[Marxism] It was the oil, stupid!
Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Sun Nov 27 10:35:34 MST 2005
An old saw learned at law school and probably part of the popular
If the law is on your side, pound on the law.
If the facts are on your side, pound on the facts.
If neither is on your side, pound on the table.
The emotional rationale used by both the Republicans and Democrats to
frighten the American people has dissipated in the light of knowledge
that was clear to many from the beginning. There were no WMDs; there
was no terrorist threat; Hussein had no relationship besides casual
contact with Al Qaeda. Everyone knows that the facts were not on the
U.S. governments side.
Without the facts, any justification for even illegal intervention has
likewise dissipated. Even at the beginning everyone agreed that
[international] law was not on the side of the U.S. government. It was
assumed that the horrific facts justified the intervention. Historians
may eventually compare this to the images of Germans spearing Belgian
babies when they attacked France at the beginning of WWI. A more modern
example is the CIA sponsored lie about Iraq troops killing babies in
Kuwait hospitals during the first Gulf War.
So—neither facts nor law. How about pounding the table?
That was done with the facts, which were lies. Something else is
needed. How about raw self-interest? Perhaps we can unite the American
people around that.
Bribery of the American people has always been a subtext as it was for
winning support for the British empire before the American one. It is
seldom openly acknowledged. Perhaps this is a beginning. Tell them the
truth along with the usual nostrums about creating a "harbinger of a
democracy" and have them nodding their heads that invasion and
terrorism is in the words of Voltaire "the best of all possible
BEHIND IRAQ PREWAR DEBATE
Weapons of mass destruction had top billing among other motives.
By David Westphal-- Bee Washington Bureau Chief
Published 2:15 am PST Sunday, November 27, 2005
WASHINGTON - For months leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in
2003, it was Iraq's supposed stockpile of threatening weapons that
President Bush held up as the main rationale for military action.
But it wasn't the only rationale expressed by the White House. In fact,
some experts believe other factors rarely talked about might have been
at play in Bush's war decision, as well.
The issue of why Bush chose war is once again frontand- center, with
war critics suggesting the administration may have exaggerated prewar
claims of an Iraqi weapons of mass destruction arsenal, and Bush
defenders branding the detractors as historical revisionists.
Even as they scrap over the weapons issue, both sides suggest other
factors may have been in the mix.
Former President Jimmy Carter, for example, contends that Bush's
lieutenants came to office hoping for an opportunity to establish an
American foothold in the Middle East, and saw the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks as an opportunity.
Others suggest that Bush was looking for a demonstration project to
show American strength and resolve in the aftermath of the attacks.
Richard Clarke, the former White House national security expert who has
been critical of Bush's war decision, said the rationales for invasion
varied from person to person.
Bush's own reason, Clarke believes, was a visceral response to Sept.
11. "A 'Don't Mess With Texas' thing," he said.
Paul Wolfowitz, the former No. 2 official at the Pentagon, encouraged
the notion that justifications other than weapons of mass destruction
were influential in the war decision. Soon after it became clear that
dangerous weapons would not be found, Wolfowitz told Vanity Fair
magazine that "for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S.
government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could
agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason."
In fact, he said, other factors were important, including terrorism and
Saddam Hussein's human rights abuses. Wolfowitz also noted that, as a
result of Saddam's overthrow, the United States had been able to
achieve a long-sought goal of pulling its troops out of Saudi Arabia.
James Phillips, a security expert at the Heritage Foundation, says
these additional concerns couldn't have been sufficient to warrant war.
"It took the 9/11 attack," he said, "combined with Saddam's refusal to
abide by United Nations sanctions."
At the same time, Phillips acknowledged that, behind the scenes, other
factors weighed in the motivation for attacking Iraq. Here's a look at
four of them:
A military foothold in the heart of the Mideast
Carter argues that, even before the September 2001 terrorist attacks,
key members of Bush's administration wanted to march to Baghdad to
establish an American beachhead.
"They had decided to go to war against Iraq before George Bush was
elected," the former president told reporters on his recent book tour.
Indeed, two months before the 2000 election, a prominent
neoconservative think thank, Project for the New American Century,
issued a report that made the case for a bigger military presence in
the Middle East.
