Jonah Goldberg

In other words, Greenspan favored the war on the grounds that it would stabilize the flow of oil, even though that wasn't the war's political underpinning. "I was not saying that that's the administration's motive," Greenspan told Woodward, "I'm just saying that if somebody asked me, ŒAre we fortunate in taking out Saddam?' I would say it was essential."

So let's get back to Lantos, who agreed with the misconstrued Greenspan that it was "obvious" we went to war for oil. What's funny - though not really ha-ha funny - is that Lantos voted for the war. If it was so obviously a war for oil, why did he vote for it? Unless, of course, he thinks it's hunky-dory to go to war because of oil - though that didn't sound like what he was trying to say.

As several politicians and officials noted over the weekend, no White House briefer ever told Congress that this was a war for oil. The debates in Congress didn't say this was a war for oil. Bush never gave a single speech saying this was a war for oil. (If oil was all Bush wanted, he hardly needed to go to war to get it.) So why is it "obvious" to Lantos that it was a war for oil?

Perhaps the answer is that when it comes to bashing Bush about the war, no accusation is inaccurate - even if it contradicts all the accusations that came before. Some say it's all about the Israel lobby. Others claim that Bush was trying to avenge his dad. Still others say Bush went to war because God told him to.

Which is it? All of those? Any? It doesn't seem to matter. It's disturbing how many people are willing to look for motives beyond the ones debated and voted on by our elected leaders.

The last time Greenspan made a gaffe of sorts, his comment about Wall Street's "irrational exuberance" sent worldwide markets into a tizzy. This latest gaffe is more ironic because it was so plain-spoken, but it also managed to call attention to a case of irrational exuberance - among Bush-bashing war opponents.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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