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B.A.G.’s Partly Political Broadcast

Bentley's Absurd Gait

‘It’s all About the Oil’

Since I began posting on this board, you, my fellow Zoners may have noticed that I am a contrary fellow who relishes a good argument. I’m not sure if I was made this way, but I do know that there were three years of my life that were pivotal in my development as an awkward sod.

I was not exactly a mature student, but I entered the London School of Economics at the age of 21, having spent the previous three years in the Queen’s Own Royal Hussars (now the Queen’s Royal Hussars fact fans). LSE is renowned as a politically radical university, which translates as more left-wing than Mitchell Cole and Shami Chakrabarti’s love child. My own political affiliations have been described as somewhat to the right of Genghis Khan, so you can imagine that I was not really ‘in step’ with the ideological rhythm of the student body.

One of my courses was officially titled ‘The Politics of the Middle East’. I preferred to think of it as ‘Why the US and Israel are Horrid’. In retrospect, I was probably looking for trouble when I selected this course option, as I had read extracts from books penned by the Lecturer, and they really didn’t tickle my fancy as a half-American Jewish ex-soldier. In the first seminar, where I revealed myself to be the personification of all that was evil, I felt about as welcome as a Republican in Hollywood.

One of the early discussions concerned the reasons for the first Gulf War. The (almost) universal consensus was ‘Oil!’, ‘US Self-interest!’ and ‘Western Imperialism!’ I exhausted myself trying to argue the opposite point of view, citing Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, and our responsibility to protect the sovereignty of nations from aggressive dictators. I mentioned the atrocities perpetrated by Saddam’s troops that I had personally witnessed in Kuwait, but my radical friends were unmoved. We were the bad guys because we were fighting for Oil and Western self interest.

Now, with the benefit of hindsight and wisdom aided by maturity (comparatively speaking), I realize that they were right, to a degree. We were fighting for US and Western interests, and not for any noble notion of freedom.

And so what?

Why should we not act to safeguard our interests? Is it such a terrible thing to ensure that we have access to such a vital resource? Do we really want to have a psychotic despot like Saddam sitting on top of a significant part of the World’s fuel supply?

My main gripe with the US and UK governments on the issue of justification for war in Iraq is their lack of balls. Put some fuzz on your peaches and tell it like it is. ‘We’re going over there to get that *******’s finger off the oil switch, and when we’re done with him we’re taking Iran next’. The left and radical Islam is going to hate you whatever you do. The right is peeved with your constant half truths and craving for approval from those who you can never satisfy. If you’re going to be attacked as the Great Satan, you may as well act like him.