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Maybe The Biggest "Well, Duh" Moment Ever On The Interwebs

Everyone on the left's all aflutter about Alan Greenspan's book, and the revelation that he said, at its crux, the Iraqi invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein was about oil.

When the anti-war folks saw ""the Iraq War is largely about oil," they practically wet themselves. Here was a hugely-respected former public figure, a hero of the Right, giving them fresh ammunition for their "no blood for oil!" anti-battle cries.

Here's a little secret, folks: he's right. And anyone with a lick of common sense has known that from day one.

Oh, no, it's nowhere as simple as you portray. The scary thing is, it's even simpler.

Oil is, quite simply, the foundation of modern civilization. And the free flow of oil is the linchpin that holds it all together.

Imagine spending one day without oil. Just one day. No driving. Virtually no transportation whatsoever. Most likely no heat. Greatly reduced electricity.

And no plastics.


Get rid of most of your clothing, with its plastic fabrics. Your credit cards. Your computers. Your TV. Most -- if not all -- of your home electronics. Your appliances. In short, move right back about 150 years, because that's what it would take to get by without oil. Oil is the lifeblood of our existence.

Now, where is the world getting most of its oil? That's right, the Middle East. And that is the true source of the Islamist power in the world. Saudi Arabia would have fallen to the Islamists a long time ago if they weren't sitting on top of zillions of dollars of cash, and could affort do keep paying the troublemakers to go somewhere else. Iran wouldn't have the resources to develop nuclear weapons, and their periodic threats to close the Straits of Hormuz would result in endless shrugs.

If it wasn't for oil, the world would look at the insanity that grips most of the Middle East and scold, then shrug -- much like it does at the genocides in Africa. Because it simply wouldn't matter to us.

That's what Greenspan meant, and only a complete idiot or an utterly partisan hack could interpret it otherwise.

Now, our foreign policy would be a hell of a lot simpler if we did follow the principles (or, rather, lack of them) that the anti-war side accuses the Bush administration of following. If we were truly only interested in cheap oil, we'd have cut Israel loose and thrown them to the wolves decades ago. We'd have cut a deal with Saddam and let him get out of the sanctions -- he was always willing to cut a deal with anyone to get his way.

Yeah, it'd be a lot simpler that way. But we have these pesky things called "principles" and "ideals" that get in the way. Quaint, antiquated notions like human rights and freedom and democracy and not liking slaughter and genocide.

So we try to strike a balance between idealism and pragmatism, trying to preserve the former while not selling it out to the latter. On that scale, the removal of Saddam was a decided blow to the pragmatic approach, as we could have made our lives a lot easier if we'd just come to an agreement with him -- say, the same kind of discounts on oil in exchange for lifting of sanctions that he had already bought with folks from Russia and Germany and France and England.

But the price of such a deal would have been paid in blood -- and not ours. It would have been paid by the Israelis, the Palestinians, the Kurds, a lot of other Iraqis, and -- in the end -- a lot of other innocent people.

That, in a nutshell, is the crux of the "no blood for oil!" movement. "Let someone else pay the price for our way of life." It's an all-too-common theme.

Thanks, but no thanks. I have enough trouble sleeping at night; I don't need that on my conscience, too.


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Comments (54)

You don't understand the "a... (Below threshold)
dr lava:

You don't understand the "anti-war" crowd at all. What the majority of Americans object to is the horrifying incompetence of the Bush administration to plan for and execute this war.

I won't go down the list of mind numbing failures as a result of the stupidity and hubris of the war planners. They sent the greatest fighting force into a situation they knew little about ignoring the plans and warnings from our own State Department.

They placed 25 year old kids in positions of great authority in the CPA and then let them gut and try to rebuild the infrastructure of Iraq.

If you have not read
"Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone" by Rajiv Chandrasekaran or seen the film "No End in Sight" you have no idea of the debacle that was created by Bush and hi cronies.

What the "anti war" crowd objects to is the "pro war crowd" laying down its responsibilities as citizens to blindly submit to the useless killing of our armed forces in Iraq.

Bush and Cheney have long realized that the best they could hope for was to kick the war into the next administration, try to control the massive damage to the GOP and then blame the next president for the Iraq debacle. Even though that policy will kill 1000 more of our soldiers.

