Gates rejects Greenspan claim war is about oil
( Reuters ) - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday rejected former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's statement that the Iraq war "is largely about oil."
With Democratic lawmakers apparently short of the votes needed to force President George W. Bush to change course, Gates defended the war, now in its fifth year, and said it's being driven by the need to stabilize the Gulf and put down hostile forces.
Gates's defense came a day after thousands of anti-war protesters marched in Washington. A spokeswoman for one of the groups who organized the march said more than 200 protesters were taken into custody, including at least 10 Iraq war veterans, when they attempted to cross a police barrier near the U.S. Capitol.
Greenspan, in his new book, "The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World," echoed long-held complaints of many critics that a key motivating force in the war is to maintain U.S. access to the rich oil supplies in Iraq.
"Whatever their publicized angst over Saddam Hussein's 'weapons of mass destruction,' American and British authorities were also concerned about violence in an area that harbors a resource indispensable for the functioning of the world economy," Greenspan wrote.
"I'm saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil," added Greenspan, who for decades had been one of the most respected U.S. voices on fiscal policies.
After more than 18 years at the helm, Greenspan retired in January 2006 as chairman of the Fed, the nation's central bank, which regulates monetary policy.
Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Gates said, "I have a lot of respect for Mr. Greenspan." But he disagreed with his comment about oil being a leading motivating factor in the war.