The Bombshell That Wasn’t

The Daily Kos says that Paul Wolfowitz admitted that Iraq was about nothing but oil. The supposed bombshell occurs when a reporter asks Wolfowitz why a military option was sought for Iraq and not North Korea. Wolfowitz responded this way:

The country is teetering on the edge of economic collapse. That I believe is a major point of leverage.

The primary difference between North Korea and Iraq is that we had virtually no economic options in Iraq because the country floats on a sea of oil.

As Glenn Reynolds points out this is nowhere near as revealing as it’s made out to be. In fact, it’s head-slappingly obvious. We know that Iraq had a huge black market in oil that allowed it to sidestep economic sanctions and develop its military. That’s one of the many reasons why containment didn’t work for the dozen years it was tried in Iraq.

Moreover, the whole canard that Iraq was "all about oooiilllll!" doesn’t make a great deal of sense. The war and occupation is costing billions of dollars. It quite probably kept the US economy down for months due to worry and speculation. No business, even a member of Sinister Oil Cabal Co. (TM), would engage in such an absolutely ridiculous scheme. There is scarcely enough oil in Iraq to justify the cost. If we were going to war for oil, it was a phenomenally stupid thing to do, because we’re highly unlikely to get enough out of the deal to make it worthwhile. The "all about oooiilllll!" crowd is using that argument as an intellectually lazy slur that’s transparently false. There were a myriad of reasons for Operation Iraqi Freedom, but the search for cheap oil wasn’t one of them.

UPDATE: Del Simmons at also asks the big question which puts the final nail in the oil argument.

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