Alan Greenspan says he is “saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.” I’m saddened, too. The argument on this point never seems to go anywhere. I mean, alternative to it being “about oil” is that it was “about” Saddam’s threat to the wider region and it happens to be a region that’s . . . full of oil so it all comes around the same anyway.
The real question worth debating is whether the policies we’ve enacted in this regard are, in fact, necessary or even useful to securing the energy supply the world needs. It seems to me that they are, in fact, much more driven by paranoia and inability to do cost-benefit analysis (like would the economic damage of marginally more expensive oil really exceed the economic costs of the giant US military presence in the Gulf?) than from sober-minded calculation of what the world needs from its oil-producing regions. When there was a Soviet Union around that might plausible dominate the military east if the US didn’t push back, it may have made sense to adopt such an aggressive posture there, but instead of relaxing following the retreat of Communism we’ve tightened our grip in a way that seems to have achieved nothing.