I don't think anyone needs to be told that things aren't exactly stellar at the moment in Iraq. However, there is still this issue that I'm searching for an answer for. Why did the American government decide to invade the country in the first place?
The first reason given (does anyone remember it?) was chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons, or as the popular phrase became, "Weapons of Mass Destruction." I doubt there are many people who believe that reason anymore. The U.S. administration (and the UK for that matter) have gone hush on this subject, and it has become kind of a taboo topic. Even Colin Powell admitted that they were misled on this issue. I mean, come on, they were able to track down one guy, just one guy, down to a small rat hole in some scrubby village. Weapons, however, who are supposed to be radioactive and traceable, and one would assume need a large area and complementary facilities to store them, are yet to be found. All that was recovered was some old rusty small artillery shell in the desert left over from the Iraq-Iran war that gave an itch to some 70 year old man.
Then the reason that was given was to liberate the Iraqi people, and to remove a vicous and ugly dictator. Not many I think will deny that Iraq will be (hopefully) much better off with Saddam gone, but is that the real reason to invade? Why wasn't it mentioned in the beginning, instead of WMD? Also, if liberating a nation is the main criteria, how come troops are not being sent to liberate North Korea or Zimbabwe or Uzbekistan (which in fact the U.S. is supporting).? Maybe North Korea cannot be attacked because it does have Nuclear Weapons. Maybe attacking Iraq was a combination of the above two reasons: it does not have WMD (hence it's safe to attack it), and it was a despotic regime. Hmm.. not sure about that one.
The most popular theory for attacking Iraq with war skeptics is oil. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence to point to this. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleeza Rice among others have all been working in some sort of oil firm at one poitn of their life. In fact, it seems nearly all of the administration has all ties. I doubt that was the reason for invading, however. The most important thing for oil firms, and the main thing they crave after, is stability. They do not want oil entering the news all the time, and people getting worried about the risks of oil, and thus start looking for other ways to produce energy. Maybe the administration was looking for short term and personal gains in terms of oil, but I doubt the big oil companies would've sanctioned it.
I have come across this very interesting theory circles recently. The reason for the invasion, so the theory goes, (remember this is complete conjecturing, maybe very deep into conspiracy theory territory), is an ideological one. It goes right to the heart of the ideology of the "neocon" figures in the administration, particularly Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle. Their main ideology rests that America, in order to do "good" in the world, must project and use its power forcefully. America, being the only superpower in the world, must use that force to shape up the world in a manner it prefers.
Now I'm sure a lot of you are by now saying, "wooow, you've lost the plot man. You've been smoking too much weed or something." Well, the above part, outlining their ideology, is not really much in doubt. In fact, it's their written in paper, and signed by them. For some reason, however, this stuff never reaches the news, so I did a little research to find the relevant documents.
Most of the people on the administration, in one way or another, are affiliated to the neo-con think tanks American Enterprise Institute or Project for New American Century (PNAC). PNAC was created in 1997 to promote “American global leadership”, and included in the 25 people who signed it founding “statement of principles” are Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Libby.
The US “is the world's only superpower, combining preeminent military power, global technological leadership and the world's largest economy... At present the US faces no global rival. America's grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible.”
The American administration is advised to “fight and win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars” and at the same time “perform the `constabulary' duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions”.
The key "region” to look out for is the Persian Gulf, and Iraq is particularly singled out: “The US has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."
The report, however, says there is a key snag: “the process of transformation is likely to be a long one absent some catastrophic and catalysing event — like a new Pearl Harbor”.
The events of 9/11, although unfortunate, it seems providesd the perfect catalyst, or so goes the conspiracy theory.
There are two camps within American conservatives. Those that prefer focusing on domestic issues, a relative withdrawal from international issues, and paying attention to issues at home. This view caters to what is called the "Midwest" supporters. All what people care, so the ideology goes, is having a good job, safe streets, and being able to get along with their daily life. Their main concern is not what is happening in Saudi Arabia or Russia. In fact, they don't have much interest in what is going on globally.The goal should be to focus on home.
The other viewpoint is that of the neocons, which seems to advocate the opposite, as outlined above.
Before September the 11th happened, the most noticeable feature about the Bush administration was its withdrawal from international politics, at least compared to the Clinton era. The administration was not very proactive on the Palestinian issue, as Clinton was, but was more focuse on domestic "compassionate conservatism." After September the 11th, however, it seems that the neocons ideology was able to take over, and a proactive global approach was taken.
What do you guys think of this theory? It definitely is very interesting (although very involved, I admit.) I definitely do not think George Bush is the chief architect of the whole American foreign policy, but it seems people like Cheney, Rumsfeld, and others definitely have a big influence. I mean, I don't in any particular way think the guy is dumb; he's probably of average intelligence. However, when you're surrounded by people such as Rumsfeld (princeton), Wolfowitz, and Dr. Condoleeza Rice (professor of Russian Studies), you do stick out as a sore thumb. Comments such as "the French have no word for entrepreneur" do not help either. Maybe he was being ironic... hmmm...
It is interesting to read about how the chief architects of this neocon ideology all seem to subscribe to the philosophical work of Strauss. The Economist has a good article on this.
So Maybe the conversation at the White house went something like this:
R: Good morning Mr. President
G: (tucking into a Dorrito) Howdy ol' partner.
R: Mr. President, I think it might be a good idea to invade eyeraq.
G: Why is that Rummy?
R: Well Mr. President it's an ideological issue. America is the only superpower present in the world today. Hence it seems imperative to use this power globally in order to reconstruct the world in a way that facilitates America's interest.
G: Whooa... Settle down Rummy. Speak English. How many times did I tell you never to use a word with more than three syllables with me?
R: (sigh).. well basically because america is strong and we should use this strength to shape the world.
G: good point. My daddy called me today and said he wasn't happy that good old Saddam is still in power. Daddy's pissed off that he isn't President no more and that man still is. He used to be a friend of yours didn't he Saddam?
R: Long time ago sir. Not anymore.
G: Well alright, but how are we going to sell this to the people. You can't tell them the crap you just told me.
R: No sir. We were thinking that we could say eyeraq has nuclear and biological weapons.
G: Does it?
R: well, probably not sir, and even if he does he'll only be able to use them on his own people.
G: how do you know that?
R: we sold him the equipment and facilities to make them sir. They're a tad bit old now.
G: Do you think the people will buy this nuclear stuff? I mean, people are just barely over the Cold war?
R: True sir.. we need a catchy name, something that grabs attention.
G:hmm...well... Whoooa!.. My Dorrito... It just fell!!!
R: Whoooa .....my Dorrito.... WMD.. Weapons of Mass Destruction! That's perfect sir! That's what we'll call it! You're a genius!
G: I know that Rummy. How are my daughters and nieces doing by the way?
R: Getting drunk and doing cocaine.
G: it's good to see they're keeping the family traditions alive.