The next question to ask of course is, what is this war really all about? This also requires understanding the broader geopolitical strategy of the Bush administration and others in power in the United States and around the world.
There is ample evidence that the Bush administration has lied and manipulated the public and the American system in order to promote the administration's agenda. The real question is then, what is the agenda and is the agenda really in the best interest of the United States and the people of the world?
For example, it is a fact that FDR manipulated the American people and the American system in order to get America involved in World War II, but most people, including me, would argue that his actions served a greater good and have therefore been justified in some sense.
Is this a similar case?
The first thing to understand is the underlying philosophy that is governing the Bush administration's foreign policy. That philosophy is that America is currently the sole economic and military superpower in the world and that America should take a proactive approach to ensure that this condition is strengthened and increased.
Currently the largest threat to America's position of power is the European Union. The European Union is primarily an economic threat to the United States, not a military threat.
The successful euro has proven to be the greatest emerging competition that the American dollar has seen in decades. In addition, the European Union has been growing and organizing in such a way that it was obvious to any astute observer that the EU would soon be a partner of equals with America seeking to share global authority.
Remember that members of the Bush administration have said that the US must, “discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."
The EU certainly fits that bill.
Not only does the EU fit that bill, but the Bush administration has displayed a clear lack of respect for any other authority, stating plainly that the United States will not let its actions be determined by international opinion or by foreign organizations such as the United Nations.
Thus, part of the agenda of the Bush administration was also to undermine the authority of the United Nations and other international groups and treaties and make it clear that they intend to take America down a path toward unilateral international action in what is deemed the best interests of the United States.
The pulling out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty by Bush Jr. was one more step in the unilateral America first agenda.
So far we see that the agenda of the administration is to promote what is seen by them as America's interests first and foremost, to undermine international authority, and to prevent other nations from advancing their own interests or becoming more powerful, especially in any way that could challenge American international authority or the American economy.
Now, what conditions have led the Bush administration to pursue war in Iraq in order to promote this agenda, and what are the objectives of the conflict with Iraq, and in what way do they promote this agenda? (Note that I am referring to the Bush administration from prior to the time that Bush took office. Major members of the current Bush administration have been assembled and cooperating together as a group towards their goals since at least 1998.)
There seems to be several different "layers" of conditions that have compelled the Bush administration to seek war with Iraq.
1) Initial conditions that shaped the Bush administration's stance on Iraq (?-2000):
a) The Gulf region is an area that has been deemed essential to control for the purpose of American national security and American control in that region has been undermined since 1979 when the Shah of Iran was removed from power.
b) The Iraqi oil resources are underdeveloped, which presents a large economic opportunity for oil companies, but they are nationalized which negates much of that opportunity.
c) It was likely that any change of power that occurred within Iraq based on the will of the Iraqi people would see the rise of an anti-American government in Iraq because the interests of most Iraqis as viewed by Iraqis is in opposition to America or American desires and ways.
d)The situation in Iraq presented a window of opportunity for American involvement in the shaping of the Middle East because after years of sanctions some change was going to have to take place in Iraq. If America did not act on it unilaterally then the international community would act on it, which would be less advantageous for American interests.
e) Saddam Hussein remained a regional threat that undermined American interests in the Middle East.
f) The European Union was growing increasingly more powerful, and moving towards a stronger political, military, and economic position.
g) The euro was launched and successful.
h) Saddam Hussein was allowed to move his UN oil-for-food account to euros instead of dollars, which ended up being profitable for Iraq (while Clinton was still in office)
2) Progressing conditions that elevated the Bush administration's stance (2001 - 2003)
a) Other OPEC countries began considering a move to the euro, following Iraq's successful lead.
b) The euro began gaining prominence in the Middle East through both Iraq and the EU.
c) The September 11, 2001 attack on America, which provided a strong window of opportunity to gain support for a full-scale invasion of Iraq and regime change.
d) The EU's role in Middle Eastern politics and economics was continuing to increase.
e) OPEC began seriously considering adopting the euro as their primary currency.
What is significant about these conditions is that most of them have not been addressed publicly by the Bush administration, and some of them have actually been denounced as factors influencing their decision to go to war with Iraq, such as Iraq's under developed oil reserves.
I broke these conditions up into two groups. The conditions that originally influenced the Bush "administration" prior to taking office, and the conditions that would have strengthened the administration's resolve after having taken office.
It's clear that the Bush administration already felt strongly about the need to invade Iraq even prior to Iraq's move to the euro. This is evidenced most prominently by the 1998 letter to Clinton. The entire Gulf region has long been considered an area that is directly linked to American national security because of the high amount of oil in that region and America's dependence on that oil for the American economy and the American military. As was already stated, the Carter Doctrine was established in 1980 and stated plainly that, “an attempt by an outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”
Not only does this demonstrate the critical importance of the Gulf region to American interests, but the EU had also begun gaining significant influence in the Middle East in the late 1990s.
I don't want to jump ahead too far though because the plans to invade Iraq developed even outside of the considerations of the EU I believe.
