Can you handle the truth, people
OK, so let's cut the bull and talk about the real reasons why we attacked Iraq. We now know for sure (well, most of us knew this a long time ago) that attacking Iraq had nothing the do with "Weapons of Mass Destruction". Paul Wolfowitz stated this explicitly. I will try to find the quote, but earlier this year or late 2003 he was quoted (and taped) saying that for political reasons the admininstration settled on WMD as the main issue to push on the American Public.
We also know, as we knew all along, that Iraq and Saddam Hussein's regime had nothing to do with 9/11, al Qaeda, or Osama bin Laden. Bush has stated this explicitly on camera, despite Cheney still trying to get mileage out of this.
And of course, I personally think it had nothing to do with bringing democracy to Iraq. That is a farce, though I think that Bush himself has started to believe in hindsight that this was the reason he attacked.
Richard Clarke in his book "Against All Enemies"
lists five reasons, all attributed to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld or Wolfowitz, that probably contain most of the true reasons we went to war. They are the following:
- To clean up the "mess" left by the first Bush Admin in 1991 when it left Saddam in power
- To improve Israel's strategic position in the Middle East
- To create an Arab democracy that could serve as a model for other friendly Arab states now threatened with internal dissent.
- To permit the withdrawl of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia where they were stationed for 12 years to counter the threat of the Iraqi military.
- To create another friendly source of oil for the US market and to reduce the reliance of the US on Saudi Arabia which might face overthrow of their regime one day.
Of all those reasons, I think the last one is the most important. This is because I think that Cheney was the real driver behind the war, and energy is his pet project. His secret Energy Task Force presumably was looking at maps that were war maps generated by the Pentagon. However, most of what that commission looked at has not been seen by the public - I think there are real reasons for this.
Additionally, many policy strategists think overthrow of the ruling family in Saudi Arabia by religious extremists, similar to Iran, is likely. Securing long term supplies of oil for our oil-thirsty economy seems like a real reason these guys would go to war. The other things listed by Clarke, I believe, were laniappe to these guys.