What the "anti war" crowd object to is Bush handing Bin-Laden everything he has desired since the late 90's. Endless war [Soviets in Afghanistan], depletion of the US fighting force, draining of the US treasury, division of the populace, hatred of the occupier that drives up recruitment and a loss of credibility for the US on the world stage.

What the "anti-war" crowd really objects to is the submissive, propagandized right that lays down like castrated sheep and lets the Hannitys and the Limbaughs fill their heads with absolute bullshit and buys it...and believes that we , the "anti-war" crowd, your neighbors are your enemy.

Dr Lava, you may have won t... (Below threshold)

Dr Lava, you may have won the medal for the most self loathing, anti-american rant yet. I knew as I read JT's piece that the looney left would not understand "ideals" or "principles." They are foreign to you and your kind. The people on the right lay down for no one. We especially will not lay down for the terrorists. Recruit all they can, we will pick them off one by one.

JT, great piece. ww

So what are you gonna do no... (Below threshold)

So what are you gonna do now that the war is over, Dr. Lava? Grumble about historians not pointing out how poorly everything is always planned? Hillary is going to plan your health.

"dr" lava:You ... (Below threshold)

"dr" lava:

You don't understand the "anti-war" crowd at all.

What we DO understand is each and every gathering of peace-at-all-costs nutcakes the ratio of "No Blood For Oil" placards to people is about 3 to one in favor of people.

What the "anti war" crowd object to is Bush handing Bin-Laden everything he has desired since the late 90's.

Except his most desirous wish. Perhaps you missed it, it was once again contained in his latest cave-to-world communique.

CONVERT is islam or DIE.

And BTW lava, we for the most part don't believe you're the "enemy," just a sideshow in the carnival of life.

A pip-squeak with very little squeak.

Yeah, it'd be a lot simp... (Below threshold)

Yeah, it'd be a lot simpler that way. But we have these pesky things called "principles" and "ideals" that get in the way. Quaint, antiquated notions like human rights and freedom and democracy and not liking slaughter and genocide.

This must explain Reagan's support for both sides of the Iran-Iraq War. Because there was certainly no slaughter or genocide there.

Now we have to put up with ... (Below threshold)

Now we have to put up with Tas's misconception of old, forgotten, far off things? And battles long ago?

So what are you gonna do... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

So what are you gonna do now that the war is over,

Ask me that again in 2040 after Hubbert's Peak hits Saudi Arabia and then I might be able to answer that question.

"Hubbert's Peak hits Saudi ... (Below threshold)

"Hubbert's Peak hits Saudi Arabia"

Hopefully the next 30 years won't be wasted like the last 30 years and we'll have done something about alternative fuel/energy sources.

Still ... nice job, Jay. I tried that same line of reasoning against some of the trolls a few days ago, but you're obviously a better wordsmith than I (damn you).

It's hilarious to read crap... (Below threshold)

It's hilarious to read crappy ill conceived posts like dr. lava's....just hilarious!! Ya gotta wonder if dr. lava is really that old puddin' head j. murtha.

That's what Greens... (Below threshold)
That's what Greenspan meant, and only a complete idiot or an utterly partisan hack could interpret it otherwise.

What Greenspan meant will matter little to the spinmiesters on the left.

And don't forget there's a new brand of "dog food" getting released soon to feed the minions with deception with the New York Times "deregulation" of their Times Select subscriptions. The Bush-bashing trio of Dowd, Krugman, and Friedman will have their "opinions" quoted in the lefty blogs like it was scripture from the bible.

The "no blood for oil" lunatics are in full bloom with this latest work of "journalism". Grab hold of your keyboards folks. It's gonna be a long winter.

Moreover, the left does eve... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Moreover, the left does everything they can to ensure than most of the oil we get must be imported. God forbid that we should tap into our own resources, including massive shale reserves.

So the war is about oil - so what? It was Saddam's power grab for Kuwait's oil that started it all. Oil is just part of it. Lest anyone forget, these people would like the see the "Great and Little Satans" wiped off the map. The Islamofacists hate America just as much as the left does - if that is possible.