The main point is that the Persian Gulf is a vital region of national interest, period.
Leaders in the United States have sought to increase American influence in the Persian Gulf for the past 80 years and have been fighting to do so for the past 50 years.The approach that has always been taken is strict monitoring of the conditions in the Middle East to keep American leaders updated on any possible condition in the Middle East that can allow American leaders to step in and assume some level of control.
This has manifested itself with the CIA's involvement with the Shah of Iran, the Ba'ath party of Iraq, and the Kurds of Iraq. It was also manifested in American involvement in the Iran/Iraq war, much of it covert and a large part of it illegal. It was again manifested in the way that American leadership showed approval to Saddam Hussein when he asked about invading Kuwait. American leaders, George Bush Sr. and Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, wanted an excuse to become militarily involved in Iraq with the hopes of being able to direct a regime change at that time in a way that would benefit American interests and/or to simply mitigate Iraq's growing influence in the Gulf region. Not to mention that they both knew that America had just supplied Saddam Hussein with a large weapons-of-mass-destruction program and that after they supplied him with such weapons Saddam gave America the cold shoulder.
None of that involvement would have taken place if not for the oil in the region, that should be pretty easy for anyone to understand.
The Bush administration must also have been aware of the political conditions in Iraq under the UN sanctions. There was certainly no strong or growing American support in Iraq.The two political factions that were strongest in Iraq were the underground Communist parties and the Islamic fundamentalist groups, both of which are anti-American and anti-Saddam Hussein.
Iraqi oil has been greatly underdeveloped since Desert Storm, in which much of the oil fields were damaged. Since that time Dick Cheney has been involved in attempting to increase the ability of American companies, including his own Halliburton, to gain contracts to be involved with oil production in Iraq. In addition America did not have direct access to Iraqi oil under the oil-for-food program. American companies were however buying Iraqi oil from oil brokers from other countries at reduced prices.
Everyone in the oil industry knows that OPEC's significant influence on oil prices actually only serves to help non-OPEC countries. The American oil industry is dependant on OPEC keeping production of oil regulated and preventing a flood of oil onto the market, which would drive prices down and make American oil production unable to compete, which would put American oil producers out of business.
This means that the only real way for American oil companies to really improve their condition is for them to acquire control of more oil, specifically OPEC oil. No amount of negotiating or influence can really do anything for American companies. If you don't own the oil then that’s it, you don't own it.
What the US leaders and the oil industry want to do is lower the price of oil, but without actually owning a significant amount of the OPEC oil if that happens it will only hurt themselves, so what had to be done was to acquire enough oil that the price could be lowered and still profit American companies.
In addition, the EU was emerging as an increasingly powerful economic and geopolitical force, which certainly posed a long term threat to American unilateral interests. A strategy of American cooperation with the international community should have no problem with the growing power of the EU, but a group such as Bush's administration would certainly see the growing EU as a competitor, not a partner.
These are the main things I believe the Bush administration was initially concerned with (1997-1999). In addition to these conditions, what made involvement in Iraq in particularly pressing was the state of the Iraqi regime. The situation in Iraq was at a point where it needed resolution of some kind.The Bush administration knew that if they did not actively pursue a resolution that was in their own best interests then some other resolution would be found that would undoubtedly not be as favorable to American oil companies and American economic interests.
On October 30th, 2000, when the UN ruled to allow Iraq to have its oil-for-food account converted to euros, the Bush administration, now getting very close to election time, became increasingly pressed on the need to invade Iraq.This put an increased urgency on the Bush administration's resolve to get into the White House and take control of the Iraqi situation.Iraq's move to the euro was taking Iraq in a direction totally opposite of the desires of the Bush administration.The move to the euro hurt the potential interests of American companies in Iraq and aided the interests of euro-zone countries in Iraq.
How much this affected Bush's handling of the ballot situation in Florida is impossible to say, but I suspect that it did have an affect, though I think that the Bush administration would have fought hard even if this had not happened.
After Bush entered office the European Union's influence in the Middle East continued to grow, economically, politically, and militarily. The international community was edging the US out of its influence in the Middle East, led by the EU.
This of course was completely contrary to the desires of the Bush administration, and most Americans (and this is why Bush was able to gain broad support from both Democrats and Republicans), and strengthened their resolve to become more actively engaged in taking a direct role in the Middle East. Because of this the Bush administration worked out a $43 million deal with the Taliban attempting to secure Taliban support and direct the Taliban in line with American interests.This was done with full knowledge that the Taliban was a horrible human rights violator and that money would not resolve the Taliban's ideological issues. Giving money to foreign regimes can help in some situations, when the problems that the regime are involved in are economic, but when they are religious and ideological the money won't really do any good, and it didn't do any good, all it did was strengthen an oppressive regime.
This was probably done because the EU was handing out euros in the Middle East and it was becoming a bidding war for loyalty.
In addition to this, the administration's focus on Iraq must have increased as well, especially with Iraq's oil-for-food account change to euros having been successful and with the strong rebound of the euro after Saddam adopted it.
