We Drink Iraq's Milkshake

Motivation is divined from results. Stated reasons for actions are often obtuse or false. Even the intent a man convinces himself he is acting on can just be mental gymnastics. Outcome reveals purpose.

Supposedly, the slog is better in Iraq — somehow, the two dead several wounded per day is salutary now — and the war has fallen from public attention. If the change of tactics have revealed better battlefield results, they have not clarified America’s purpose for invading and remaining in Iraq.

Explanations for our presence in Iraq are like claws on a snow crab. One grows and gains pinching relevance only to be torn off and thrown into a vat of seasoned boiling water, and then another metastisizes in its place. The Saddam/OBL subterfuge was the greatest scam in American history and an utter failure of our collective critical thinking skills. The “freedom ringing” prose was a pose. The result of the Patreus puppet show was a promise to just stay, just stay. Even snarky lefty ruminations don’t bear out. If Iraq II was an Oedipal desire for Generalissimo Bush to complete Papi’s business, then mission truly accomplished. If it was just to kill Saddam, then no need to hang further.

The most obvious and meticulous result of the occupation has been to put an American petro-corporate presence in Iraq’s oil fields. Even when the war is over our bases will likely remain vigilant watch over the crude gold. In this measure, and in this measure alone, has the Iraq misdaventure been effective. Even Alan Greenspan has said so in plain language.

I’m sure you will agree that many key figures in the Bush junta are oil men (and women) through and through. Is Iraq War II the ultimate Daniel Plainview exercise – a viscious resource grab just because commeupence is the only catharsis for festered venom? The tactics seem the brainchild of a score of Plainviews, but the mental gymnastics are more utilitarian. Oil may or may not be peaking, but I posit that the days of simple and affordable oil are over. Crude is ever harder to extract and ever more in demand due to the fast industrialization of China and India. If Iraq’s oil is earmarked for America into the future, then America can maintain more of the cheap (compared to everywhere else) oil that has been the starstuff of our growth and empire over the last century. Perhaps, the Bush junta, in its surreal deluded idealism, sees oil as so important that securing more of it is worth any deceit, any amount of death, and any squandered treasure. Of course, that this all profits the industry that incubated the Bush junta is proof positive of its purity.

Iraq War II is a tactic. It addresses a genuine problem but is the wrong tool for the job. We cannot bomb our way out of our sustainable energy problem. We can only invent a path through it. This is much more difficult than either side of the American polity seems ready to admit. Sorry Enviros, but sticking wind turbines and solar panels everywhere will help a tad, but it won’t magically solve everything. The ethanol consensus is more of a perversion from Iowa’s kick off caucuses than a solution. All that is for certain is that, if you were going to spend a trillion dollars on the sustainable energy problem then RD&D and bold experimentation is an infinitely wiser outlay than Iraq War II.

The Conservatron nominee will surely hype how things are “better” in Iraq and appeal to every tribe’s reflex of not wanting to lose a war. If the pathetic Bush Patsy and Iraq dead ender John McCain beats out Mittens and Hucksterbee this may be the centerpiece of the campaign. Whoever the Democratic nominee is, he or she must be ready to state the truth: Iraq War II is a battle for energy. It doesn’t matter how “well” it may be going now; our soldiers are valiant, but no army can win an Energy War. Bring them home and fund Representative Jay Inslee’s “Manhattan Project for Renewable Energy” instead.