I thought the war in Iraq was an error, but I was never among those who thought it was secretly all about oil. Bill Buckley didn't either, but apparently thinks that would've been a dandy reason:
To say that we must not fight for oil is utter cant. To fight for oil is to fight in order to maintain such sovereignty as we exercise over the natural world. Socialism plus electricity, Lenin said at the outset of the Soviet revolution, would usher in the ideal state. He was wrong about socialism but not about electricity. Electricity gives us whatever leverage we have over nature.
To flit on airily about an unwillingness to fight for oil suggests an indifference to the alleviation of poverty at the next level after bread and water. Throw in, perhaps, the wheel. That too is an indispensable scaffolding of human power over nature. But then comes all the power not generated by the muscles of human beings and beasts of burden.
Seeing Buckley's characteristically purple prose deployed in service of this argument evokes nothing so much as a five-year-old tromping around in dad's Armani suit, sleeves flopping down over the hands to scrape the ground. I eagerly await the next installment:
There are those who cavil at the bludgeoning to death of street vendors for their hot dogs. These vain protests can come only from those who fail to reflect on the importance of food and nutrition. For nourishment of the body is that essential precondition for all the further achievements of Western civilization, for every work of art to succor the human spirit, for every lofty tower of steel and glass rising above our mighty centers of commerce… etc., etc.