Middle Eastern oil not worth the effort

As President Barack Obama readies a new advisor surge in Iraq, we can sense the eerie similarity with Vietnam. In each case we intruded on a civil war âÄî Iraq has two or three such conflicts. Each action had a doubtful motive, i.e. the Gulf of Tonkin attack in Vietnam and the âÄúmushroom cloudâÄù mythical weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Our interventions followed a similar course: Start with air power, then introduce âÄúadvise and assistâÄù trainers for whichever faction we pick, and finally our boots on the ground enter the fray. When Vietnam failed, we picked up what remained of our material and went home. But in Iraq, we follow each failure with a new surge. Iraq is one of the artificial countries created by the British and League of Nations mandates after World War I. Its disparate Sunni, Shia and Kurdish elements donâÄôt want to be together, and Iraq is destined to come apart. Our attempt at fusion in Iraq is about as difficult as nuclear fusion for commercial electric power. Positively charged hydrogen atoms donâÄôt want to be together, and only the sun has the conditions for that process. In Vietnam and Iraq, U.S.-backed local governments did their own thing, alienating much of the country. Poorly motivated local armies waste our training and supplies. We persist, thinking that we need Middle Eastern oil or that we have to occupy various countries to prevent a domestic terror attack. Rising Western Hemisphere production means that we no longer need Middle Eastern oil. Occupying Muslim countries is not possible. LetâÄôs take one lesson from Vietnam and stay home.