It is about why we had to invade Iraq.
How to make sense of Bush and the GOP.
The story is below the fold.
The tragedy is that this didn't have to happen, certainly not like this. If this administration had honestly dealt with the UN there would have been broad support. Even France offered a proposal that it would give a specific deadline for full compliance and final report of noncompliance from inspectors. If Iraq had not fully complied, we would have had a real coalition, and a real chance at success.
But that was not what this administration was after. WMD, was pre-text for war... not a real threat that required a war to be launched. This administration if it had been honestly working with the UN, instead of badgering and hurling insipid "smoke `em out", Texan hold-em, bullshit-bravado, could have had a real coalition and a real chance at making this misguided war still turn out for the better if it needed to be done. (and why Kerry's vote can be justified in that context).
But this administration went into Iraq not to disarm or eradicate WMDs. That rationale was entirely pre-text. Anyone who advances the notion this administration went into Iraq with the real belief that WMD removal was the reasons for this war are either a liar or a fool (or both).
I finished reading the book A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies by James Bamford (the author who broke open to the public the power of the NSA with his seminal book The Puzzle Palace back in the early 80s) last fall, which, while it may not be entirely shocking to those paying attention, lays it out fully (and from solid source evidence).
The administration had to launch its war, because the inspectors were in, and if Iraq fully complied with the UN inspections, the rationale for sanctions would be removed, and instead of a "coalition" backing regime change, it would be a "disaster" because the UN would calling for sanctions to be lifted.
The administration used WMDs as pre-text, assumed that there would be enough foot-dragging and clear evidence of violation to give them cover. Their bluff was about to be called though, and the war had to move forward before the entire house of cards came down.
"We" invaded Iraq because of three fundamental (and conjoined) things:
- Iraq being cleared of WMD by the UNMOVIC/UNSCOM meant Desert Storm (when Saddam went off the reservation) was over and sanctions had to be lifted.
- Iraq had European contracts for their oil.
- Iraq was going to trade the oil in Euros not petrodollars.
First and obviously, having the 2nd largest oil reserve of accessible crude come onto the market will drive the value of Saudi crude into the basement. That Iraq would end run the rest of OPEC to make up for a decade of being starved would scatter the cartel members into the winds to fend for themselves. So what is better, to let Iraq crude take out your own operation at the knees... or take it over and roll it into the same portfolio?
Second, because Iraq was going to devalue your assets in the first place, doing so outside our traditional partner firms and instead with European (French, Russian, German) firms, the prospect of Chinese orders for ME crude means you are not getting a dip at those petro-dollars (even in the later stages in the supply chain).
Third, and most critical (and actually more "forgivable" in a strange circumpolar way) is that trading in Euros not petrodollars would collapse our capital market funding of our debt and deficits, both Governmental budget and general economic. If China (as its demand for oil goes through the roof in the next 10 years) starts trading with Iraq, and the Euro becomes the currency for oil (not to mention it is already on the edge of surpassing the dollar for capital markets anyway based on value as it is) suddenly China has no need to continue to buy our debt. It would get more of a return in Euros, plus it buys oil from Iraq in Euros, etc. etc.
The chasing after buyers for our currency to fund our deficits (trade and monetary) would mean radically raising interest rates to keep people buying it. There goes most of our economy as the ripple of interest rates would throw us into a recession/depression. And there would be an even worse problem/risk then facing us as well.
If China and the capital markets stop buying our debt, our economy falls into an economic black hole and could only emerge when China (the rest of the developing world) and the US are on economic parity. That is the abyss for America.
China can do without the American market as it has a ready built market 5 times as large as the North American continent within its own borders. And because of outsourcing and production off-shoring of the past decade and a half (and heading into the next half) it has the manufacturing base to feed their domestic market whether those factories turn out NikesTM for US consumption to "whatever" name to the domestic market.
Controlling the oil has been the underpinning of our core foreign policy intrests since the end of WWII. This has been the power fulcrum of the PNAC strategies, which dove-tails with their Israeli-centric world-view.
