Tuesday, June 28, 2005

 

8. Other Theories


Possible Undeclared Motives for the Invasion of Iraq

This series has been running long enough! In this post, I will list readers’ additions to undeclared motives very briefly to complete the main line of this series to give readers a chance to debate them. I hope that I have managed to retain the intended message but I also added a link to the original reader’s post. They are listed in no particular order. I leave it to readers to assess the strengths and weaknesses of these different theories.

1. Military-Industrial Complex / Personal Gains

The role of the so-called “Military Industrial Complex” in America
Basically, the US military expenditure is enormous. Yet, as we have also seen, the troops on the ground lack basic equipment like body armour and other items. WHERE does all the money GO? Let me put forward the theory that some very powerful movers and shakers in the US Defence industry see it as a positive development for their personal bank balances (and those of their shareholders) for the US to be in constant conflict with other nations.

The reality is that most of the expenses lie in (a) research (b) development (c) maintenance. The condition of perpetual war suits the manufacturers of these weapons very well, and they do not hesitate to prescribe technological weapons solutions for tactical / strategic deficiencies in the field. It is in the manufacturer’s interests to sell the most expensive equipment possible to the US military, and to have a reason (ie wars) for continual re-supply of such equipment. Bruno


2. Eliminate Iraq as a strategic threat to Israel

… by transforming Iraq into an Afghanistan-like American colony. And failing that… Destroy Iraq as a strategic threat to Israel by promoting a debilitating civil war.

It is really difficult outside of the United States to understand how intense the American identification with Israel is. For some Americans it is for racial reasons - helping European Jews such as Sharon exert their supremacy over dark Arab Palestinians such as Arafat. For other Americans it is for religious reasons - the belief that the bible demands that Christians help God bring his prophecy that Jews would control Israel. For most Americans it is a combination of the two - racism reinforcing religious bigotry while religious bigotry reinforces racism. Mr. Democracy


3. Domestic political goals

Re-electing Bush, re-taking control of the senate, expanding control of the house, and removing the fetters of public scrutiny from all federal government agencies.
I am not suggesting that this was THE reason, or even a sole and sufficient reason to invade Iraq. But, every other goal that was or could have been one or more of the motives for the invasion was subordinated to the domestic political agenda. From the timing and manner in which the invasion was ‘rolled out’ for the 2002 midterms, to the ‘Mission Accomplished’ Show, to the capture of Saddam, and on and on and on and on. To the extent that events could be controlled, they were coordinated with the election cycle. To the extent that events were random, they were exploited, by the government and its supporters in the corporate press/media, for purposes of the election. JamesEarl


4. PetroDollar economics

Preventing Saddam from selling substantial quantities of oil for euros instead of for dollars. Such a move by Saddam would have threatened U.S. dollar hegemony, which is currently allowing the U.S. to obtain goods from all around the world essentially for free. (The U.S. pays for everything in dollars, which are the only currency with which anyone can now buy large quantities of oil. To say that the loss of dollar hegemony in oil would be devastating to the U.S. is an understatement. There are other ways in which dollar hegemony could be attacked, but if a major oil-producing country switched to euros, it could be a significant foot in the door for breaking down the dollar system.) Ralph

Another factor that sometimes pops up is the fact that Saddam wanted to start trading oil in Euros and not dollars. Given that the US Dollar is essentially underwritten by oil, that decision by Iraq could have been the start of a domino effect affecting the value of the US currency. I'm not advancing this as a "main" reason, but certainly it could not have made the US very happy. Bruno


5. Establishing military bases in the heart of the Middle East

Establishing permanent bases in the heart of the Middle East, thus allowing the U.S. to threaten or attack any country in the area on very short notice. Since the neocons apparently believe they can maintain U.S. power by threatening devastating military action against non-cooperating nations, establishing such bases is a crucial achievement for them. Ralph


6. Lesson to puppets

Putting the U.S. “client states” (puppet regimes) on notice that they will be dealt with harshly in the event they do anything the U.S. doesn’t like. Ralph


7. Stengthening Najaf’s Clergy to Counter Iran’s Influence

The American mistake had led to a great human Islamic educational crisis: That is the shrinkage of the Islamic moderate thinking on both Islamic sects. On the Sunni’s side, the great Alzhar moderate thinkers lost their leadership to the Wahabees…

On the Shia’s side, The Najaf moderate School’s leadership had weakened. That is because of the blessing by the west to Saddam to crash Shia in Iraq, due to the concerns of expanding the new Iranian revolutionary teachings into Iraqi Shia majority. That gave the idealistic schools of Iran a better opportunity to contain those hurt by Saddam.

