Who invades other countries because you think the leader is a nasty piece of work ? The US supports as many dictators and oppressors as it opposes, hell it puts ‘em in place. Ethics doesn’t play too big a role in foreign policy. And it also has to diversify away from Saudi, at least according to the Cheney Report.
Actually, I don’t think it’s that difficult to grasp the basics. Just digest the outline of the Cheney Report – that, in conjunction with the post-9/11 reality, pretty well provides the framework for all this ‘regional re-alignment’ that Bush has been undertaking.
Short answer is, of course, the need to protect the supply of oil, that way you maintain the capitalist economies and a consistent price for the oil. You also have on going access to the life blood of this empire – without sufficient oil the US is as helpless as the next country, with oil, it’s the most powerful country in the world.
It’s also important to protect the stability of oil supplies across the world because capitalism truly is worldwide and it is a global economy – in other words, the US, despite its isolationist policies, can’t be isolationist when it comes to economics.
The contribution of 9/11 to all this was the jolt of realisation that the US could not rely on Saudi Arabia (because of growing fundamentalist Islamism) to provide the necessary oil and to do so was taking too great a risk (in combination with the knowledge that the US presence in Saudi was the most significant fact or – amongst several – for the 9/11 attack). The US had to swap horses in mid stream and quickly.
Conclusion: There is no US empire/domination without oil, oil is what makes this first empire of the capitalist era an economic success (and able to pay its burgeoning $300 bilion a year debt). It’s either control the Middle East oil or the empire declines very quickly. And Cheney (and Co) aren’t going to let that happen at any price.