The "realities" of control of oil reserves is why we installed the Shah in '53, this is why the CIA kept the Ba'athists (Saddam) from going to far into Soviet procurement arms (by our kicking Saddam back into Iraq after his first coup attempt in the 50s) even though the Ba'athists where a "nationalist" (read socialist) movement.
This oil-centric mania is why we have propped up Saudi Arabia from the moment the guns fell silent on WWII. This was for two (at the time coequal which became singular) reasons. keep it out of the Soviet hands, and keep it in "our" big oil hands.
OPEC in the early 70s was testing the price limit to find the outer edge for oil.
But "our" number one client/puppet was the Shah. We sold him F-14s, something we would not even sell to our NATO allies. He had SAVAK, which made Saddam's secret police seem like Haight-Ashbury. He (the Shah) was, like Saddam, secular which was not the case with Saud (Wahhabism), which are tribal/religious extremists who the British put in place to take out the Turks in WWI.
So when the population got feed up, it turned to religion (since the Shah was a corrupt western secular puppet) and revolution. Students start the revolution, and the Ayatollah becomes the rallying figure. The Shah falls, flees... we (now the "Great Satan") throw our lot in with Saddam to hold the line. We sell him WMDs, intel, attack gun-ships (American made UH-1H helicopters and Hughes MD-500 Defender helicopters) to set-up a back-burn to stop the Islamic Revoltuon wildfire that is now burning towards the oil fields, having already lost a vast supply to the now radicalized Iranian Revolutionary Council.
Just after the USSR collapses, Saddam goes off the reservation by the sucker move that "We have no opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts" in the context of Iraq's long-standing quest to get at Kuwaiti oil fields, stop their (Kuwaiti) lateral drilling and gain port access that wasn't spitting distance from the Iranians he had been engaging in an 8 year, 1 million+ dead war with.
This is used as pretext to scare the shit out of the Saudi's with doctored intel that Saddam is amassing Republican Guards to move into Saudi Arabia, and we start building bases, and moving in 500k+ troops, and making permanent installations. All this whole time (and decades prior) we have been training, arming and equipping the Saudi Secret police and internal security forces as Saudi unemployment rises to 30% (remember in the US a 25% unemploment rate was called the Great Depression).
Bush Sr. builds Desert Shield, then executes Desert Storm, and takes out the Iraqi military with a robust 3rd generation military vs. a depleted 2nd generation military, but Bush Sr. doesn't pull the trigger then on Saddam, because we are not sure of his WMD capability. We risk the entire shooting match if we turn the wrong way in the Euphrates river valley.
Because of this uncertainty Bush Sr. does not go for the decapitation then and there. We impose the no-flys, insist on WMD removal through the UN, and hint that if the Iraqi's overthrew Saddam we wouldn't feel bad about Saddam going... but then... the unthinkable happened.
Bush with a 71% approval rating in less than a year loses the election and Bill Clinton and the Democrats suddenly have the keys to the White House, the first time in 12 years and first time since OPEC was brought into the fold after Carter's undoing.
Clinton wasn't "supposed" to win the election.
This was the birth of PNAC, Bush not winning the election and "bunggling" the the tipping point of Saddam's regime in the post Desert Storm enviroment.
This is a central reason why Clinton was hunted.
Through this prism, trooper-gate, travel-gate, bimbo-gate, Vince Foster's murder-gate, Ron Brown's murder-gate and then a fucking blue dress suddenly makes sense.
Allowing the inspections to run their course, and with Wilson lobbing grenades at the fiction of yellowcake claims were a threat to the successful playing of the WMD card, which was the pre-text to finish off Iraq. Not because he was a "bad guy", not because he was military threat, not because of terrorism, not of any reason other than he went off the reservation in `91, and Bush Sr. lost the White House. Under Clinton, the WMDs were removed via robust inspections, Desert Fox, and Saddam halting the programs. Saddam was de-fanged, but if sanctions ever got lifted, Bush/Saud (and even to some extent the entire US) would be be screwed.
Saddam had to go. WMD and terrorism was a conflated pre-text to save Bush/Saud.