Monday, March 18, 2013

There's Oil There?

It is funny to remember how suggesting the Iraq war had anything to do with oil was, at the time, the equivalent of comparing Bush to Hitler. It was something which Was Not Done, and it was a very easy way to make the person making the claim the most unserious horrible evil person ever.
Frum's most interesting revelation comes from his discussion of Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi exile whom many neocons intended to install as leader of that country after the US took over. Frum says that "the first time [he] met Ahmed Chalabi was a year or two before the war, in Christopher Hitchens's apartment". He then details the specific goals Chalabi and Dick Cheney discussed when planning the war:
"I was less impressed by Chalabi than were some others in the Bush administration. However, since one of those 'others' was Vice President Cheney, it didn't matter what I thought. In 2002, Chalabi joined the annual summer retreat of the American Enterprise Institute near Vail, Colorado. He and Cheney spent long hours together, contemplating the possibilities of a Western-oriented Iraq: an additional source of oil, an alternative to US dependency on an unstable-looking Saudi Arabia."
Wars rarely have one clear and singular purpose, and the Iraq War in particular was driven by different agendas prioritized by different factions. To say it was fought exclusively due to oil is a clear oversimplification. But the fact that oil is a major factor in every Western military action in the Middle East is so self-evident and obvious that it's astonishing that it's even considered debatable, let alone some fringe and edgy idea.