By Brigitte L. Nacos
For opponents of the Iraq invasion there was never any doubt that the invasion was about oil—perhaps along with other reasons. “No blood for oil” was one of the slogans of the anti-war demonstrators at home and abroad. The President and his aides denied such a motive for years. In fall 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said in an interview that the U.S.stance vis-à-vis
Iraq “has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil.” But as he campaigned for Republican candidates in the last several days before Election Day, George W. Bush cited oil as a reason to stay in Iraq. According to the Washington Post, the President said that if “ the United States pulled its troops out prematurely and surrendered the country to insurgents, he warns audiences, it would effectively hand over Iraq's considerable petroleum reserves to terrorists who would use it as a weapon against other countries.”
It didn’t take long for the White House to deny that the invasion of Iraq was about oil. Instead, a spokesperson explained, it would be destabilizing for the region if a terrorist organization would gain control over Iraq’s “enormous oil reserves and corresponding revenues.” Never mind that Iraq’s oil reserves are not “enormous” in comparison to oil-rich countries in the Gulf region and so far have not resulted in revenues for the rebuilding of the devastated country. But finally, now, the protection of Iraq’s oil from a terrorist take-over is yet another reason for the administration’s “staying the course” rationale.
Since today’s mid-term elections are in large part a referendum on the Iraq War, it is a good time to list the administration’s justifications for the invasion and continued occupation:
x Saddam Hussein’s ties to Al Qaeda and involvement in the attacks of 9/11;
x Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction;
x Establishment of a democracy to serve as a model for other countries in the region.
Since there is no evidence for Saddam Hussein’s ties to Al Qaeda and the 9/11 strikes and since no weapons of mass destruction were found, the idea of bringing democracy to Iraq and the Middle East was left as sole and belatedly articulated reason for the Iraq adventure. Now, as the civil war like conditions in the country make the establishment of a democratic system elusive, the President finally owned up to the administration’s long denied oil interest in Iraq--albeit conveniently tied to oil-hungry terrorist evil-doers.
One wonders about the post-election rationale(s)for staying—or adjusting—the course.