Then other OPEC countries began considering a change to the euro because OPEC saw that Iraq's change to the euro had many advantages over the use of the dollar.There were disadvantages as well, not the least of which being political fallout.It was something that was gaining momentum as an idea though.
This began to put the American economy in a seriously vulnerable position.
Then the 9/11 attack happened. Although there is evidence that the US government had significant prior knowledge of the attack, and although conditions surrounding the attack are questionable, and although the Bush administration has not been forthcoming with information about the attack and has limited the budget for the investigation of the attack to only $3 million, and despite the level of secrecy that still surrounds the events of 9/11, I will assume that the Bush administration had no involvement with the attack whatsoever and that the country was taken completely by surprise and responded the best that it could have.
The 9/11 attack presented the opportunity that the Bush administration was desperately seeking at this point.The opportunity to at least take direct involvement in Afghanistan and for them to push for support for an invasion of Iraq and regime change that would be able to serve the interests of the Bush administration and the private interests that the Bush administration is representing.
The EU's role in the Middle East was still continuing to grow, which continued to trouble the Bush administration.
In 2002 increasing numbers of countries, both members of OPEC and non-OPEC countries, began switching their reserves, or at least part of their reserves, to euros. These countries include Iran, North Korean, and China.
The international movement away from the dollar does pose a real threat to the American economy for a variety of reasons, which will be addressed later.
This is basically how these conditions that significantly influenced the Bush administration's drive for war in Iraq played out.
So let's see how the administration's actions are designed to address these conditions, and what their objectives are.
The Bush administration designed their approach to Iraq in a way that was intended to undermine the UN and weaken the European Union. I believe that the Bush administration sought to either pull Britain away from the EU and possibly prevent Britain from joining the euro-zone, or to push Britain into a stronger leadership position in the EU in order to get Britain to direct the EU in line with American interests. They were probably willing to take either scenario, as both would serve American interests.
During the Clinton presidency Donald Rumsfeld was the American Ambassador to NATO stationed in Germany. Rumsfeld is a key designer of the American approach to Iraq and he was also well aware of what conditions Germany would require to support an invasion of Iraq and of course he was also well informed on the conditions of the EU.In this way Rumsfeld was able to help design a strategy that he knew the UN and other members of the EU would not accept.
The Bush administration also knew from the beginning that they would have British support under almost any conditions because of key American-British involvements and alliances, and the ties between American and British leadership interests. However, they also knew that Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, was a supporter of entering the euro-zone, something that poses a potential threat to the American economy.
So, the war on Iraq is really designed to be a war on the European Union, OPEC, and the UN as much as it is a war on Iraq. It was designed to indirectly attack the EU and UN via the Iraqi situation. The three primary goals were to secure American influence in the Persian Gulf, weaken the EU and UN, and gain increased influence over OPEC.
I am not proposing that this is an American-British agreement, I'm suggesting that this is the Bush administration's agenda, in which Britain is a piece that the Bush administration was attempting to manipulate.
As was stated in an earlier section, a critical element in the ability of OPEC to move to the euro is Britain joining the euro-zone. I believe that the Bush administration is aware of this and either attempting to prevent Britain from joining the euro-zone, or attempting to influence Tony Blair to keep Britain from supporting an OPEC move to the euro if it did join the euro-zone.
The war in Iraq was a way to attempt to disrupt the EU and bring Britain closer to American interests and American influence.
To this end the Bush administration would be attempting to strengthen Britain's "blue water" trading strategy, in which Britain would "turn its back" on Europe and ally economically with America, however the likelihood of this actually happening is not great. Nonetheless, American and British economic cooperation in Iraq could certainly strengthen American-British ties.
In addition to the Bush administration's involvement in the Middle East, the Bush administration was following its agenda of American global preeminence in other arenas as well.
In 2002 the CIA and Bush administration sponsored a failed Venezuelan coup of the democratically elected President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela being an OPEC country and one of America's largest oil suppliers. There is significant evidence that the Bush administration and CIA were involved in the coup, which was part of the administration's larger plans to take control of a significant amount of international oil, both to prevent OPEC from switching to the euro and to allow American companies to profit while also reducing the price of oil.
For more on the American involvement in the coup see:
http://www.coha.org/COHA _in _the_news/Articles 2002/newsday_04_21_02_us__venezuela.htm
Chavez was working to put an end to corruption in the Venezuelan government, promote education, and promote labor rights for the poor workers of Venezuela. This of course conflicted with the interests of American oil companies and also the Bush administration, which attempted to overthrow Chavez and replace him with the previous corrupt dictator who served American economic interests instead of the interests of his own country.
So what is "Operation Iraqi Freedom" really about?
It's really about attempting to preserve and/or strengthen American hegemony, which should be no real surprise.
Does that mean that the war in Iraq will not serve any good purpose? Of course not. All it means is that the primary motivating factor in the war on Iraq is the private interests of the Bush administration and their supporters. Yes, many other people's interests will be served as well because that is how political groups are able to be successful. You have to serve the interests of others in order to gain and maintain support for your own interests.