Opponents of the war in Iraq thought their moment had finally come yesterday. This was it: the culmination of all their hopes and dreams of the last five years. This was their Adlai Stevenson moment.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan had apparently confirmed what they’d known all along: that the Iraq war was all about oil. And this wasn’t some disgruntled junior flunky blowing the whistle on the administration – this was a man who’d been at the heart of government for the past 18 years.
The game was finally up for Bush, Cheney and co, thought the lefties. The media – their media – would have this story all over the airwaves and the internet for the next week. The more the Whitehouse tried to play it down, the more guilty they’d look. There would be apologies, resignations and, ultimately, impeachment.
They were burning the midnight oil at the HuffPo and Kos comments boards. ‘Greenspan’s admission confirms that the U.S. is merely slitting the throats of the Iraqis to get their wealth, like any common thug,’ said one commenter. ‘Moment of truth!’ exclaimed another.
Then, as suddenly as it had begun, it was all over. This morning, Greenspan confirmed that securing global oil supplies was "not the administration's motive," although he said he had presented the White House with the case for why removing Hussein was important for the global economy.
This wasn’t in the script. Surely, Greenspan had been bundled into a stealth helicopter by elite Blackwater paramilitaries, and whisked off to a Haliburton bunker deep in the Appalachians, where he was waterboarded into withdrawing his ‘all about oil’ claim? Surely it couldn’t simply be that a retired public figure with a book to sell made a remark that was taken out of context?
Of course, it would be wrong to say that concerns over oil supplies don't play a part in framing American policy in the Middle East. As Jules Crittenden and Say Anything, among others, have eloquently pointed out, oil has always been a factor, and it always will be until those windmills, solar panels and biofuels can meet the energy needs of the West, or US oil companies are allowed to exploit more domestic sources.
But the Iraq war is about a lot more than oil. It’s about turning the Middle East from a haven for dictators and terrorists into a fully functioning part of the civilised world. And it’s worth pointing out that there’s no oil in Afghanistan (I was going to joke that maybe the US is there so that they can seize control of the world’s heroin trade, but no doubt many on the Left already think the CIA is running that show).
After its brief moment in the sun, the 'blood for oil' conspiracy theory has been restored to its proper place on the far-left of the blogosphere. The nutroots are still raging, but once again no one’s listening.
Update: Lordy! Pajamas and Ace of Spades, and now Instapundit! The kids are gettin' shoes! Welcome, and please have a good root around while you're here. This is the post Pajamas and Ace linked to, here's one on MoveOn and the Dems shooting themselves in the feet, and I've adopted this 9/11 post as my mission statement.
Do call again!
Update 2: Thanks to Will for the correction on Greenspan's position. It's been a long day (I'm in the UK so past my bedtime!)
Update 3: Do we have anyone in from Canada this evening? Yes? Then Go Support Your Troops!