Saturday, December 27, 2003

Chomsky Interview: Of course it was the oil: "QUESTION: Do you think control over energy resources was the main reason for the invasion of Iraq?

"CHOMSKY: They didn't decide to invade Eastern Congo where there's much worse massacres going on. Of course, it was Iraq's energy resources. It's not even a question. Iraq's one of the major oil producers in the world. It has the second largest reserves and it's right in the heart of the Gulf's oil producing region, which US intelligence predicts is going to be two-thirds of world resources in coming years.

"The invasion of Iraq had a number of motives, and one was to illustrate the new National Security Strategy, which declares that the United States will control the world permanently, by force if necessary, and will eliminate any potential challenge to that domination. It is called 'preemptive war.' It is not a new policy, it's just never been announced so brazenly, which is why it caused such uproar, including among the foreign policy elite in the United States. They're appalled by it. But, having announced the doctrine, it needed an 'exemplary action,' to show that the United States really meant it.

"But if the United States is going to attack somebody, the action has to meet several criteria. The first and crucial criterion is that they must be completely defenseless. It's stupid to attack anyone who can shoot back. Anyone knows this. They understood perfectly well that Iraq was completely defenseless, the weakest country in the region. Its military expenditure was about a third of Kuwait, devastated by sanction, held together by Scotch tape, mostly disarmed, under complete surveillance. So Iraq met that condition. Second criteria is that the place attacked has to be important enough to matter. There's no point taking over Eastern Congo, which is also defenseless -- but Iraq matters. That's where the issue of oil comes up, since the United States will end up with military bases right in the heart of the oil producing region. The third criteria is you have to somehow pretend it's a threat to your existence. While the people of Kuwait and Iran might be delighted to tear Saddam Hussein limb from limb, they still did not regard him as a threat. No one thought he was a threat. But in the United States the propaganda did succeed in moving the American population, and Congress passed a resolution authorizing the use of force to defend the US against the continuing threat posed by Iraq. No matter what you think, that's just laughable."

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