Greed for oil
Will make us fight;
Iran has got
Endless barrels in sight.

It seems increasingly likely that the United States will attack Iran. The pretext will be that country’s alleged nuclear threat to Western civilization.

Doesn’t that sound familiar? We followed the same script in Iraq a decade ago. Of course it’s a lie this time, just as before. But once the war starts, the policy will just be about supporting our troops.

The Iraq misadventure, it turns out, was enormously successful. No, not for the hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops and families whose lives have been lost or ruined, nor for the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, nor for the millions of Iraqis who have been displaced or impoverished.


No, the glorious success in Iraq is the return of Western oil companies to that country. Saddam Hussein had chased them out, but now they’re back. Although Iraq has yet to open all its fields for development, BP, Shell, and ExxonMobil have all landed big deals that could prove more lucrative in the future.

Surprise, surprise, this routine also seems to be the template proposed for Iran, with additional wrinkles earned in Libya.

To start, Washington will bomb their suspected nuclear sites. Iran will take umbrage and fight back. Then, the Pentagon will bomb every military and economic target in the country, except the oil wells.

Dissident gangs will materialize, whom we’ll arm and describe as “freedom fighters.” The CIA will help them but the campaign will go badly. Then, we’ll bomb like crazy for “humanitarian” reasons.

That won’t be enough either, so we’ll have to go ahead and invade a Middle Eastern country again.

In the end, this will count as a “win,” though as usual at tremendous cost. “Free” elections will be held, but only certain groups will be allowed to run. Western oil companies will return to the role they enjoyed under the U.S.-backed shah prior to his 1979 ouster. This will give the United States control over one of China’s biggest oil suppliers and help cement our world oil domination.

All this imperial conniving is giving the Republican presidential candidates, except the isolationist Ron Paul, plenty to yammer about. Their militant rhetoric puts immense pressure on President Barack Obama to attack before November.

There’s always money for war, and in a prostrate economy there are always young men willing to fight, along with the hungry mercenaries currently known as “military contractors.” If we manage to avoid this war, someone will deserve a Peace Prize, but probably not someone who already has one.

OtherWords columnist William A. Collins is a former state representative, and a former mayor of Norwalk, Connecticut.

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