Part of what is happening today, might be to correct that big mistake. The democratic Iraq would re establish the identity of the moderate Shia majority of Iraq with all the scholar power of Najaf school . The best place, today, on the planet to fight back the Salafee’s ideology. By: Basim Almustaar - Posted by Anonymous


8. The forever war as a replacement of the Cold War

Much of the administration’s momentum and support is predicated on an indefinite war hysteria. Maintaining the hysteria requires maintaining the war, in terms of enhancing our profile as a target, keeping the disaffected and poor active as a threat to the population but not the state, and keeping the populace appropriately revved up on one hand and frightened on the other.
Part of the framing of the response to the 01 attacks as a “War on Terrorism” fed that end—a war on a military tactic is almost forever by definition—but Al Qaida was not, in my view, a sufficiently abiding threat to keep the pot boiling. Hence the pouring of Iraqi oil on the fire. heraclitus


9. Constant US foreign policy

Controlling the flow of oil was central to the motivation to invade Iraq, but to understand it completely we have to consider it in the context of US policy in that part of the world since the end of WWII and perhaps before.

That policy, or set of policies, was the foundation for a set of options. Invading Iraq was one of those options. Is the question why the US invaded Iraq in 2003? Or is it why the US has been using its military to attempt to control the region over the last fifty years or so? JamesEarl


10. Placing a military force in a Middle Eastern country to unite and draw out terrorist and "insurgent" forces.

Why choose Iraq? Saddam, and the dictator system of government. These are totems which America holds as "evil." If someone says the word "dictator" in reference to a country, the American people instantly believe they are warmongering, power hungry, depraved men who torture others for their own amusement. While they might not all be such men, those are the ones which stand out in the public eye. I'm sure there've been many dictators who lived nice, peaceful lives, and never started a single war. They just don't make headlines. An American Patriot


11. The Bush Family vendetta

George Bush Sr. was once director of the CIA. It is my belief that he had learned something about Saddam Hussein, or perhaps even had personal dealings with him, which created an enmity between them. Junior, following in daddy's footsteps, or perhaps even at his urging, becomes President. At the first possible opportunity, Junior goes after the man who once tried to kill his daddy.

The reason for America choosing Iraq could be no more than an old fashioned redneck family feud. An American Patriot


12. World domination

America became the world superpower with World War II. Staying out of the war that long had nothing to do with it being none of our business. We're American. Everything is our business.

Europe was stabilized, governmental institutions were installed which make it impossible for enough people to get together with the same idea to actually get anything as straightforward as say, trying to take over a neighboring country done in any sort of timely fashion.

Asia's been stabilized. The Japanese ceased trying to take over through force of arms and turned to electronics instead. Some of the smaller countries get antsy from time to time, but with the threat of China looming over them waiting to swallow them whole given the slightest opportunity they're unlikely to make much of a fuss as long as America is occupied in the Middle East and isn't there to bully China.

Africa obviously has nothing to offer any part of the world, or situations like Rwanda would have been seen to much sooner, and DARFUR would be more than just a funny sounding word to the vast majority of the world's populace.

The Middle East is the last bastion of chaos which somehow manages to have resources and industry in the world. It is one of the few places left where major conflicts between neighboring countries still occur that would have an impact on the world economy.

By "Americanizing" the Middle East, America is able to remain the great superpower in the world, because our politicians have the most experience in befuddling their constituents while slowly stealing our freedoms. An American Patriot



13. The “People” Theory

“The search for invasion rationales is very perplexing… I sense the will of Israel in the actions of Wolfowitz. Put him in a room with: Cheney who thinks oil and contracts, Rove who thinks upcoming elections, Rumsfeld who wants to try out his ideas about warfare and GW who thinks that he knows the will of God, and pretty soon it probably made perfect sense.
Groupthink got us here in my opinion, not any one idea. You know what they say about opinions!!”

[I have added this “personal” aspect as I received it through a private communication. It is amusing as it combines several facets based on the ‘character’ of key players! It is more like a personal approach to history which belongs to a well established school of philosophical thought and which of course has its merits!]


