Your Lying Eyes

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25 October 2005

Galloway Denies Taking Oil-for-Food Cash

I have to admit it - I can't really follow this story, and can't opine on whether the British MP with the Palestinian wife got bribes from Saddam. But it does remind me why I originally supported the war. What I saw at the time was a crumbling blockade struggling to keep Hussein contained. France and others appeared to be skirting the rules. Humanitarians were wailing over the human suffering the embargo was causing, and the U.N. appeared too corrupt to hold fast. Since it seemed highly unlikely that the structures in place to contain the madman would succeed for very long, I felt it would be best to remove the bastard and get down to business with his successor. What I obviously did not know at the time was that
  • No successor had emerged or been picked out from the existing Iraqi power base
  • All institutions of authority would melt away with the invasion, particularly the army
  • The Shia and Sunni communities were so thoroughly segregated and hostile
  • Iraq had no WMD whatsoever and was not even close to developing an atomic bomb
  • The administration intended on forming a democracy rather than a sane dictatorship
  • Iraq is a highly tribal society where half of all marriages are between first cousins and that a civil society as we know it is nearly impossible
Most significantly, I did not know that we'd have spent $200-300 billion and counting two-and-a-half years after invading. Of course, as a mere citizen it is not my job to know all this, but it seems that the President didn't understand all this nor did anyone in Congress (or very few), so what their excuses are I haven't a clue. High profile war opponents didn't present any of these arguments but instead used classic left-wing anti-Western arguments or, like Chuck Hagel or Pat Buchanan, argued from a more traditional isolationist viewpoint which, after 9/11, didn't have a lot of resonance with most people (though they make an awful lot of sense today). But someone who absolutely did know all these things was Dick Cheney - and what he was thinking is one great mystery - Steve Sailer explores it but has no answers.
So what shoud we have done about Sadaam, given that the embargo appeared to be running out of steam? In retrospect, we should have held secret talks, offered him secret bribes coupled with very sober threats (maybe backed up with a few serious bombing raids if necessary) - basically played some old-school realpolitic to enlist him as an ally in the War on Terror and keep the oil flowing, instead of pretending he was sleeping with the enemy.

10 Comments:

Anonymous erob said...

Too bad we couldn't spend that 200-300 billion on hydrogen cars instead of the war. That way we wouldn't need the oil anymore and we could ignore the middle east like we do Africa.

October 25, 2005 11:59 PM  
Anonymous jimbo said...

I am writing this with one hand, while the other is waving in the air while I am shouting to you from across the ocean, "I knew it!" All of the points you bring up, WERE quite clear (obvious?) and public, at least in the international media well before the inevitable invasion. Sure Cheney knew it. What was going through his mind was the same as any other big business-of-war man. There is nothing to lose. To nick a Keith Richards line pertaining to press: Good war is good business. Bad war is good business. No war is bad business.

October 26, 2005 6:07 AM  
Anonymous jimbo said...

By the way, your last points, are good ones. I was saying at the time, I´m sure if you gave some mob hit man 20 large to guy wack Saddam, the job would be done. Hell, give me 10 and I´d have got it done.

October 26, 2005 6:10 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

Too bad we couldn't spend that 200-300 billion on hydrogen cars instead of the war
I'd prefer we had spent it on a sure thing, nuclear energy - I think it was Jerry Pournelle who pointed out we could have built 100 modern reactors for $200b. We'd be greatly reducing pollution, co2, be giving Americans good jobs. Funny, though, that would have encountered a much fiercer political reaction from Democrats in this country than the war did.

October 26, 2005 7:55 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

Jimbo, what I hear you saying is that Cheney did it for the money - I can't disagree, because I have no alternative explanation - but I'd prefer a less cynical explanation. I just find it hard to believe that he got us into this war (or decided not too put up a fight against it himself) to get richer.

October 26, 2005 8:06 AM  
Anonymous daveg said...

I assume everyone knows about the "Clean Break" paper, no? It is clear that the security of Israel was on the minds of the neocons for some time, and that getting rid of Saddam was part of the plan to make Israel secure. This was the case well before 9/11.

If you don't know this you will not be able to understand Iraq.

Now, as to why Cheney jumped on board, well, that is another question. But people may not understand the influence of the neocons in this admin properly.

Here is a reasonable starting point: Link

October 26, 2005 1:15 PM  
Anonymous jimbo said...

Ziel, if you are exploring motives, you might want to ask why a baseball player who is already making 10 mil a year would hold out to make 20. I´m sure a guy like Cheney has plenty of money already.

Besides the backdoor deals we will never know about, But we have here the former head of Halliburton playing the biggest game of his life, a chance to wage a real war. It´s the biggest wank with the highest stakes possible. You read the Sunday Times article about the war lord and what a rush he must have got on his scale. Can you imagine running the whole shooting match like Cheney has been?

We could go on and on, but thugs like Cheney could care less about diplomacy, world opinion, quagmires, budget deficits, 2000 American deaths, 15000 Iraqis, etc. anymore than a drug dealer cares about dead junkies.

October 26, 2005 1:52 PM  
Anonymous jimbo said...

By the way, with this Iraq thing, I think we´re a little beyond the point of cynicism. Let´s call it supressed anger.

October 26, 2005 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jimbo,

Call me skeptical but your reasons just sound a little too easy. Cheney was Sec'y of Defense during Desert Storm, arguably one of the most successful and thrilling military campaigns of all time. With Saddam's army wrecked and the road to Baghdad wide open, he argued, successfully, that military operations against Iraq should be halted.

Based on statements he made in the 90s, Cheney knew that the struggle would not be in conquering Iraq's army but in stabilizing the region afterwards. Why would someone with a "war lord" mentality then opt for that?

October 27, 2005 9:09 AM  
Anonymous jimbo said...

Sorry, anon, I just don´t have an answer to that one other than that maybe he just didn´t have the clout he has now... All we can do is speculate.

In the latest Nation, there´s an interesting interview with Gore Vidal in which he raises the point of how historically, republics always fail at being empires too.

October 27, 2005 1:08 PM  

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