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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/18/13

David Frum, The Iraq War And Oil

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Source: The Guardian


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George Bush, pictured here with US marines in Anbar province Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

(Updated below -- Update II)

Former Bush speechwriter David Frum, author of the infamous "Axis of Evil" claim in Bush's 2002 State of the Union address, has a column this morning announcing that "all of us who advocated for the [Iraq] war have had to do some reckoning." His column is an attempt to provide such a reckoning, and contains numerous revealing assertions.

He begins with this melodramatic decree, designed to make you sympathetic of the stressful and scary environment in which Bush officials were operating: "My youngest daughter was born in December 2001: a war baby." To justify this characterization, he says that "when my wife nursed little Beatrice in the middle of the night, she'd hear F-16s patrolling the Washington skies," and that "a few weeks before, a sniper had terrorized the Washington suburbs. Anthrax attacks had killed five people and infected 17 others. What would come next?" (In actuality, the anthrax attacks came from a US Army lab; the Washington sniper attacks were in 2002, not 2001, and were perpetrated by two Americans; and hearing some F-16s patrolling the sky is hardly the stuff of extreme war trauma, particularly when compared to what people in actual war zones regularly experience). Frum is right that the fear levels were extremely high in this time period, but that was due to a deliberate campaign orchestrated by the administration in which he served.

Frum's most interesting revelation comes from his discussion of Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi exile whom many neocons intended to install as leader of that country after the US took over. Frum says that "the first time [he] met Ahmed Chalabi was a year or two before the war, in Christopher Hitchens's apartment." He then details the specific goals Chalabi and Dick Cheney discussed when planning the war:

"I was less impressed by Chalabi than were some others in the Bush administration. However, since one of those 'others' was Vice President Cheney, it didn't matter what I thought. In 2002, Chalabi joined the annual summer retreat of the American Enterprise Institute near Vail, Colorado.  He and Cheney spent long hours together, contemplating the possibilities of a Western-oriented Iraq: an additional source of oil, an alternative to US dependency on an unstable-looking Saudi Arabia."

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