Comments:

13. The "People" Theory
Yay! I wonder whether this one has gotten enough attention.
I vaguely remember alluding to this some months ago, referring to the British historians’ debate over whether history is about maps, or history is about chaps.
(I.e. whether it’s all just about economic forces and population pressures, or whether the personalities of individual (or group) leaders really make a difference to what happens.)
You roll out all the usual 20th century suspects, of course: Ataturk, Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, De Gaulle, Hitler - after World War One, was Germany inexorably destined by economic and nationalistic factors to make a grab for domination in Europe, or did it take a Hitler to lead them into it? Would Britain really have caved in without Churchill? How many Iraqis wanted a border war with Iran?
(Sometimes it seems to be not an individual or a group but a caste or sub-culture - you can’t pin Japan’s attempt at Empire down to just Hirohito or Tojo, it was largely due to a militaristic class mind-set?)
So, given that the Iraq enterprise seems more and more likely to end up as an exercise in futility, who’s most to blame, and why?
I know what my answer would be.
Circular
 
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You need to get your tinfoil hats out for this one.
 
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Age old argument...

I think it can be boiled down to its basic components.

General sociopolitical inertia is a power that cannot be stopped, but it can be channelled, delayed, damned, undamned, etc., by particular individuals in history. Their actions certainly can reshape the future.

For example, Churchill may have not allowed Hitler to remilitarize the Rhineland. He could have stormed in with Brit and French soldiers and stopped Hitler cold. Maybe that alone would have thwarted the most devestating war in human history. He was not in power at the time and was considered by most to be a lunatic hawk. Oh well...

What would other US Presidents have done after 9/11? What would Kerry have done? I doubt seriously that many of them would have gone so far as Bush to declare a WOT and invade Afghanistan, and then invade Iraq in an effort to reshape the ME. Most likely Clinton or Kerry would have beefiftytood the youknowwhat out of terror training camps, but I doubt they would have put boots on the ground after the Soviet debacle, and the US Vietnam experience.

Where would we be now? I'm sure most of you would answer "Much better off thank you very much."

As usual I disagree.
 
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I leave it to readers to assess the strengths and weaknesses of these different theories.

These theories are not exclusive and as far as I can see, it is a matter of personal preference what weight a person assigns one motivation as opposed to another.

I'm not sure there is much left to discuss on this subject and so I look forward to the next subject the larger series promised.
 
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I got a better one. The Red states did it to you, to break oils back.
 
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Another way to approach the “why attack Iraq” question is to ask: WHO would be BETTER to attack than Iraq? Let’s see:

Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE ?

No, not better targets, given that they are stable, pro US governments falling within its sphere of influence.

Saudi Arabia?

Sure the 9-11 bombers came from here, and the country has a large upsurge of anti American sentiment … BUT the downsides are great. For one, the rulers of that country more or less keep the masses in check, and can be trusted to do so for some time still. They are Pro US and indeed, buying arms from America. Secondly, war against S Arabia could run the major risk of (a) inflaming Muslim anger worldwide should the infidels trample through Mecca and (b) if anything should happen to the oil output there would be major problems. So, S Arabia is out.

Syria?

Well, Syria WOULD be a good target. The problem with Syria is that firstly, unlike Hussein, it has an alliance with Iran, which strengthens its hand. Secondly, it does not have major oil reserves to capture. Thirdly, the rulers don’t have quite the same notoriety as Hussein; it would be harder to whip up support for a Syrian invasion and, it has not made itself as big a nuisance as other countries. Basically, Syria simply does not have the weight that Iraq has. If I were an American strategist, I would regard Syria as a spent force, to be bypassed and dealt with later through other means. For example, there was considerable speculation that forcing a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon would cause the collapse of its government.

Lybia?

Hmm. Crackpot leader. Oil (some). WMD’s. We have the main ingredients, except for geographic position. Basically, Lybia is a backwater that is trying desperately to rejoin the world community. It has paid compensation for Lockerbie, dismantled its WMD programme (such as it was, *snigger*) and has kowtowed to Bush in front of everybody. Gaddafi is hardly a figure of major standing even amongst Arabs. He hardly has the same history of brutal, brazen defiance that Hussein has, with regards to Israel and the US. So – not really worth the effort, at all.

Pakistan?