P.S.The only fundi... (Below threshold)


The only funding that should be supplied for Hillery-care would be for a sure-fire cure for those infected with BDS. Now THAT would be medical breakthrough for the ages.

This made me gasp. This wa... (Below threshold)

This made me gasp. This was the most clear, and the most scary thing I've yet read on any blog.

If it wasn't for oil, the world would look at the insanity that grips most of the Middle East and scold, then shrug -- much like it does at the genocides in Africa. Because it simply wouldn't matter to us.

It would take someone of co... (Below threshold)

It would take someone of colossal density to mistake my piece as anything but reinforcing Paul's. Hence I should have anticipated Barney's comment. My bad.

And BlueNight... I felt pretty much the same thing writing it. But I challenge anyone to argue that it isn't true. God knows it shouldn't be, but it is.


J:"I challenge any... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:


"I challenge anyone to argue that it isn't true."

Ok. Let's say the we become strict isolationists. 'You leave us alone and we'll leave you alone.' Do you really think that would work? I'm guessing what happens in the Middle East would 'matter to us' in short order. The Islamists are going to come after us, irrespective of our conduct, until we "convert or die."

In addition, the fate of Israel in the region matters to me whether there is a drop of oil in the M.E. or not. Surely there are others who feel the same way.

We did not need the presence of oil to view militant Communism as a threat. It is the same with Islamism.

If it weren't for oil and t... (Below threshold)

If it weren't for oil and the fraudulent high opinion of themselves its possession has made for its owners, the Israelis would have developed the Middleast and made the desert bloom. Meanwhile, that'll have to wait until Sean's Hubbert hopes mature.

The biggest problem with th... (Below threshold)

The biggest problem with the Iraqi war is that Pres Bush ran it like a liberal would - a little here, a little there - libs should be esctatic. We HAVE played "whack-a-mole" - but should have totally destroyed every hole every mole jumped up from.

JT - you and AG are half right - certainly oil is the life blood of civilization (for now), and must have the free flow of oil world wide. Vietnam was about oil (shipping lanes thru SE Asia) and so was Gulf War I. But this war is also about the free flow of terrorists! Flowing thru Baghdad, for example, picking up whatever Saddam would give them to expand their declared war on the US. We wont be done until they give up - and they ARE losing - a loss in Iraq will be devestating to their cause. Oil or not, we civilization cannot afford a loss in Iraq. gc

Jay TeaWho are you... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea

Who are you? Last week you admitted that you were not very well travelled. In other posts, you have admitted to things, such as letting your finances run out of control to the point that you could not afford to pay for your car insurance.

You are not a professional as far as I can see, you are still renting at 40 years of age and frankly have few prospects.

So, what makes you qualified to write about principles and tenets? What gives you the right to treat people with derision when their views are different to yours?

Principles and tenets,; you dont know what they are, and there are far more qualified people to be writing on such lofty matters, than a social misfit such as yourself.

Jeff, you argue that it SHO... (Below threshold)

Jeff, you argue that it SHOULD NOT be. I didn't say that. I said that it IS.

And joe... while I'm flattered by your near-obsessive interest in me, I've NEVER argued "listen to me because I'm an expert." I always "show my work," explaining what I think and why. Feel free to disagree with me all you like, but that doesn't do a damned thing about my arguments.


Wow.Just... wow.</... (Below threshold)


Just... wow.

To Joe, I mean.All... (Below threshold)

To Joe, I mean.

All human beings need not bother to have opinions because all human beings are... human.

What must it be like to live life that way?

Joe -You don't lik... (Below threshold)

Joe -

You don't like it? Don't read it.

JT's made mistakes - and learned from them. As such, he's got a database of experience that he can mine for opinons. And those opinions are more likely to be right than not - because he's been wrong and REMEMBERS what can happen when you make choices that seem real good at the time but turn out badly in the long run.

And that's something the Left can't quite tolerate. Once a loser, always a loser, forever and ever - right? He should just wait for someone better than him to tell him what to think, what to say, what to do... right?

Principles? Tenets? You learn the hard way sometimes why they're valuable, and what it costs when you ignore them. You won't dump them quickly as useless baggage when they're bought at the expense of pain and difficulty.

As such, perhaps you should take your own advice, and leave your opinions in favor of "far more qualified people to be writing on such lofty matters" than yourself.

