Greenspan: Because Of Oil, Saddam Was ‘Far More Important To Get Out Than Bin Laden’

In his new memoir, The Age of Turbulence, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan writes that he is “saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.” Greenspan later clarified his remark in an interview with the Washington Post, saying that while oil was not “the administration’s motive,” it was “essential” to remove Saddam Hussein because of it.

In an interview with Charlie Rose last week, Greenspan went even further in his defense of the Iraq war, saying it was “far more important to get” Saddam Hussein “out than bin Laden”:

ALAN GREENSPAN: People do not realize in this country, for example, how tenuous our ties to international energy are. That is, we on a daily basis require continuous flow. If that flow is shut off, it causes catastrophic effects in the industrial world. And it’s that which made him far more important to get out than bin Laden.

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/09/GreenspanRose.320.240.flv]

Greenspan’s continued belief that invading Iraq was the right decision flies in the face of the evidence.

In March 2003, when the U.S. first invaded Iraq, the price of oil was roughly US$35 a barrel. Just two weeks ago, however, oil prices reached “above US$80 a barrel for the first time ever.”

Additionally, the rate of international terrorism has increased significantly since the invasion of Iraq. In 2003, there were a total of 193 acts of international terrorism. In 2006, however, 14,000 terrorist attacks occurred, almost half of which occurred in Iraq.

By any metric, the decision to invade Iraq and take the focus off bin Laden has been a disastrous strategic choice.

(HT: Jonathan Schwarz)