Well, we DO have a large discontented Sunni population, and we have WMD’s, and also the possible presence of enemy #1, bin Laden, within Pakistani borders. On the other hand, we also have a pro-US dictator at the helm, Musharraf, and as long as that situation continues, there is no reason for action, is there?

Lebanon?

Too small. Not enough stuff. Besides, Israel can handle those guys if they become a problem, which they’re not.

Afghanistan?

The obvious target. Apart from being the home of Osama “Mr 9-11” bin Laden himself, the Trans caucasus oil / gas pipeline was scheduled to run through there. The invasion and elimination of the Taliban even an anti-US fellow like myself can agree with, and even support. So, why was there initial resistance to the US attacking them? Why did Blair have to promise to help out in Iraq in order to convince the Bushites that Afghanistan was the logical target? The conclusion that I draw from this is that the *cough* “War on Terror” *cough* is less a genuine motive than a pretext for other strategic actions.

Iran?

Another obvious target. Oil, anti US sentiment, WMD’s, harsh regime … all the elements. So why attack Iraq before Iran, which is a far stronger enemy? Well, for one, precisely the strength of Iran may have dissuaded attacking them first. Would it not be better to move into a more advantageous position first?

Iraq was supposed to be a cakewalk, remember? Given recent Iraq/Iran or Arab/Persian history … would it be ludicrous to imagine that the Neocons thought that a US attack on Iran might be bolstered by Iraqi forces? Iraq would be an ideal additional front from which to attack the Iranians, and the situation does not really apply vice versa, given that Iraq can be readily accessed by any number of US friendly regimes.

But Iran is definitely on the list, let’s not be mistaken here. It’s just a question of when. And a question of whether the fierce Iraqi resistance has sapped the US thirst for playing God with other people’s countries. Given that they assiduously avoid military situations THEMSELVES, I’m guessing the Neocons are ready for more. Is the US public, though?

North Korea?

The toughest and most dangerous prospect of all. They’ll be last on the current hit list.

Have I left anybody out? The small “stans” just below Russia, perhaps? Well, the do have oil and gas, and they do have pretty nasty regimes. They also have pro – US dictators that are amenable to military and economic cooperation with America. So, that’s OK, then.

Simply: Iraq was the most logical and profitable target at the top of a long list of targets – that’s what I think.
 
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This is probably off topic but I saw this link and it really shocked me. I saw the same BS story months ago (maybe even here?).

http://www.conspiracyplanet.com/channel.cfm?channelid=134&contentid=2379&page=2

Now for all of the stupid neocon fantasies about democracy in the ME, etc., I don't think you get much of this type of deliberate, unforgivable, villanous propaganda as per above link.

How many stories are there like this out there? The story is so refined - so believable (to someone who wants to believe it). Add that to the general media bias.

Whoever wrote this really is involved in a conspiracy. Its just plain sick.

Now I know most of you here despise ignorant US, its current President, etc., but do any of you actually give creedence to this crap?

Abu Khaleel, are stories like this common in Iraq?
 
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Charles --

Are you shocked by this story? Do you find it unbelievable?

As a matter of fact, I have already seen it. I would put this into the category of “possible but unproven”. It seems that too much hinges on the word of a single source (I have not seen independent corroboration of the stories compiled into the greater narrative) to take it as gospel that this is indeed what is happening.

Let me put it this way: the same as the US profits from giving out the perception that the insurgents are indiscriminately just for the hell of it … the resistance would profit from giving out the perception that the US is planting bombs in order to frame it. So … there are high stakes either way for whichever side to inculpate the other.

Of course, it is not as if the US has not used deadly deception in the past. Through the CIA it bombed Iranian mullah’s houses in the 1950’s, and blamed the Communists, and then made the illusory link between them and the ruling party, helping to trigger the revolution that overthrew Mossadeq. In Italy the CIA had supplied rightist militias with explosives via an intermediary that were used to blow up piazzas, blaming leftists in the process. These being just two examples of a long list of similar murky dealings.

The question is not whether the US would do such a thing, but rather whether it has done so now.
 
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Bruno,

I'll just fall back on my standard biases thank you very much. I think the story is complete hogwash.

I dared to browse a few other sites and I saw similar types of stories/garbage.

