In today's New York Times , Koppel lays out the argument that if oil wasn't the main element of the "the Bush administration's calculations when the president ordered the invasion of Iraq in 2003, it would have been the first time in more than 50 years that the uninterrupted flow of Persian Gulf oil was not a central element of American foreign policy."I remember being dumbstruck when, in the months before the war actually began, one of my friends insisted (apparently in all seriousness) that the war in Iraq "had nothing to do with oil." Now, I was willing to concede that the US probably wasn't out simply to turn Iraq in to a gas pump for the US. Still - nothing to do with oil? You'd have to believe that the US was invading one of the world's largest oil reserves without thinking about the effects that might have in the future. If they weren't thinking about oil, they really should have been!
Koppel systematically goes back fifty years to show how the Eisenhower, Nixon, Carter, Reagan and Bush administrations all intervened in the Persian Gulf because of oil.
It blows me away that this was ever taken seriously. Nevertheless, Tom Friedman was able to say repeatedly that it was unquestionable that this war had nothing to do with oil. And nobody slapped him for saying something so dumb. Imperial powers seem to need to believe that everything they do is motivated only by love and a desire for peace. Reality, of course, is very different.