, sure, but the real prize would be someone who the domestic public hated already. Hell, there were probably still warehouses full of "So-Damn Insane" (geddit? geddit?) t-shirts lying around ready to get dusted off an sold all over again. Blame the army, there: that Kuwait thing didn't last long enough to dump all the merchandise.
But now Dubya was ready to fix his daddy's mistake! And the multitudes were howling for blood of enemies, not the dust of Kandahar.
But the biggest reason behind the war were the greatest drivers for it: the Vulcans.
These folks look at the world the same way you or I (or other, saner folks) look at a Risk board. They want American Empire, and not just of the cultural variety. They want military bases spanning the globe, fully manned and guarding missile silos. They want to stop people doing whatever it is they don't want them to do. Certainly, sometimes this will be for economic reasons: but economic reasons aren't why they want this: they want power, not money.
The goal is a true Pax Americana. The same idea of the Thousand-Year Reich, but other nations can keep their governments. So long as they do what America says.
This odious combination of Manifest Destiny and White Man's Burden has taken root among some conservatives, and that branch took root with Reagan, was pushed aside by Bush the First and Clinton, and came back into power with president George.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates may have revealed more than he thought when refuting the statement:
"I think that it's really about stability in the Gulf. It's about rogue regimes trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. It's about aggressive dictators."
All of which justifies invading, oh, twenty or so countries, and oddly doesn't mention terrorists at all. Funny, that.
Interestingly, Greenspan later clarified his quote, saying he meant the war was about controlling the oil flow, not the oil itself.
Yeehaw! is not a foreign policy.
-Seen on a poster in Iraq and quoted in "Imperial Life in the Emerald City." Apparently, it's becoming a movie...