GREENSPAN ELABORATES….Alan Greenspan says in his new book that the Iraq war was “largely about oil,” but fails to elaborate further. Today, in an interview with Bob Woodward, he explains what he meant:

He said that in his discussions with President Bush and Vice President Cheney, “I have never heard them basically say, ‘We’ve got to protect the oil supplies of the world,’ but that would have been my motive.”

….”If Saddam Hussein had been head of Iraq and there was no oil under those sands,” Greenspan said, “our response to him would not have been as strong as it was in the first gulf war. And the second gulf war is an extension of the first. My view is that Saddam, looking over his 30-year history, very clearly was giving evidence of moving towards controlling the Straits of Hormuz, where there are 17, 18, 19 million barrels a day” passing through.

Greenspan said disruption of even 3 to 4 million barrels a day could translate into oil prices as high as $120 a barrel — far above even the recent highs of $80 set last week — and the loss of anything more would mean “chaos” to the global economy.

Given that, “I’m saying taking Saddam out was essential,” he said. But he added that he was not implying that the war was an oil grab.

“No, no, no,” he said. Getting rid of Hussein achieved the purpose of “making certain that the existing system [of oil markets] continues to work, frankly, until we find other [energy supplies], which ultimately we will.”

Let me get this straight. Greenspan dropped a single cryptic sentence into his book implying that the Bush administration’s primary motivation for invading Iraq was oil. But now it turns out that he meant only that he thought the most important reason to invade Iraq was to stabilize global oil supplies. That’s some sharp writing there, professor.

And anyway, what’s up with the Straits of Hormuz stuff? That’s a standard wingnut talking point for taking out Iran, but Saddam hadn’t had even the remotest ability to screw up the Straits since at least 1991. What is Greenspan talking about?