Bob Herbert says we’re in Iraq to stay. Why?
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.
The point here is that the invasion of Iraq was part of a much larger, long-term policy that had to do with the U.S. imposing its will, militarily when necessary, throughout the Middle East and beyond. The war has gone badly, and the viciousness of the Iraq insurgency has put the torch to the idea of further pre-emptive adventures by the Bush administration.
But dreams of empire die hard. American G.I.’s are dug into Iraq, and the bases have been built for a long stay. The war may be going badly, but the primary consideration is that there is still a tremendous amount of oil at stake, the second-largest reserves on the planet. And neocon fantasies aside, the global competition for the planet’s finite oil reserves intensifies by the hour.
That means that all the chatter from Gen. Casey that we’ll begin to make some “fairly substantial reductions” in troop strength in Iraq is bullshit. Aside from any plans put forth by the oilmongers, we’re in Iraq to stay because Rumsfeld et al have said that standards for us to get out are based on two things happening. The first is that the Iraqis will take over their own security to the level that we provide, which right now is like expecting the Cub Scouts from Troop 22 of Maumee, Ohio to occupy Canada; the second is when the insurgency subsides. Well, the insurgency is on the rise because the Americans are occupying their country, so they won’t stop until we leave and we won’t leave until they stop…and on and on.
The General’s good intentions aside, thanks to the wet dream of a bunch of neocons in Ford Expeditions who seem to think we’re entitled to it, we’ve basically bought Iraq, insurgents and all. Now we have to pay for it.