In the Chilcot report on the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the US and Great Britain, with Australia tagging along, and in all the reams of commentary about the contents of the report, there is a stunning silence about the real reason behind the war.
With attention focused on the then UK prime minister Blair and US president Bush, no-one is mentioning OIL.
It’s a bit like the Fawlty Towers episode where Basil Fawlty enjoins everyone not to mention the war when German holidaymakers stay at the hotel. “Don’t mention the war” he lectures staff while doing completely the opposite himself.
In the Fawlty Towers version of the Iraq War, however, it’s good ol’ whipping boy, Saddam Hussein, who occupies centre stage as the dreadful villain whose dastardly deeds demand that he be removed. And not one mention of OIL. Because that was the motivation, the real driving force behind both wars in Iraq and the subsequent sanctions imposed on Iraq by a US-dominated United Nations: the control of the oil resources of the Iraqi nation.
You can demonise Hussein for all your worth but, until the 1st Gulf War, Iraq was a country with great health services, good education facilities, modern infrastructure and no fundamentalist groups blowing people up left, right and centre. No, I know he was a dictator but the US and its allies have never worried too much about dictators (as in the US-backed right-wing dictatorships in South America or the Shah in Iran), the problem for Saddam-baby was that his country is sitting on top of rich oil resources, resources the US and other Western nations wanted to get their sticky little fingers on.
You could also add that the by-product for the mega-rich armaments industry was huge profits from the bombings on Iraq. Plus, let’s not forget, even more profits as they then had to replenish the arsenal unleashed on Iraq. And let’s also not forget the mega-million profits Halliburton got in Iraq, without due process of bidding for contracts, with its former vice-president Cheney involved in doling out the contracts (not forgetting Halliburton Corporation gave him a $34 million hand-out when he started his run for the US vice-presidency and, by the way, Cheney was opposed to removing Saddam Hussein from power after the first Gulf War!).
So while, yes, Bush, Blair and Howard were instrumental in unleashing the war, let’s not get suckered into a debate about the pros and cons of Saddam Hussein. He was the bait, the excuse for the war to conceal the real aim – control of oil.