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After 9/11, the US needed to kick some Ayrab ass, and Iraq was the easiest ass to kick (already down and mostly unarmed), and the easiest to justify (known evil tyrant, long history of playing with UN).

Plus the oil for some, plus the revenge for some, plus the sense of unfisnished business of some, plus Chalabi's push for some, etc... but fundamentally, it was a bully exacting revenge for his humiliation on the nearest available target.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Apr 26th, 2009 at 06:46:15 PM EST
I don't buy that.

It omits the Al Qaeda fundie religious Clash of Civilisations element. Say what you like about Saddam, but an ayatollah he was not. If it was all about taking down Ayrabs then Real Men Go to Tehran, with whom they had serious form, and plenty of ordnance to do the business

For me it's oil first, Ayrab ass second, and everything else a poor third.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Apr 26th, 2009 at 08:20:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but you did not have "Real Men" in the WH, you had chickenhawks.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 11:51:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True, but it doesn't invalidate my point.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 12:31:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yes it does. America attacked Iraq because it was weak and defenseless, is because they could, not because it had oil.

It's like the guy looking for his wallet under the lamppost, because that's where there's light.

Iraq's weakness (and ass-kickability) was its main quality.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 05:54:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Going after Iran before neutralising Iraq would have left Iraq able to play games in Saudi Arabia. And the Americans are really protective about Saudi Arabia.

That, and the fact that even the most braindead Washington paper-pusher would have realised that Iran would kick the Americans' butts before they got two hundred km into the country.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 05:47:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
oil was always foremost, obviously.  

The US did NOT expect to fight a guerrilla war, despite such a war being obvious to those outside the US Government.  This is really a matter of fact, not speculation, confirmed by internal documents even more than public announcements.  

The US DID, at the end of the invasion, secure the Iraqi oil ministry.  It was just about the only thing they did secure (aside from prime real estate in the future Green Zone) or thought worth securing.  

Revenge for 9/11 is certainly not a motive, as the US had already launched one (failing) war of "revenge," a year and a half earlier (Aghanistan).  As others have pointed out many times, Iraq had no connection to 9/11 and the US Government had to construct elaborate and clever lies to convince people that it did.  Which is to say, 9/11 was an excuse, not a motive.  

The idea about revenge for threats to Bush's dad is a story that is pricelessly cute.  No president can pursue a personal agenda that crosses the most powerful interests, as well as those of his own backers.  Can't happen.  If George really thought he was being allowed to avenge his dad, well, I'm sure he was just encouraged in his delusions.  Then again, the story might just have been more prolefeed.  

While you emphasize technical issues, and are right about those issues, such concerns were no part of the thinking of the planners--who actually thought that oil revenues would pay the cost of the war.  

The point is that the US had already been structurally bankrupt for over a decade.  The problem:  How to keep the game going.  Solution:  Create asset bubbles and borrow anew to pay off old loans and grab new sources of revenue--such as oil.  There would be no virtue to the invasion if it cost more than it yielded--economically or strategically.  

That it was a net loss on both counts is why the Republicans are no longer in office.  

MEANWHILE we have an ironic update from The Oil Drum.  Although Iraq's oil reserves may well be vast (as is almost always assumed), the easy oil is most likely mostly (some 80 %) gone.  What is left is hard-to-get oil that the war has perhaps taken off line forever.  The extensive investment that would have been needed is now augmented by war damage that would also need to be repaired and in all reasonable scenerios the requisite physical security can not be reliably maintained.  This opens an interesting possibility:  That announced American plans to leave Iraq in a few years may not be mere lies and deception.  By that time all the easy oil may have been pumped, and there will be no reason to stay.  

Some new strategy will have to be devised.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Wed Apr 29th, 2009 at 03:58:27 AM EST
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