Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
Stereograms are 3D, optical illusions contained within two-dimensional images that were popularized in the '90s by the Magic Eye book and poster phenomenon. Here and here are two examples. Stereograms are very frustrating not only because of the difficulty involved in finding hidden 3D images, but also for how simple and obvious images appear once discovered.
"The Long War (PDF)" by Kenneth Anderson in the just released March/April The Humanist is similar to a stereogram in that after reading it, the seemingly complicated reasons for invading Iraq appear simple and obvious. For instance, once you suppose that the real reason for the Iraq invasion was OIL as Anderson does, you are free to view the White House justifications for war in their totality, which is revealing:
The Bush administration offered myriad reasons for attacking Iraq before the invasion. All have proved illusory. These pre-invasion justifications had one thing in common, however: they all encouraged immediate military action. Weapons of mass destruction, ties to 9/11, ties to al-Qaida, yellow cake. (Oh, the terrible yellow cake!) Mushroom clouds loomed on our horizon.
So why was the administration hell bent on immediate military action? "The oil law," which most media outlets have avoided much as they have avoided the 14 permanent American military bases built near Iraqi oil fields, might have something to do with it:
To underscore the magnitude of potential profits under such agreements, only seventeen of eighty potential oil fields in Iraq have ever been touched and it is estimated that pumping light sweet crude out of Iraq’s oil fields could cost as little as one dollar per barrel. Up to three million barrels per day is the expected output and, at $50/bbl, this amounts to a profit potential of $100 million per day for participating oil companies.
PER DAY! Why that's almost enough money to justify "the surge":
Of course no foreign oil investment can be realized given the current state of violence in Iraq. It is from this perspective that we must consider why there are no plans, nor have there ever been, for a withdrawal of U.S. troops any time soon.
Are you starting to get the picture? To get the complete picture you'll have to stare at the stereogram for a few minutes by reading "The Long War (PDF)" .