The media’s spin on Alan Greenspan’s Iraq comments

The mediots have been in full-throttle bash-Bush mode (more so than usual) the last couple of days, after a Bob Woodward report in the WaPo on Saturday claimed that Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan stated in a new memoir The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World that the Iraq war really was all about oil.

As Brent Baker notes here, the media was all over this ‘blockbuster’ news. Popular liberal blogs picked up on the story and, of course, ran with it, as if it proved their longtime assertion that Bush started the Iraq war so his and Cheney’s oil pals could get rich.

But, as is customary with the media when reporting supposedly “shocking” comments, Greenspan’s remarks were taken out of context. Mike at The Monkey Tennis Centre explains:

Then, as suddenly as it had begun, it was all over. This morning, Greenspan confirmed that securing global oil supplies was “not the administration’s motive,” although he said he had presented the White House with the case for why removing Hussein was important for the global economy.

This wasn’t in the script. Surely, Greenspan had been bundled into a stealth helicopter by elite Blackwater paramilitaries, and whisked off to a Haliburton bunker deep in the Appalachians, where he was waterboarded into withdrawing his ‘all about oil’ claim? Surely it couldn’t simply be that a retired public figure with a book to sell made a remark that was taken out of context?

Of course, it would be wrong to say that concerns over oil supplies don’t play a part in framing American policy in the Middle East. As Jules Crittenden and Say Anything, among others, have eloquently pointed out, oil has always been a factor, and it always will be until those windmills, solar panels and biofuels can meet the energy needs of the West, or US oil companies are allowed to exploit more domestic sources.

But the Iraq war is about a lot more than oil. It’s about turning the Middle East from a haven for dictators and terrorists into a fully functioning part of the civilised world. And it’s worth pointing out that there’s no oil in Afghanistan (I was going to joke that maybe the US is there so that they can seize control of the world’s heroin trade, but no doubt many on the Left already think the CIA is running that show).

After its brief moment in the sun, the ‘blood for oil’ conspiracy theory has been restored to its proper place on the far-left of the blogosphere. The nutroots are still raging, but once again no one’s listening.

Yep. For a few brief moments, the far left thought they had their Iraq war “gotcha.” Unfortunately, it ended up that Greenspan’s remarks in context didn’t fit the narrative they’ve had drawn up since even before the Iraq war ever started. So now, it’s back to the drawing board.

Jonah Goldberg writes more on the media’s misquoting of Greenspan here.

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