Occasionally someone needs to:
You can run through all the wildly varying rationales for this war: the weapons of mass destruction (that were never found), the need to remove the unmitigated evil of Saddam (whom we had once cozied up to), the connection to Al Qaeda (which was bogus), and one of President Bush’s favorites, the need to fight the terrorists “over there” so we won’t have to fight them here at home.
All the rationales have to genuflect before “The Prize,” which was the title of Mr. Yergin’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning book.
It’s the oil, stupid.
What has so often gotten lost in all the talk about terror and weapons of mass destruction is the fact that for so many of the most influential members of the Bush administration, the obsessive desire to invade Iraq preceded the Sept. 11 attacks. It preceded the Bush administration. The neoconservatives were beating the war drums on Iraq as far back as the late 1990’s.
Iraq was supposed to be a first step. Iran was also in the neoconservatives’ sights. The neocons envisaged U.S. control of the region (and its oil), to be followed inevitably by the realization of their ultimate dream, a global American empire. Of course it sounds like madness, which is why we should have been paying closer attention from the beginning.
You’d think it would be difficult to argue with the paper trail the neo’s themselves left behind, pre-9/11, but the pro-war types always have a thoughtful rejoinder at hand i.e., typing the word “oil” in all caps, repeating each letter multiple times. It’s one of the automatic reflexes that passes for thought on that side of the ideological divide.