Hey, if it weren't for soci... (Below threshold)

Hey, if it weren't for social misfits, we'd all still be beating drums. Well, you know, skin ones.

joe,Get a life. It... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:


Get a life. It's just a blog. Don't you believe in the First Amendment? The only power a blog has is given by its readers. Thus you can take comfort in your empowerment of Jay Tea. LOL.


"Jeff, you argue that it SHOULD NOT be. I didn't say that. I said that it IS."

I don't see that. I argue that, regardless of our interest in oil, radical Islamism presents a clear and present danger. This also IS.

Besides, you just envy the ... (Below threshold)

Besides, you just envy the Mother of the Tea House of the August Blog.

Socialists will do anything... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

Socialists will do anything to make america into a communists country they even pretend to be peace makers but their not their justs a silly turkey pretending to be a dove

While I can certainly see o... (Below threshold)
Eric Forhan:

While I can certainly see oil as a reason for war, I don't think it was a reason for ~this~ war.
However, it was originally meant to help pay for it -- at least, until the anti-war loons started their bumper sticker slogan of "No Blood for Oil."

Well, the Dhimmicrats get t... (Below threshold)

Well, the Dhimmicrats get to eat crow, sprinkled with the ironic salt of 'Betray Us'.

Any body claiming a single ... (Below threshold)

Any body claiming a single or overiding cause for this conflict is a fool or a liar.

Really? This war is about o... (Below threshold)

Really? This war is about oil now? I seem to recall JT having a different opinion a while back...

"That's yet another of the shibboleths the anti-war movement that's finally irritated me enough to debunk. The common version of that is that the war in Iraq (and, by extension, the war on terror) is all some grand conspiracy to gain control of large amounts of oil, with the concurrent money and power that comes with it.

It's long past time to dismantle this particular load of crap."

..."So no, the current war isn't about oil."


Can someone help me out? Is the war about oil or not? 2005 Jay Tea and 2007 Jay Tea need to sort this out in some sort of epic battle of phony.

Joe,Jay pays rent,... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:


Jay pays rent, ergo oil is unimportant in the global realm.

Brilliant debating skills... You have mastered the "Chewbacca Defense".

The irony of Joe's comment ... (Below threshold)

The irony of Joe's comment is lost on him I'm sure.

And Dr. Lava doesn't understand the anti-war crowd any more than he/she purports to understand the right in the above comment. The anti-war crowd's objection to the execution of the war is second only to their objection of the war, period.

Anyone who describes those they simply disagree with as the "...propagandized right that lays down like castrated sheep and lets the Hannitys and the Limbaughs fill their heads with absolute bullshit and buys it..." is perhaps not an out-right enemy, but certainly no friend.

jp2 is about to invent nuan... (Below threshold)

jp2 is about to invent nuance; watch.

Alan Greenspan believed in ... (Below threshold)

Alan Greenspan believed in the absurd premise that Saddam Hussein had a military powerful enough to take over the Strait Of Hormuz or other nations. But with no navy or air force, Greenspan doesn't make it clear how that was to happen. Since 1991 Gulf War with the UN sanctions and supervised weapons destruction as well as an international arms embargo, Hussein did not have a military powerful enough to do much more than suppress political dissent in his own nation.

I guess this makes two things that Greenspan doesn't know; both foreign policy and economics. His all-too-gentle handling of the economy with interest rate hikes did not prevent many recessions under his watch since the Nixon years and added considerable consumer costs in interest rates to credit cards, home and car loans. A chimp with no knowledge of economics could probably have done as well. One retailer offered the Greenspan book at a 30% discount yesterday, the first day out. I guess they know what it's worth and marked it down right away to avoid the clearance table rush.

Some folks just don't compr... (Below threshold)

Some folks just don't comprehend 'context'.

JT: "Many times, the most i... (Below threshold)

JT: "Many times, the most interesting things are not what people say, but what they do not say."

Deafening JT.

"So no, the current war isn't about oil."

Which is it?

Hooson:Alan Gr... (Below threshold)


Alan Greenspan believed in the absurd premise that Saddam Hussein had a military powerful enough to take over the Strait Of Hormuz or other nations. But with no navy or air force,

You better look up the history of the Gulf Tanker War asshat. Neither Iran or Iraq needed an army or air force to create havoc in the Gulf and subsequently in the price and supply of oil.

