President Obama gave a really mundane speech last night on the departure of combat troops in Iraq. Apparently we won. Exactly what did we win? Not a lot really. This wasn't a President Bush 'Mission Accomplished' speech as even the most ardent supporter of the conflict realize that we accomplished little...

Despite having an election five months ago there is no duly elected government in Iraq. Political parties jockeying for power will continue. Political, ethnic and religious minorities will turn on each other as they have done for hundreds of years.

The rationale for going to war with Iraq was of course WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction), which we never found, and it became embarrassingly apparent that Iraq never had any.

The Bush led US administration changed the reason for war, to Saddam Hussein's alliance with Al-Quada, which by association would make him a partner in the 9/11 attack. The Hussein regime unfortunately had no alliance with Al-Quada terrorist cells and Saddam never trained or supported Islamic fundamentalist groups.

The last thing Saddam Hussein needed was a fundamentalist jihadist group stirring up things in his own country. He had no use for them and never supported them. Dictators usually isolate themselves and never seek political alliances.

The final reason for war, made after the invasion, was Iraq's misuse of United Nations approval of Oil-for-Food aid being converted into embargoed goods. Weapons, foreign currency and non-humanitarian goods were cited. Much of the money siphoned off this programme was used to prop up the Hussein regime.

This was a UN problem and should have been resolved there. The UN of course opposed the invasion of Iraq.

Give a kid a hammer, and every problem looks like a nail. President Bush had a huge hammer and Iraq was the nail. Unlike his father, President Bush was a weak and easily manipulated President. Conned by his National Security advisors and VP Dick Cheney into making a decision which cost much in lives and in damaging the economy.

So why did we invade Iraq?

Oil would be a good rationale. Oil companies seem to be behind every murky political intrigue. However big oil companies frown on civil wars or regional unrest, as it tends to interrupt their flow of revenue.

A stable Iraq, with Hussein in power, was more advantageous to oil companies. The vast majority of our oil comes from countries with Saudi Kings, Political Dictators and Presidents for Life.

Destabilizing a neighbor of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates would not have been in big oil's interests.

So the oil companies are off the hook.

I don't believe anyone knows when the decision was made, or why Iraq was invaded. President Bush who declared himself 'The Great Decider' may know. The American public were duped into believing WMD existed, Iraq was a haven for terrorists and Saddam was planning to take over neighbouring oil rich countries.

None of these are true of course and history will leave a large question mark on the reason for invasion.

The 50,000 troops left behind as a rear guard will realistically be drawn into combat. This is an inevitable prediction. Sit on the railway line long enough, your going to be hit by a train.

The US Troops freed up from combat service in Iraq are now, after a short R&R. being redeployed in Afghanistan.

Anyone remember why we are in Afghanistan...

Across the Pond