"The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role
in Gulf regional security," the report said. "While the unresolved
conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a
substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of
the regime of Saddam Hussein."
It's unclear to what extent Bush and his advisers saw long-term
prospects for maintaining troops in Iraq. But Jay Garner, the first
U.S. administrator in Iraq, told the National Journal in 2003 that Iraq
would play the same "coaling station" role performed by the Philippines
for the U.S. Navy during most of the 20th century.
"That's what Iraq is for the next few decades," he said, "our coaling
station that gives us great presence in the Middle East."
The idea of having an American military footprint in Iraq has plenty of
tangents. In his book, "Against All Enemies," Clarke said some
administration officials sought it because it would strengthen Israel's
military position; others feared a growing risk to American oil
Whether U.S. officials remain hopeful of a long-term Iraq presence for
American troops isn't clear. Officially, the White House says the
troops will come home when the Iraqi military is strong enough to
Ensuring access to Middle Eastern oil
Of all the theories the White House wanted to discredit as the war
approached, this was the biggest. Bush and his top advisers vehemently
denied that the attack was a grab for the vast oil resources in Iraq.
"That issue is not in play," then- White House spokesman Ari Fleischer
said in 2002.
But with the United States utterly reliant on Middle East oil for its
economic survival, and Iraq holding the second-highest reserves in the
world (Saudi Arabia has the largest), there was plenty of talk about
whether the United States needed to take action to secure its oil
The issue has never completely gone away.
Wolfowitz told Congress shortly after the war's outbreak that Iraq oil
reserves could pay for much of the country's postwar reconstruction -
an assertion that brought quick condemnation from around the world.
Bush, meanwhile, now cites Iraqi oil as a reason for keeping American
troops stationed there, warning that extremists would confiscate oil
resources if U.S. troops left too soon. "They'd seize oil fields to
fund their ambitions," he said.
A demonstration of American resolve
Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says he was stunned to find that
senior White House officials, immediately upon taking office, were
itching for a fight with Iraq, and that one of the most aggressive was
"It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The
president saying 'Go find me a way to do this,'" said O'Neill in his
book, "The Price of Loyalty."
The idea that the United States needed to make a military statement in
the Middle East to counteract a reputation for ducking a military fight
had been brewing for a while in some foreign policy circles.
Clarke and other experts cite a long list of provocations against the
United States that have evoked weak responses by U.S. presidents:
Carter's handling of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979-80, Ronald
Reagan's decision to leave Lebanon after the suicide bombing that
killed more than 200 Marines in 1983, the elder Bush's lack of
retaliation for the Libyan bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 and
Bill Clinton's quick exit from Somalia in 1993.
Iraq, in this scenario, would become an ideal demonstration project of
American resolve and military might.
The debate over this proposition rages on. Bush argues that a hasty
departure by U.S. troops would signal weakness to Islamic terrorist
groups. Others contend that the war itself has weakened the American
cause throughout the Middle East by deepening anti- U.S. sentiment.
Making a region ripe for democracy
How do you encourage democracy in a region where you're dependent on an
unsavory band of dictators to tamp down volatile electorates and ensure
the flow of oil? American presidents have struggled with this dilemma
for decades, with little to show for it.
The Sept. 11 attacks provided an opening, in the minds of some: Remove
arguably the worst dictator in Saddam Hussein and a democratic
revolution may begin to form in the Middle East. Bush made this theme
the centerpiece of his second inaugural address in January.
"The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in
all the world," he said. Manyforeign policy experts are openly
skeptical that democracy can take hold in the Middle East, and in
recent months their ranks have grown to include some conservative
"The lesson from Iraq is clear: The United States' staying power is
waning, and the commitment to setting in place the fundamental building
blocks of democracy is weak," Danielle Pletka, a scholar at the
American Enterprise Institute, said in a recent commentary.
Others say the series of national votes in Iraq is the harbinger of a
democracy that has the best chance in years of changing the Middle East
status quo - albeit slowly.
"Instant democracy does not work in totalitarian states," wrote Middle
East expert Patrick Clawson in the Israeli daily Haaretz. "The Bush
team is encouraged by the small changes in Egypt and the Gulf
monarchies, as well as the unexpected progress in freeing Lebanon."
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