I know we’ve done this before, but I was moved to post this after attending a speech by Helen Thomas yesterday evening. I’m sure I’ll mangle her words, but one thing she said was that the illegitimacy of our invasion of Iraq is attested to by the fact that even today there is no general consensus as to exactly why we went there.
So - whether you support the current military action or not - I was wondering if any of you would be interested in offering your opinions of why we actually sent troops into Iraq 4 years ago? if you feel the actual reasons differed from the stated reasons, feel free to say so. Also, if you feel it is overly simplistic to expect a single, easily expressed reason for initiating military attack, I’d be interested in hearing that as well.
I think the stated reason was the existence of WMD that constituted a “gathering” threat to the US, and a position that pre-emptive attack was arguably justifiable in such situations. But I’m not that WMD or any other single justification was ever clearly presented as the siole reason for invading.
To this day I really can’t imagine what the real reason was for taking such an action. I guess the closest I can come is a belief by certain powerful people that the post 9-11 environment allowed us an atmosphere within which we would be able to relatively easily overthrow a hostile government and install a friendly, ostensibly democratic one, with the hopeful consequences including improving the US’s position throughout the Middle East, perhaps undermining other “hostile” governments, and allowing US bases and access to oil.
(Don’t get me wrong - I’ve heard any number of explanations over the years, and have not considered any of them legitimate reasons for starting a war. And I’m not really interested in debating them in this thread. I’m not looking for an explanation I can agree with - just trying to figure out what the reason was.)
Go to the website of the Project for the New American Century. Read their policy statements. Those guys have been the key players in this administration since before it was the elected administration. Basically, ‘American Interests’ (shorthand for ‘oil’) were to be preserved by extending US influence through regime change in the Middle East. This required the removal of Saddam and subsequent incursions into Syria and Iran. Both pre-emptive strikes and action by force were fine if they served to ‘promote American Interests’.
Read cynically, it’s a bunch of neocons ensuring that the US will become/remain the world superpower by whatever means necessary.
ETA 9-11 was the fortuitous event used by this gang to ‘justify’ the beginning of their plan. Note how quickly Afghanistan was dropped as an issue and how Saudi Arabia, whose nationals were the 9-11 terrorists, has never been implicated at all.
Personally, I think that the substance which drove the Iraq war was not oil, but testosterone. We suffered a very serious attack on 9/11, and the administration felt the need to do something in response, so as to save face. At first, that something was Afghanistan, but when it became apparent that we weren’t going to catch Osama, another boogeyman was needed, and Saddam was readily available.
I disagree; Iraq was always the target; they were slavering to go after Iraq long before 9-11. The first reaction of the White House neocons was to try to find a way to pin responsibility on Saddam. Afghanistan was never anything but something they had to get out of the way to them; that’s why they did such a sloppy job.
And I seriously doubt they ever intended to catch Osama; not only is Bush a friend of the family, he’s too useful a bogeyman.
But they still attacked even when Saddam cooperated; I recall a comment at the time by a US official that they’d attack even if Saddam left. There was never any chance of not attacking once Bush got the chance.
I have personally felt for a long time now that the real reason we went into Iraq was to give extremists military targets to shoot at. The government would never put it in those words, it would never fly. That is why I believe it. They had to make stuff up. I think it is the harsh reality.
Ok, here you go: It seemed like a good idea at the time. Some people think it still is, some don’t. Deal with it, good grief. Keep voting in liberals if you don’t like it, conservatives if you do. It’s not a repeat of Vietnam, it’s not the US fostering another Holocaust either.
President Bush, heavily influenced by VP Cheney, thought it was a good idea.
I do not personally think either of them had ugly, personal or financial motives. I do think both of them have a pitifully limited view of world history in general and a remarkably limited understanding of Muslims and Islamic culture. In my opinion their view of Democracy is at the level of a 4th grader being taught by Ms Pollyanna how we are all yearning to be free/Patrick Henry/George Washington/the whole nine naive yards. I’m not saying those teachings are completely in error but it is a very rose-colored view.
Congress was afraid, post 9/11, that Iraq might have WMD. Equally afraid were President Bush and VP Cheney. I do not think they manufactured this concern but I think their limited world view prevented them from putting it into perspective.
Given the possibility of WMD and the opportunity to bring democracy to an entire region (which Mr Bush thought would happen because he was so naive about Islam) it seemed like the right thing to do, and not a bad legacy at that.
Mr Bush prayed about all of this and felt God was leading him to the right path. This is a whole other can o’worms, but that’s the ultimate reason he was comfortable being so forceful and focused in getting the nation and the Congress to follow along.
I’ve suspected for a while now there’s a kind of collective denial about Iraq. Of course it was about oil, in partic the need to control the supply to the world economy on which the empire depends. The owners of capital fund the Office and the Office pays them back
People don’t feel comfortable with that, nor with the idea they bought the whole WMD farm, nor with the idea that the President lied so much for so long - I guess the sorry story diminishes everyone in a way, and it cheapens the country.
So yep, it was about anything you like but oil and empire.
Many of the key architects really did believe the propaganda about flowers, candy, and spreading democracy in such a way as to transform the Middle East and save future generations from poverty and tyranny and hence help us be safe from terrorism.
Now, one could wonder about the motives of Bush and Cheney, who actually set the entire thing in motion…