Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Real Reason the US Invaded Iraq

It wasn’t oil. It wasn’t WMD. It wasn’t Revenge. The reason The US invaded Iraq was that a feckless United Nations would not enforce its own resolutions or sanctions.

I am known for being fervently political. Let’s try this from a strategic standpoint.

Report finds illicit oil-for-food payments widespread

I will let the below information stand on its own for the most part.

‘Nearly half the vendors who participated in the United Nations' oil-for-food program in Iraq engaged in some illicit payments to the Saddam Hussein regime, investigators have found.’

‘…the number who paid illicit surcharges and kickbacks was more than 2,000’

‘…the kickbacks were around 10 percent of the goods contracts’

‘Those payments netted Saddam an estimated $2 billion to $4 billion.’

‘While the oil revenue went into a U.N.-controlled account at BNP Paribas, willing vendors paid the surcharges and kickbacks to accounts at other banks or front companies controlled by the Iraqi regime.’

'The contracts for purchasers and sellers were approved by the U.N. Security Council.'

'Federal prosecutors in New York have brought charges against one oil company for paying illegal surcharges. That company is Bayoil, a Houston-based firm that congressional investigators have said dealt with 20 percent of the oil leaving Iraq.'

Yes, even some Americans are to blame. I don’t know the first thing about this company. I don’t care if it is owned by Barbara Bush. The officials that knew what was going on are traitors for acting against the will of the United States and at the expense of US security.

The most recent was Monday's plea by Alexander Yakovlev, a 52-year-old Russian contracts officer at the United Nations who admitted soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from companies that did business with the world body.

Benon Sevan, a 67-year-old retired U.N. careerist from Cyprus, received nearly $150,000 in cash payments from a friend's company awarded Iraqi oil, allegedly at Sevan's behest.

All that we hear about in regards to the war today is WMD. WMD, or the lack thereof, is an important issue, but it is not what caused the United States to invade Iraq. Someone in the Bush administration made a horrible political mistake. They certainly believed, based on their own, possibly wrong, intelligence that WMD existed in Iraq. So they marketed it, sending Colin Powell out to make the pitch. Bad move. It sounded much sexier to say; ‘we will save the world from the madman with nukes’, than it sounded to say; ‘if the United States or the United Nations are to retain any credibility, we must follow through.’

Anyone with children knows that if you threaten, but don’t follow through, you are simply putting off greater mischief for another day. In any case, it was a marketing disaster, and Bush’s political enemies have taken full advantage of that mistake. That being said, if WMD had not been brought up at all, the invasion of Iraq would have been fully justified.

Shall we hearken back to a day prior to the Gulf War when the Oil for Food Program was in full swing? Saddam had long been free to run his own arms programs, as weapons inspectors had not been in the country for four years. Information from the Independent Investigative Committee makes it clear that oil kickback lobbyists had full run of the halls at the UN. French, Russian, and yes, a couple of American companies were subverting sanctions using the program, and UN officials were on the take. In the cases of the French and Russians, they had the ears of their respective governments. Money can do that. Saddam was reconstituting his military with the proceeds from the Oil for Food program. Whether it was WMD or simply conventional weapons is not really the issue, as multiple resolutions and weapons violations are well documented.

Along comes George W. Bush, who, following 9/11, was in no mood to put up with Saddam and his games. He had the political will of the American people at the time, but Saddam obviously did not understand the implications of that. The United States and Britain were engaged in a low grade air war with Iraq. This was simply not a sustainable situation.

Remember the last ditch effort to send inspectors into Iraq? Remember the complaints that they were not given enough time? It was far too late by then. The Americans surely had knowledge of the Oil for Food kickbacks by this time, and knew that no matter what happened, the UN was not going to act. At best, members of the UN may have put Saddam in ‘time out’ to placate the Americans. It would simply have been a waiting game until they could resume business as usual. By the time inspectors returned to Iraq, the only thing that would have saved Saddam would have been full and complete cooperation with no conditions. That didn’t happen.

Saddam had members of the UN Security Council in his pocket. That much is obvious, as the above information indicates. It also explains why, when push came to shove, Saddam was willing to tell the United States to pound sand. It was a miscalculation on his part, as he never considered the possibility that the United States would, in turn, tell the UN to pound sand.

Perhaps, using the examples of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, he simply had not come to the reality that W. was his own man. He probably did not understand that 9/11 had changed the political mood in the United States regarding his own mischievous activities. He believed those European and Russian businessmen and arms dealers that assured him all was well on the Security Council.

But the major point here is that, had there been no Oil for Food Program, there would have been no war. Had the United States or the UN acted in 1998 when inspectors were kicked out, there would have been no war. War was ultimately the result of putting off our problems for another day. When that day came, much of the world, including many in the US, chose to wipe the slate clean for Saddam, as though the invasion of Kuwait and the ensuing surrender agreements had never happened. The Second Gulf War was a continuation of the first. If you are looking for causes, there were two main players acting in concert. The corrupt businessmen and bureaucrats crawling around at the UN, and, ultimately, Saddam Hussein.

In Sports:

Nats 3, astros 6
It looks like we are back to just being happy that we have a team.
It could be worse. We could be in Baltimore.