This is the 10th Anniversary of the Iraqi War. A war that was based on misguided intelligence and assumptions and were played out on the world stage as if it was fact. We all now know there were no weapons of mass destruction and we also know Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with Sept. 11. So why did the Bush Administration take us to war? There are a lot of dominoes in this puzzle that had to come together to create one of the worst intelligence failures in American History. Most of that part of the story we already know but there is another part that most people don’t know and that includes the people who were involved. While Bush and Cheney both will still insist it was the right thing to do they still won’t come out and tell us their real reason for the war, but I will. In fact, there are two reasons for the Iraqi War.
The real reason Bush and Cheney took to the using flawed intelligence was revenge. Ever since the end of the first Gulf War, both men felt that Saddam Hussein should have been removed then. That regime change should have been part of the end game for that conflict. After the first Gulf War, Saddam increasingly pushed himself on the world stage. He was a constant political thorn in the side of these two men and Israel. He was a major pain for the other Gulf States and quite honestly they wanted something done. I am not implying that Saudia Arabia and Israel were forcing us to act. No, it wasn’t something that overt. More than likely it was discussed in small subtle ways and in ways that just build up over time.
I also do not believe that the intelligence services conspired to create or falsify the information in order to push the war. Even a recent UK Government report on the Second Gulf War speaks to that. In that report it noted numerous failures to verify and that the information was passed up in an incomplete manner. One example of the Iraqis attempting to obtain uranium from Niger. So far all the information points to back channel discussions about future acquisitions as the Iraqi Nuclear Industry had not recovered from the Israeli raid against their sole reactor. In effect, it was only discussion exploring the possibility not the reality of procuring uranium. Again, this was outlined in the UK government report that was recently released. Bush and Cheney seized on this smattering of intel pieces and formed their own picture in their minds and in the minds of their advisers.
In any event, we ended up with an administration that was looking of a reason to effect regime change in Iraq and bought the crumbs from intelligence hook line and sinker. Was it criminal as some have suggested? No, I don’t think so. Are Bush and Cheney and Blair war criminals? Nope, sorry folks the legal standards are against you. Are they guilty of improper reasoning? Yes. Are they guilty of manipulation? Maybe. Regardless, it was revenge pure and simple.
2. The Euro
This reason is probably the least understood by the mainstream public and quite possibly wasn’t understood clearly by the Administration. To get right down to it. The American Dollar is the worlds reserve currency. It is linked to almost every trading nation. It plays a large role in global commerce and currency rates and manipulation. (Both good and bad, depending on your point of view.) As such it is vital for our economy and that of many nations of the world that the Dollar remain stable and backed by the United States. This is not some patriotic position it is an economic one. To make it real simple, each trading nations holds a variety or a “basket” of currencies including their own. However, that “basket” has a constant ebb and flow of currency based on stability, rates and value. This currency is commonly traded amongst banks and when it does it is converted into the reserve currency and back. One example, was right after the fall of the Soviet Union the ruble was worth very little and there was a scramble for “hard currency.” Most of this “hard currency” took the form of dollars because they were valuable and easily converted into other currency. Lets face it macroeconomics is a complicated subject so I won’t go into massive details and bore anyone. What I will say is that Saddam Hussein was considering of changing the reserve currency of Iraq to that of the Euro.
After the first Gulf War, the Iraqis were struggling under sanctions. The price of oil was in a good deal of flux and Iraq was limited in selling its oil on the market. Remember the failed and manipulated Oil for Food Program? The fact is that while that money remained in dollars it was easier for the Americans to track and control the money. There was some discussion in the Iraqi hierarchy about changing to the Euro. By dealing solely in Euros it would have put a good deal of market pressure on the other gulf states who would have faced differential exchange rates and currency fluctuation. In some cases, forcing some of the other Arab states to switch to the Euro as well. This would have sent both the markets and the global economy into a tail spin. That is not to say there wouldn’t have been down sides for Iraq either on the economic front and available information suggests that it wasn’t in full blown consideration but was working its way through the policy structure. Yes, Saddam was a dictator but he also had economic interests and his power backers had economic interests that he would have had to protect. Meaning, that even a dictator has to have friends and he has to keep them happy hence the “policy structure”.