The most recent example is some left wing 'journalist' who wrote up a pictorial about the deaths of those marine ladies a few weeks back. He included pics and videos and carefully outlined the case that it was set up by the US - or IDF (I can't recall).

But the really tragic thing is (besides the fact that people praised him for his brilliant investigative reporting) was that several of the photos and even video were totally unrelated to the event. He had a photo of two dead marines that actually came from a sniper ambush series that is about 2 years old. The video was stolen from a PBS show about foreign contractors.

This journalist carefully and methodically concocted his story, plugged in graphics, and the wackos were enthralled.

To me this goes far beyond anything the so called neocons ever did. You may think it was a crappy or expensive or impractical strategy to overthrow Saddam. It breached protocol, etc. But no one seems to argue that Saddam was not a terrible and brutal leader.

Anyone who would deliberately concoct such an in depth lie is certainly not after the truth, but rather seems intent upon pursuing an agenda whatever the cost. The agenda is blatantly anti-US.

I would just like to repeat for the record that if it turns out that Saddam wasn't such a bad chap - just a bit strict, etc., then I agree that his overthrow was a mistake and potentially a crime.
 
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A couple that you didn't mention.

The media likes the ratings. The people were led, in large part, by the media, which presented an extremely one-sided version of the debate. The news media gains profits via wars, because of increased ratings.

Soldiers want ribbons, medals and promotions. Sometimes they feel useless without a war to fight.

Colin Powell felt (I heard before Bush took office) that Iraq and North Korea were "Cold War aggressors" who remained in power. Business, so to speak, needed to be finished that the Cold War had muffled.

Some of the lower levels of the Bush administration, knowing that Bush wanted "regime change," were working as hard as they could to make sure it happened. These pathetic people were simply trying to please their bosses.

Anyway, I liked your list. You can compare it to mine, if you care to.
 
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I find it interesting that the most obvious of reasons was the stated reason in the beginning. While some of the above list have some merit as a side issue the main reason for invading Iraq was the fear that Saddam had and was developing more WMD. It turns out to be wrong and therefor now dismissed as being a lie. All countries and the leaders of all countries believed it at the time. Even the detractors in the US who now claim a lie on Bush's part were talking about the danger of Saddam with his weapons prior to the invasion.

It wasn't just the weapons that made Saddam dangerous. He is a megalomaniac who viewed himself as the modern Saladin. His description not mine. He was threatening not only Isreal but all of the "stable" Arab governments around him. He also did have contacts with al Qaida and the concern of him cooperating with al Qaida to send a WMD for them to use on the US was not unreasonable.

I know that al Qaida and Saddam were not the best of buddies but that never stopped either of them from using what ever means available to them to attack an enemy. To dismiss the possibility that it would occur is foolish.

I think Bush's detractors give him too much credit at the same time they call him a fool. I believe he was just plain wrong. Nothing super sinister or "Dr. Evil" about it, just wrong.

The only other plausible reason I can see is the desire to establish a friendly government that was democratically based in the midst of the Middle East. If that was a motive if not the motive, Iraq would be the logical choice. It had the most educated populous in the ME and the majority of its people did not have any true loyalty to Saddam. That would, on the surface, seem to be an ideal country to liberate.

I believe the first of the above to be the real reason for invading and the second to be the next best thing to try to use to salvage something out of a situation gone terribly wrong.

The US planners were wrong on a number of fronts. First, no WMD (not that Saddam didn't want them and seemed to want the world to believe he had them). Second, Saddam seemed to have planned for a quick defeat with a prolonged insurgency that would eventually return him to power. The US wasn't prepared for that tactic and seemed to have not considered it. Third, the insurgency has from all appearances has resulted in the populace resenting the US invasion rather that celebrating it. If the insurgency had not developed, then we would all be singing a different song at the moment and the majority of Iraqiis would be celebrating the liberation from Saddam.

It didn't happen that way and again, we were wrong. All that being said, it now seems a moot point. We have a terrible mess and what is the best way to resolve it without the different factions in Iraq end up killing each other after we leave.

The other theories of the "real reason" the US invaded Iraq all pale in comparison to the original stated reason. Bush's detractors have lost all credence in that no matter what happens it is Bush's evil nature that was demonstrated. It would be nice to see a reasoned argument that faults Bush rather than emotional outbursts with every turn. I doubt I would agree with them, but at least I wouldn't ignore them as I do now.
 
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