So much havoc several U.S. Warships were damaged and nearly suck, and all WITHOUT an army and air force.

One retailer offered the Greenspan book at a 30% discount yesterday, the first day out.

Climbed back on "that horse" again have you. You tried that crap yesterday and promptly got slapped down. As Paul said at the time your expansive collection of comic books don't count BTW.

And BTW, your post at Blue on kosovo is yet another in a long line of showing your extreme lack of historical knowledge or military capabilities.

The Hooson here claiming th... (Below threshold)

The Hooson here claiming that Alan Greenspan is ignorant of economics is that same one that earlier blamed Rudy Giuliani for not stopping both WTC attacks - the first of which occurred before Rudy was in office as Mayor and the second of which was launched from airports not in New York City.

So we know how much to value Hooson's credibility in criticism of Greenspan right?

Hooson,A 10-30% disc... (Below threshold)

A 10-30% discount on a new hardback, esp one that is expected to sell well, is normal. The new Garrison Keeler is 30% off at Barnes and Noble today. Terry Brook's latest was 30% off at Border's labor day weekend.
But hey, I wouldn't expect a guy that sells replica swords or LED encrusted crucifixes to know how books are sold or marketed.

Just look how the liberals ... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

Just look how the liberals went gaga when the notorious KITTY KELLY wrote that nasty book about NANCY REAGAN or when HILLARY AND BILL CLINTON wrote those phonie books i mean some liberals were going all aflutter over a fruadelent book by MICHEAL BELLSILIES which claimed gun were never a factor in early america it was later discovered he and faked it all and he was forced to return the BANCROFT PRIZE the PRIZE MONEY and eas forced to resign from EMORY UNIVERSITY i mean look how they were gushing foe AL GORE and his junk science ego-fest A INCONVENT TRUTH

You guys do all li... (Below threshold)
dr lava:

You guys do all live in the same trailer park. WOW what a bunch of wisdom.

Oh go read Totten on Anbar ... (Below threshold)

Oh go read Totten on Anbar you pitiful washed up quack.

Thank you Jay Tea, for at l... (Below threshold)

Thank you Jay Tea, for at least admitting the obvious which many liberals, progressives, moderates, independents, and non-partisan foreign policy analysts have said for years.

It was not about WMD. It was not about bringing Iraqis freedom and democracy because we love them so much.

OK then.

However, you miss one point as re: Israel - we support Israel for *very* practical, strategic reasons. Basically, we arm them to the teeth so they can be our military allies and potential attack dogs in the reason.

Now, here's what our pragmatic pursuit of oil does to us:

It allies us with dictators who don't ever want real freedom for their people.

Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, Iran (remember the Shah?), among others.

So our pragmatism ends up being at the expense of making us complete and total hypocrites.

So, yes, fixing this problem means some possible lifestyle changes. Including using alcohol-based plastics. Or maybe not just wrapping everything in shrink wrap.

Nevertheless, long-term pragmatism *and* idealism both point towards reducing our dependence on foreign oil...because we're burning it every day, and as far as we know God ain't making any more.

Oh, and we would not have c... (Below threshold)

Oh, and we would not have cut a deal with Saddam re: sanctions - that would have weakened our position in the region, because he would have successfully defied us and outlasted us.

In short, an oil-based amoral approach is exactly what we have pursued against the Middle East. And the British before us. And the French somewhat, and every other powerful nation that could get a hand in there - I'm not saying other nations are any different.

Ah, you shrink wrap history... (Below threshold)

Ah, you shrink wrap history. Only a fool or a liar claims a single or overiding cause for the conflict in the Middleast. WMD were rightfully a real fear, and will be until moderate Islam rejects nihilistic Islam, like fundamental Islam rejected al Qaeda in Anbar.

It's all about oil alright. Everything is about energy. And every gallon for your alcohol based plastics starves twelve children and destroys through monoculture twelve generations of land.

You thoughtless fool.

Ah, you buy prepackaged his... (Below threshold)

Ah, you buy prepackaged history that has very mental nutritional standards.