The point is that by going to war with Iraq it would have stopped any chance for them to change reserve currencies. This is not the same as going to war for oil. We hear that all the time… Iraq was about oil. Sorry folks, no it wasn’t. When you factor in the situation that we, nor did American companies directly benefit from oil transfers even during the Oil for Food Program the claim the war was about oil doesn’t hold up. In fact, if it all boiled down to oil it would have been in our best interest not to go to war. Do I think it was a consideration when Bush and Cheney decided to proceed with the war. Yes, so far the documents that are out there by reputable people suggest that they had an inkling that Saddam was discussing going to the Euro. Was it a primary consideration for them? I doubt it. Otherwise, instead of pictures of alleged bio warfare trucks we would have had a stream of economists with charts telling us all about it.
About those consequences? We have all seen or heard about the troops returning from Iraq and the pain and suffering that they under went. I have several friends who had multiple tours there and I feel sorry for them for all they had to and will have to go through. Alas those are not the consequences I am talking about. Granted, those are bad enough but there is one in specific that is much much worse and will have a long lasting effect. You see Saddam Hussein served a purpose in the world that most Americans do not realize but some Europeans did. That is the fact that Iraq was a country that served as a buffer between the Muslim Holy Sites and Iran. You have to understand that after the start of the 1981 Iraq/Iran war, both countries were in effect mortal enemies. Not like other mortal enemies in that while both countries were followers of Islam they were in fact from different ideologies of Islam. This kept these two countries locked in an informal cold war state. Both acting as a counter check to the other one and keeping them both from growing into a regional power.
When Iraq fell, that country became unofficially divided into three areas. Kurds in the north, Sunnis and Shia divided in the south. With Saddam in power he was able to use his power base to keep the Shia in check which were the same ideological base as that formed post revolution in Iran. By keeping them divided he could use the combined strength to keep the focus on Iran. In turn this kept Iran from “exporting” its revolution beyond its borders. It limited Iran’s influence in the other Gulf States and provided a sense of security for states like Bahrain and Oman who have had historic issues with Iran. Now, with out Saddam we can see the consequences of the Gulf War.
Iran now has grown in influence in Gaza and Lebanon. It is now a primary supporter to the government in Syria. It has repeatedly threatened Israel and even made minor issues for neighboring Gulf States. There is even evidence that it played a role with the Taliban in Afghanistan and now we have them attempting to become a nuclear power. You have to understand that Iran is not a dictatorship, it is a theocracy. One who is more than willing to oversee and promote the installation of Sharia states in all the Middle East under one banner. As a matter of fact, Iran has for years been promoting the concept of a Pan Arab republic under the principles of revolution as applied in Persia. (Iran’s historic name.) I am not making any of this up. This is not tin foil hat fodder. This is verifiable information that you can look up yourself. Research the topic and dig for the information it is all right there on the surface. Regardless of your political or religious beliefs I think we can all agree a nation states that supports terrorism on a scale like Iran is bad news for everyone.
Having said all the above, I want to be clear. When the so called reasons for the war were being sold to us Americans I was for the removal of Saddam Hussein but I was iffy on the nation building part. I won’t lie. I didn’t like the man. However, even then I knew that unless he really had weapons of mass destruction that going to war was a bad idea in the short and long run. Over the years I have researched this topic and wrote many papers on the subject and I can tell you that the Iraqi war as a bad war for more reasons than I have space. When I see the cost in lives and families I know that this war was wrong and when I see the results on the world stage it infuriates me that Bush and Cheney took this nation to war and used the patriotic leanings of our young men and women to do it. War is never a good thing but sometimes it is a necessary thing and something that we must all be vigilant about. Yet, I think that history will find that the Second Gulf war will cost more in lives and money in the future than anyone thought possible. For the Iraqi war didn’t prevent mass destruction but it might will have eventually caused it. No matter how you feel about the war, don’t blame the troops. They did their job and they did it for the right reasons. They didn’t fail, the powers that sent them to war did. In fact, all of us failed but they didn’t.