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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Why did we invade Iraq? II. The Reality

Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D., a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, considers the two types of reasons the U. S. attacked Iraq. In the previous excerpt (http://livefreeormove.blogspot.com/2007/10/
why-did-we-invade-iraq-i-lies.html
), she considers the lies; in this excerpt, she considers the real reasons we invaded Iraq.


There were of course, real reasons for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. There might even be 27 real reasons. But I know of three.

One reason has to do with enhancing our military-basing posture in the region. We had been very dissatisfied with our relations with Saudi Arabia, particularly the restrictions on our basing. There was dissatisfaction from the people of Saudi Arabia, and thus the troubled monarchy. So we were looking for alternate strategic locations beyond Kuwait, beyond Qatar, to secure something we had been searching for since the days of Carter – to secure the energy lines of communication in the region. Bases in Iraq, then, were very important – that is, if you hold that is America’s role in the world. And Saddam Hussein was not about to invite us in.

A major reason for the invasion, and the urgency of it, is that sanctions and containment had worked, and over the years, almost too well. They had become counterproductive. Many companies around the world were preparing to do business with Iraq in anticipation of a lifting of sanctions. But the U.S. and the U.K. had been bombing northern and southern Iraq since 1991. So it was very unlikely that we would be in any kind of position to gain significant contracts in any post-sanctions Iraq. And those sanctions were going to be lifted soon, Saddam would still be in place, and we would get no financial benefit.

Naomi Klein has researched and written many astute articles on our foreign policy in Iraq. One of these, published by Harper’s in September 2003, was called "Baghdad Year Zero." She made a compelling case for the convergence of business interests and a kind of neoconservative free market ideology – and that the invasion and occupation was a clean slate transformation of a command economy into a free trade utopia. Neoconservative ideology does not embrace free trade in the sense that libertarians or Adam Smith might embrace it, but instead prefers significant state involvement in trade, for the good of the nation. However, Klein’s article from 2003 sheds a great deal of light on what we really wanted and intended for Iraq.

Another reason is a uniquely American rationale, and it relates to our currency, and our debt situation. Saddam Hussein decided in November 2000 to sell his Food for Oil program oil sales in euros. The oil sales permitted in that program weren’t very much. But if the sanctions were lifted, the sales from the country with the second largest oil reserves on the planet would have been setting a standard away from, and competing with, US paper.

The U.S. dollar was, and remains, in a sensitive period because we are a major debtor nation now. Our currency is still globally popular, but these days that’s more due to habit than its reliability as a currency backed up by a government that the world trusts not to print boatloads of bills for no productive reason. To the extent that oil, almost the new gold in terms of in-demand commodity reliability, is traded on the euro, global confidence in the dollar and global bank reserve demand for the dollar shifts negatively.

In any case, the first executive order regarding Iraq that Bush signed in May [2003] switched trading on Iraq’s oil back to the dollar.

These, for me are the big three. There are other reasons, beyond American bases, American contracts, and propping up the dollar. An important factor was the neoconservative idea that the best thing we can do for Israel’s security is to be there. It is not enough to send several billions in economic and military aid each year, and it is not enough to veto UN resolutions that are unfavorable to Israel. It is not enough to have bases in Saudi Arabia and other conservative Arab monarchies and oligarchies. Some of these American friends are not friends of Israel, and it makes taking diplomatic actions against them more difficult. In the view of many neoconservatives, America needs to be there, militarily and economically in the region, working closely with Israel, our lone democratic ally and one that has the human intelligence capability on the ground that we have never had, and never will have.

You may notice that building civil society, fostering democracy, and improving a bad humanitarian situation were not the reasons we went to Iraq, nor why we are staying in Iraq. We had no plan and fewer resources dedicated to building civil society. We actually don’t like democracies. We prefer those we buy to stay bought, and this is the realm of dictators and monarchs in countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Staying bought is a major problem for democracies.

Humanitarian reasons only make sense in an Orwellian scenario, where we kill people in order to save them. If humanitarian concern drove our policies in Iraq, the economic sanctions would have been lifted long before we invaded, instead of waiting until after we took over the country and its government, and unleashed chaos.

I have reviewed what we have wrought in Iraq, and why our government felt it was necessary to enter the country through force, build many permanent bases, and create, as George W. Bush himself has said recently, a kind of Middle Eastern South Korea, a standing pseudo-occupation force of 100,000 soldiers, with all of the interference in national Iraqi affairs that this necessitates.

I hope you have enjoyed it so far, because it’s about to get worse.


--from "Iraq – What Happened, Why and What Do We Do Now?" by Karen Kwiatkowski at http://www.lewrockwell.com/kwiatkowski/kwiatkowski193.html.

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