Greenspan clarifies Iraq war comment

 

Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said he told the White House before the Iraq war that removing Saddam Hussein was "essential" to secure world oil supplies, according to an interview published this morning.

Mr Greenspan, who wrote in his memoir that "the Iraq war is largely about oil," said in a Washington Postinterview that although securing global oil supplies was "not the administration's motive," he had presented the White House before the 2003 invasion with the case for why removing the then-Iraqi leader was important for the global economy.

I'm saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil.
Alan Greenspan in his new book The Age of Turbulence

"I was not saying that that's the administration's motive," Mr Greenspan said in the interview. "I'm just saying that if somebody asked me, 'Are we fortunate in taking out Saddam?' I would say it was essential."

In his new book, The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, Mr Greenspan wrote: "I'm saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil."

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates yesterday rejected the comment, which echoed long-held complaints of many critics that a key motivating force in the war was to maintain US access to the rich oil supplies in Iraq.

Mr Gates said: "I know the same allegation was made about the Gulf War in 1991, and I just don't believe it's true.

"I think that it's really about stability in the Gulf. It's about rogue regimes trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. It's about aggressive dictators."

In the Postinterview, Mr Greenspan said at the time of the invasion he believed like President George W. Bush that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction "because Saddam was acting so guiltily trying to protect something".

But Mr Greenspan's main support for Saddam's ouster was economically motivated, the Postreported.