Alan Greenspan backpedals from his statement that the war was about oil:
Greenspan, who was the country’s top voice on monetary policy at the time Bush decided to go to war in Iraq, has refrained from extensive public comment on it until now, but he made the striking comment in a new memoir out today that “the Iraq War is largely about oil.” In the interview, he clarified that sentence in his 531-page book, saying that while securing global oil supplies was “not the administration’s motive,” he had presented the White House with the case for why removing Hussein was important for the global economy.
Go to the link to watch Greenspan spinning furiously backwards. Guess he got some phone calls. Iraq would not have been invaded if it didn’t have oil. Here’s the deal – while oil prices were still relatively low when the invasion happened, supplies were tightening. The only easily accessible cheap light sweet crude available in large amounts which wasn’t already being pumped was in Iraq. The problem was that if you removed the sanctions without removing Saddam, the feeling was he’d spend the money in ways that were unacceptable. But sanctions were already cracking and so was the consensus for sanctions. So, under that view of the world, Saddam had to go.
Unfortunately for the Bush administration they were too incompetent to even get oil out of Iraq. But while certainly the war was about more than oil — many different constituencies wanted many different things out of the war, which was one of the reasons it was prosecuted so badly — anyone who says it had nothing to do with oil needs to answer this question: “If Iraq had no oil, would it have been invaded?”
It’s very hard to argue the answer is anything but no, and thus Greenspan’s original assertion is basically correct. The Iraq war was about oil. Not only about oil, but oil was a big deal — which is why the oil ministry got protected when the US conquered Baghdad, and nothing else; including munitions depots that were prime suspects for the WMD that was the supposed causus belli, which didn’t.
For a humourous ending let’s go back to Uncle Alan contradicting himself:
Greenspan said disruption of even 3 to 4 million barrels a day could translate into oil prices as high as $120 a barrel — far above even the recent highs of $80 set last week — and the loss of anything more would mean “chaos” to the global economy.
Given that, “I’m saying taking Saddam out was essential,” he said. But he added that he was not implying that the war was an oil grab.
“No, no, no,” he said. Getting rid of Hussein achieved the purpose of “making certain that the existing system [of oil markets] continues to work, frankly, until we find other [energy supplies], which ultimately we will.”
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