On the Econlog blog, somebody in the comments asked if anybody, even the "nuttiest necon" could believe that "the Halliburton Presidency" would have invaded Iraq were it not for oil. I replied:
The argument that the war was fought over oil never made an ounce of sense to me. In the first place, if Bush wanted to "enrich his oil buddies" as everybody on the left-wing blogs seems to think, a far simpler and less costly route would have been to lift the stupid sanctions against Iraq. He would come out as a hero for free trade, a "political genius" for splitting Iraq off from various assorted Islamofascist peeps, and not shed a drop of blood or risk his entire political career on successfully convincing the country to go to war and to stick with that war when things got hairy.
But was never out to enrich his oil buddies, he was out to topple the Iraqi government which he believed posed a serious military threat to the US.
I don't think we should have invaded but it doesn't make me see mustache-twirling plutocratic conspiracies behind every move.
Another commenter, one Andy Hallman, wrote:
[quote]The point is to have control over the flow of oil, not necessarily its price. Oil companies want the price to be high, consumers want it to be low, but both want it to keep flowing, and the US wants to be in control of that flow.[/quote]
To which I replied:
Again, that makes no sense. If "control over the flow of oil" was the goal, then Bush and Co. could have made oil drilling and whatnot far less restricted by the government here in the US. That would have been a much cheaper way to give Bush's "oil buddies" control over the flow of a major source of oil. Why plunder abroad when you can plunder at home for less cost?
I'm reposting blog comments because it's easier than trying to rewrite what I wrote. All through the evolution of my views on the invasion of Iraq, from disapproval (before the invasion), to worry (the eve of the invasion), to tentative approval (Shock and Awe phase), to whole-hearted approval (Iraqis dancing in the street and Saddam in a cell phase), to doubt (reading what Smith and Bastiat wrote about war), to disapproval again (thinking of how free trade could have prevented this whole mess) one thing hasn't changed, and that's my view of the "anti-war" left. I put "anti-war" in quotes because I never took seriously the claims that the left really opposes war or is in favor of peace. Even the most die-hard "peacenik" lefty in San Fransisco will make excuses for cop killing thugs, bank robbers, and the Pol Pots and Arafats of this world. I'm willing to accept that there are some leftists who are genuinely against war and in favor of peace and non-violence and equally condemn American militarism at the same rate they criticize Cuban totalitarianism or Black Panther thugs, in the same way that I believe there are particles of dust in the otherwise empty black abyss of outer space.