I disagree with many of Noam Chomsky's ideas, but he does make this point succinctly:
Hastings: Where do you see Iraq heading right now?As I've blogged before... I hope Iraq moves toward a moderate, inclusive society over the next decade. But given the history of oppression in the region -- and the cultural propensity to hold grudges -- I see violence continuing for some time... and I see Iraqi Shia aligning themselves with Iran's interests more closely than with ours.
Chomsky: Well, it's extremely difficult to talk about this because of a very rigid doctrine that prevails in the United States and Britain which prevents us from looking at the situation realistically. The doctrine, to oversimplify, is that we have to believe the United States would have so-called liberated Iraq even if its main products were lettuce and pickles and [the] main energy resource of the world were in central Africa. Anyone who doesn't accept that is dismissed as a conspiracy theorist or a lunatic or something. But anyone with a functioning brain knows that that's not trueÂas all Iraqis do, for example. The United States invaded Iraq because its major resource is oil. And it gives the United States, to quote [Zbigniew] Brzezinski, "critical leverage" over its competitors, Europe and Japan. That's a policy that goes way back to the second world war. That's the fundamental reason for invading Iraq, not anything else.
Once we recognize that, we're able to begin talking about where Iraq is going. For example, there's a lot of talk about the United States bringing [about] a sovereign independent Iraq. That can't possibly be true. All you have to do is ask yourself what the policies would be in a more-or-less democratic Iraq. We know what they're likely to be. A democratic Iraq will have a Shiite majority, [with] close links to Iran. Furthermore, it's right across the border from Saudi Arabia, where there's a Shiite population which has been brutally repressed by the U.S.-backed fundamentalist tyranny. If there are any moves toward sovereignty in Shiite Iraq, or at least some sort of freedom, there are going to be effects across the border. That happens to be where most of Saudi Arabia's oil is. So you can see the ultimate nightmare developing from Washington's point of view.
So how many billions are we paying for this outcome? How many lives?