Alan Greenspan Speaks Out

by Ryan on September 16, 2007

in Culture,Politics,The Iraq Front

Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan apparently has a few choice things to say about the Iraq War, Republicans and President Clinton in his new book “The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World.”  He believed that among other things, the Iraq War was partially waged to secure that country’s oil supply.  I get a little frustrated with those that incessantly express that war for oil is somehow dishonest or bad.  We can’t yet run our cars, factories or make plastics out of good will and pixie sticks, so until then, cheap free-flowing oil is absolutely in our nation’s best interest.  Look what happened to Jimmah Carter when he didn’t act on securing our oil supplies.  There were a hundred reasons for taking Saddam out.  If that was one of them, so be it– just another check on a long list of reasons why that guy had to go. 

Also, I absolutely agree with Greenspan that Republicans got drunk with power, ignoring the philosophical reasons people voted for them, and that President Bush acted irresponsibly by not vetoing the huge spending bills that the Republican Congress sent him.  Greenspan also defended his actions during the Clinton years during the lead up to the devastating tech bubble, which eventually led to the short 2001-02 recession.  These are just a few headlines from the book that the critics have already read and thought newsworthy. 

I once learned in college that many of the principles and formulas that Greenspan used and believed in were debunked during the stagflation of the 1970s, yet his stewardship of the Federal Reserve is admired.  Was he lucky to be Chairman during a particularly easy time to have that job, during the 1980s and 1990s booms, or was he partially responsible for those booms?  Either way, he is definitely an important voice from the last 25 years of American economics.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

David Traynier September 16, 2007 at 4:09 pm

“I get a little frustrated with those that incessantly express that war for oil is somehow dishonest or bad.”

Saddam Hussein thought the same thing when he saw the reaction to him invading Kuwait. Of course, why should it be wrong to invade another country to make sure we have the things we want? After all, people in other countries aren’t as important as us, right?

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Ryan September 16, 2007 at 4:41 pm

The major glaring significant difference between our points of view is that in Iraq (amongst countless other things) we’re securing that oil hits the markets, not pulling a lebensraum-style land grab. Remember, we all want to get out of Iraq while Saddam wanted to annex Kuwait without asking, then sent in his troops without a UN resolution or even asking Israel for permission.

Plus I love when the left occasionally droops to the “war for oil” argument now and then (which will only be fueled by Greenspan’s book). If the Iraq War was for oil, then who in the administration would care about fomenting elections, securing territorial stability, fighting al Qaeda in Iraq, moderating regional politics amongst the major players, containing Iran from more proxy wars, etc. when all we needed was to place troops around oil pipelines and wait for gas to hit 77 cents. It seems this whole War on Terror, democratization, territorial stability and reconciliation thing is the real distraction to the war for oil crowd. Plus, it’s done wonders for Bush’s approval ratings. Where’s the political logic in the war for oil argument 4 1/2 years on? And were any of this argument’s proponent’s not getting the message out in the 2004 election when America gave Dubya the first popular majority in for President 16 years? It doesn’t make sense to me when this theory is put to geo-political scrutiny– am I’m probably missing a dozen other fallacies in that argument.

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David Traynier September 16, 2007 at 6:05 pm

You sent your troops in without a UN resolution. Nor are you trying to leave -you don’t build permanent bases in a country you’re planning to leave.

Elections are meaningless under a military occupation -as Bush himself said (though he was talking about Syria’s occupation of the Lebanon). Nor do you or the US government have any interest in meaningful democracy in Iraq -otherwise, you’d acknowledge that Iraqis, in overwhelming numbers, want the occupiers out now and support the armed resistance. And the oil argument remains as valid now as it was to begin with -the US invaded to control Iraqi oil -not merely have access to it.

In any case, the point still stands: if you believe that it is acceptable to invade a country for your own oil interests, which is what Hussein did -it was not a ‘landgrab’, you are no better than Saddam Hussein. I doubt you believe that other countries have the right to invade the US to protect their economic interests, so why should the opposite apply?

The same reasoning applies with Iran -those who defend the right of the US to kill Iranians en masse because of that country’s largely non-existent ‘threat’ do not support what would be, using the same reasoning, Iran’s far greater right to attack the US -which any conceivable measure is far more of a threat to Iran and has been far more aggressive.

This is all basic moral logic, something that apparently escapes you.

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rightonoz September 16, 2007 at 6:39 pm

Traynier MIGHT have a point on the Oil grab, which cannot be justified under international law, but then shoots himself in the foot with his Iran comments.

Iran IS a danger, does forment terrorism in Iraq, and anywhere else it suits them. They remain one of the greatest threats to peace (even more so than GWB and Cheney :-) )

Grandaughter number 4 arrived Saturday night All Well!

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Mike September 16, 2007 at 10:07 pm

Congratulations Oz!

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Mike September 16, 2007 at 10:18 pm

Traynier does not have a valid point on the UN Resolution. The US Constitution determines the legality of conflicts led by the United States. (Article I, Section 8). The U.S. never surrendered the supremacy of its own Constitution for the sake of any international agreement. That is basic legal logic and history, something that obviously escapes Traynier.

