The '70s Origins of Gulf War 2

|'s David Warsh has written an interesting piece about the current war in Iraq that posits it is the continuation of ideas and actions going back to the '70s and '80s. Not sure I'm convinced, but it's worth checking out.

The war in Iraq probably is going better than you?d guess from the up-and-down stream of news coverage. But that doesn?t mean it is going easy. You don?t hear much these days from the Administration about Panama, as in "Iraq is just like Panama, only bigger and farther away."

The reference is to December 1989, when the first Bush Administration ordered the surprise invasion of the little Central American nation bisected by the strategically vital canal. Already we know more about the Republican Guard than we have forgotten about the Panama Defense Forces.

Yet there are certain striking similarities in the rationale behind the Panama invasion and the two wars with Iraq. The first episode was an attempt to deal with the ill-effects of drug money. Iraq has to do mainly with a dictatorial regime supported by oil booty.

To understand the common theme, it is necessary to travel even farther back in time. For the road to Baghdad began with a nearly forgotten incident in the Gulf of Siam more than a quarter century ago.

Read the whole thing here.

[Link courtesy of Jeff Smith]

NEXT: The Arab Screen

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  1. Nick, I think the author forgot to throw in the Tri-Lateral Commission and the Freemasons.

    I also think that, as an economist, he makes a lousy historian. 🙂

  2. What exactly was his overall point? Anyway, I notice that he doesn’t mention militant Islam, which has been a separate force for many years, and which was even a threat to the FSU. Certainly the Saudis having money helped its spread, but the rise of fundamentalism isn’t all about money or oil.

  3. i think what’s interesting about it isn’t the historical perspective per se (at least of the region) it’s that it follows the weft of characters (“George W. Bush, his father before him, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney”) over a generation and tells a story of national redemption (from vietnam) in a personal light. flesh it out a bit and you’d have a good movie 😀 the throwaway conclusion, privatizing the oil wells, could be something out of giant!

  4. Interesting article, but damn this guy needs an editor. There were more spelling errors than Saddam look alikes.

  5. The point was that the story is character-driven, not plot driven. It is worth looking at the way this cast of characters has operated in the past, and continue to operate today.

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