- Dick Cheney.
You bet your big bare ass it was, Dick. Indeed, if this Jim Holt character in the London Review of Books is to believed, it would appear that, on balance, the programme to liberate Iraqis has gone according to plan.
The occupation may seem horribly botched on the face of it, but the Bush administration’s cavalier attitude towards ‘nation-building’ has all but ensured that Iraq will end up as an American protectorate for the next few decades – a necessary condition for the extraction of its oil wealth. If the US had managed to create a strong, democratic government in an Iraq effectively secured by its own army and police force, and had then departed, what would have stopped that government from taking control of its own oil, like every other regime in the Middle East? On the assumption that the Bush-Cheney strategy is oil-centred, the tactics – dissolving the army, de-Baathification, a final ‘surge’ that has hastened internal migration – could scarcely have been more effective. The costs – a few billion dollars a month plus a few dozen American fatalities (a figure which will probably diminish, and which is in any case comparable to the number of US motorcyclists killed because of repealed helmet laws) – are negligible compared to $30 trillion in oil wealth, assured American geopolitical supremacy and cheap gas for voters. In terms of realpolitik, the invasion of Iraq is not a fiasco; it is a resounding success.
Hosannah! For a minute there, I was worried that Dick Cheney’s fevered and unceasing dream of freedom and opportunity for all was all going horribly pear-shaped. Fortunately, our emperors in their infinite wisdom had already figured that a million or so deaths was a price worth paying on the Iraqis’ part for our access to their oil. Actually, they probably didn’t factor the Iraqi deaths into their cost-benefit analysis. They were so concerned with delivering democracy that they probably forgot.
But anyway, which side of the culture war are you on: are you a cargo-pant and t-shirt wearing warrior for democracy, or a mullah-worshipping cringer for Islamo-fascism?