WMD was a fear - to help people feel better about invading a country. But the historical record's pretty clear on the overwhelming lack of credible evidence that there were no WMD's - including all the contrary evidence the White House hid.

And guess what? Saddam wasn't a radical Islamic dictator. He was in fact far closer to being an atheist dictator in the Stalin mold. That's one of many reasons why Bin Laden declared Saddam an infidel.

So invading a Middle Eastern country that hadn't done anything to us, to overthrow a butcher we put in power in the first place, sends all Middle Easterners the same message: we will invade if we feel like it, regardless of whether they have a moderate Islamic regime or not.

Which is why Al Qaeda has been able to rebuild themselves, and why worldwide terrorism has expanded it's power.

So, *even if* the invasion of Iraq was intended to strengthen moderate strains of Islam against radical strains of Islam - today's results would be the Iraq invasion's most miserable failure.

Above should read "very low... (Below threshold)

Above should read "very low mental nutritional standards..." preview is my friend.

jimji, you've misrepresent... (Below threshold)

jimji, you've misrepresented the history of both Saddam Hussein, the Ba'ath Party, the conflict between the US and Iraq ( completing ignoring Iraq's actions during the Tanker War ) and basically demonstrated no credibility for your pronouncements.

They placed 25 year old ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

They placed 25 year old kids

Hi, idiot. Once you get out of puberty, you are no longer a kid, especially when you are old enough to drink, marry, and volunteer for armed service.

Libs sure love to infantise, don't they?

Oh great, jimji's pumping u... (Below threshold)

Oh great, jimji's pumping up Saddam 'cuz he was really more like Stalin. Good ol' Uncle Joe.

jimji, really where do you get off saying things like we put Saddam in power. Do you ever check anything you say, or is it all just swallow and regurgitate?

SPQR, please show what's wr... (Below threshold)

SPQR, please show what's wrong with what I said above, and I'll be happy to correct it.

Re: # 51 - Kim, if many thi... (Below threshold)

Re: # 51 - Kim, if many things I say sound new to you, it's worth questioning why your news sources haven't told you this before.

That the CIA helped the Baath party into power in Iraq, is pretty well established historical fact. They did it twice, in fact.

First in 1963. With the CIA's help, Iraq's Ba'ath party jumped right in and started killing everyone in power. Which was fine, because the victims were dirty commies. Ah, that simpler time...


And then, guess what? We started arming the new psychos, of course.


According to an op-ed in the New York Times, the U.S. sent arms to the new regime, weapons later used against the same Kurdish insurgents the U.S. supported against [previous Iraqi dictator] Kassem and then abandoned. American and U.K. oil and other interests, including Mobil, Bechtel and British Petroleum, were conducting business in Iraq.

And then in 1968, when the Iraq government was on the verge of selling it's oil to France and Russia, the CIA had them replaced in a coup. Which brought Saddam directly into power, as the #2 guy.



In 1968, again with the backing of the CIA, Rahman Arif was overthrown by Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr of the Baath Party, bringing Saddam Hussein to the threashold of power. [29]

...General Ahmed Bakr was installed as president. Saddam Hussein was appointed the number two man,[32] security chief for the newly installed ruler, and became his protege.

Oh, and look at that - apparently the pre-1963 dictator Karrem was also brutally repressive - and supported by the US as a counterpart to Egypt's leaders.

What, raising and supporting a brutal psycho who loves killing people because it's in our short-term interest? When did the US ever do that? [the Shah, Battiste (pre-Castro Cuba), Osama Bin Laden, Suharto, etc .etc.]

This is history. This is literally why we are condemned to repeat the past. Those who run our country don't want to talk about past failures. Thus the failures aren't connected. And thus we keep tragically repeating the same mistakes.

Ahem - preview is again my ... (Below threshold)

Ahem - preview is again my friend - in # 53, above 3rd-from-last paragraph should read "the pre-1963 dictator Kassem".

Oh, and SPQR - the Tanker w... (Below threshold)

Oh, and SPQR - the Tanker war?

You mean when Iraq and Iran started attacking shipping, and the US then backed Saddam against Iran?

You may remember this as the period in the Reagan administration that Rumsfeld met and shook hands with Saddam.









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