Motivations and speculations
This post of Mark’s got me thinking. I’m not trying to pick on him specifically, however.
During the run up to the Iraq war I was definitely in the far-left opposition camp. I can’t say I ever believed Iraq had WMDs. I turned out to be right, but I held the position with much more certainty than was warranted. I didn’t buy the other two arguments (links to al Qaeda and democracy) either. Of course, now that you’ve dismissed the main arguments a sort of logic compels you to come up with alternate explanations. Such explanations seemed to have little actual grounding. There’s the common oil argument, the Euro-Dollar currency conflict theory, containment of Russia, containment of China, and on and on. What such theories have in common is a complete lack of evidence. Does the Bush administration have connections to the oil industry? Absolutely. What does that prove? Very little, really. It gives you a place to start, but it isn’t evidence. Neither is CeCe’s post that Mark linked, for example; our government is perfectly capable of pushing for such agreements after invading Iraq for any reason.
The inner workings of our government are secret for decades, if not longer. We don’t have much to go on regarding contemporary issues. We have the work of enterprising journalists and not much else. If you read someone like Seymour Hersh, it very much appears that there weren’t really any sort of hidden sinister motivations behind the war. The neoconservatives in the administration have wanted Saddam gone for years, as part of a sort of “America as international messiah” ideology. That happens to be what they claim to believe, too (well, obviously they don’t put it like that).
That’s an explanation that does a pretty good job explaining the war and relies on little in the way of speculation. It’s based on the ideology held by influential people in the administration and people like Hersh have come to that conclusion through their investigative work. So I continue to be perplexed that people still insist on other motives. Let’s see the evidence.