In addition, I don’t think the U.S. will take moral lectures from someone who thinks the U.S. is as bad as Saddam Hussein or that Iran is not a threat. Even the U.N. doesn’t fall for that one.

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David Traynier September 17, 2007 at 2:43 am

The US Constitution makes all treaties signed by the US -including the UN Charter- part of domestic law. In which case, you’re bound by the Charter, which specifies that you can only take military action in self defence against an ongoing or immediate threat or under the direction of the Security Council. Neither applied with Iraq.

Of course, if you want to argue that the US is above international law, fair enough but, in so doing, you acknowledge that Bush and several other presidents have been towering hypocrites for mouthing off about Iraq’s violations of the same law you so casually disregard.

As for the threat from Iran -you’re always falling for it. Iraq was the greatest threat since Hitler a couple of years ago, with nuclear weapons ready to destroy the world, before that Panama, Grenada, Nicaragua and countless others. Do you remember any of that? Do you remember when your president was telling you that Grenada, a nation of only just over 100,000 farmers was a threat? When will you learn? The US has attacked dozens upon dozens of countries since WWII, virtually all of them defenceless. Stop being so gullible.

What is the threat from Iran? They back Palestinians terrorists/freedom fighters, true but then the US backs Israeli state terrorism on a massive scale. There’s little good evidence that Iran helps the Iraqi resistance -even your own head of the joint chiefs of staff had to publicly distance himself from White House’s anti-Iranian propaganda earlier this year. Nor is it likely that the Iranian government would support the resistance, given that the people in power are already Iran’s preferred choice of government.

Even if some Iranians are helping the Iraqis, why shouldn’t they? The Iraqis want you out of their country and are entitled to self-defence. Every opinion poll taken shows that the resistance in Iraq has the overwhelming support of the Iraqi population -they’re no more terrorists than the French resistance during the Vichy Regime. Moreover, the US aided Afghan fighters against the Soviet occupation -including a certain Mr. bin Laden. Furthermore, the US is currently working with the MEK -officially a terrorist organisation- in Iran and using it to destabilise the Iranian Government. In other words, the US is a state backer of terrorists, trying to overthrow an elected government.

That only leaves the so-called nuclear weapons programme, for which there is zero evidence. The IAEA have found nothing, the CIA reported last November that there is no evidence of a weapons programme, yet all your leaders have to do is click their fingers and you follow like lap dogs.

So what has Iran done to threaten the US? Not much. But then let’s look at what the US has done to threaten Iran:

You’re stated policy is that you want to overthrow the Iranian Government
You’ve invaded two of Iran’s neighbours
You’re backing terrorists within Iran
You’re about to declare the entire 150,000 revolutionary guard a terrorist organisation
You have half your navy in the Persian Gulf
You keep making unsubstantiated charges that Iran is developing nuclear weapons (just like you did with Iraq)
You fund and provide diplomatic cover to Iran’s local rival.
You supported Iraq’s attempted invasion of Iran
You overthrew the democratic government of Iran in 1953
You shot down an Iranian civilian airliner in 1987, murdering hundreds, then gave the man who gave the order a medal.

Stop falling for every line your government spins you. After Iraq you may have had some sympathy because you were fooled but if you fall for the same line yet again then you’ll get no sympathy

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Mike September 17, 2007 at 10:47 am

You are correct that international treaties signed by member nations become part of a nation’s domestic law. However, what you are fail to recognize or choose to ignore is the Supremacy of the Constitution within the domestic law. The Constitution and even Supreme Court interpretations of this have been clear. No treaty which violates the U.S. Constitution is valid law. The Const. spells out how wars are entered into. The U.N. cannot usurup that role.

That well-recognized conclusion raises no hypocricy for me either. Every nation must do what is in its own interests. Iran, Iraq, or whoever may legally act in their self-interest, but if their actions threaten my country, you can rest assured that my country will act, in accordance with the Constitution (or do you only support your own made-up provisions?) to remove that threat.

And as for morals, I’ll take no lectures from someone who pretends that Iran is not a threat to the world. As for your facts, most of them are not and others lack context. The IAEA relied merely on the assertions of Iran over the objections of other nations to give Iran the benefit of the doubt while the IAEA continues to investigate information the Iranians have not turned over as promised several years ago. Get your facts straight next time before you make a fool of yourself again.

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Ryan September 17, 2007 at 4:02 pm

Hey Oz!

Congratulations on the new granddaughter!

I agree with you and Mike on Iran being a real problem that needs to get dealt with seriously at some point soon.

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freeluncher September 19, 2007 at 6:06 pm

Ryan wrote about securing “our oil supplies”.

“Our”? Why is YOUR oil under THEIR sands?

It is not your oil.

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Ryan September 19, 2007 at 7:02 pm

Then again, the Saudis, Iranians and most of the other Arab nations would not even know about their oil if it wasn’t for the British and Americans who found it for them. I’m not saying that this fact means it is “our” oil. However, it is part of “our” oil supply– we get a large percentage of America’s oil from the Mideast region, we do pay for it, transport it and we need it to have a thriving stable modern society. I think this is a problem of semantics.

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freeluncher September 20, 2007 at 11:33 am

semantics, eh?

Do you accept that the owners of a given commodity have the right to sell said commodity to whomever they choose?

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