Monday, September 10, 2007

Ok, but why?

You can read the post below, but after I had written it I started to think it was overkill.

For purposes of this post, let's consider it established that the government is engaged in a massive p.r. strategy to keep our military in Iraq indefinitely (or until we achieve "victory", which looks to be the same thing).

The question then: why?

The answer seems to me to be some combination of: (1) our leaders' refusal to admit error in order to protect their egos and/or legacies, and (2) fear of the consequences of withdrawal from Iraq.

Of course, option (2) is more charitable and is in line with the public statements of our leaders. This option can be further broken down into distinct elements: (a) perceived lessening of our nation's so-called "energy security", (b) increased threat of terrorism, and (c) widespread death and destruction, including genocide/ethnic cleansing/balkinization.

An analysis of these elements is to a certain extent a reflection on the real reasons we went into Iraq in the first place (surely everyone except the stupid (and the willful blindness victims) realizes by now that WMD was just a cynical excuse). I will assess these elements in order of importance to our leaders, from least to greatest:

(c) will there be widespread death and destruction if we withdraw? Probably. Will it be worse than it is now? Maybe, but it is hard to imagine it would be much worse than what is occurring now. But based on our government's track record, it is even harder to imagine that this is of much importance to our leaders. The death of brown "folks" half a world away doesn't appear to rate very highly with Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz/Lieberman types.

(b) the increased threat of terror in the event of a U.S. withdrawal is entirely speculative. On the one hand, the country might fall under the control of Taliban-like elements, thus providing the dreaded "safe haven" for people who are admittedly very bad and intent on our destruction. On the other hand, it would decrease the "recruitment" factor we are continuing to foster by virtue of our occupation, and, more importantly, it would allow redeployment of forces and redirection of resources toward prevention and counteraction of terrorist elements, not only within Iraq but on a broader global scale. Of course, prior to our invasion of Iraq, there were virtually no anti-American terrorists operating in Iraq -- and now there are.

(c) decreased energy security. This is the big one. And I am entirely convinced it was the major factor in our leaders' decision to invade Iraq in the first place. This opinion has been very successfully portrayed (i.e., vociferously shouted down) by Bush followers and corporate media as being an outrageous tin-foil conspiracy theory. The right-wing defense to this has been to focus on the "blood-for-oil" aspect, wherein the superficial (and overly simplistic) claim is made that Bush/Cheney (both oilmen), along with their smoky room big oil friends, hatched this plan in order to loot a faraway country's resources for their own personal enrichment, the counterargument being that only a lunatic would believe that two people elected, in a great and successful free and democratic society to the highest offices in the land could be so cynical, so greedy, so evil, as to have hatched and executed such a plan.

These twin oversimplifications (argument and counterargument) have made it easy to dismiss this view (i.e., that the Iraq war is and was always, primarily, about oil) as a paranoid delusion held only by the lunatic fringe. I hope to successfully argue (soon, hopefully), that it is not at all a crackpot theory, but on the contrary the most plausible explanation of a seemingly inexplicable (and catastrophic) foreign policy decision.

1 comment:

Gleemonex said...

Oil. That's all it is, and all it ever was. The chance to (in their minds) "kick ass" was a nice bonus, plus the absolutely breathtaking profiteering/graft opportunities (look into KBR's activities over there, eh, for just one example), but yeah. Oil. Christ.