CHRIS MATTHEWS: Why is the President saying it's wrong to say this war was about oil or Israel. I can see where the Israel part would be sensitive, but why is he denying this was about oil? Does he think anybody think we would go into Iraq if it was down in the Congo or Bolivia. It's oil that makes that such a sensitive area, isn't it?
RICHARD HAASS: On one level, you're right. It's the strategic background to everything we do in the Persian Gulf. But it is fair to say that oil was not the thing that led the United States to pull the trigger. The people who are arguing for this war were not basing it on access to oil. They were arguing it on weapons of mass destruction, on the idea we would transform Iraq or the region politically. This was not a war about control of oil.
MATTHEWS: Even though there were promises made around the edges that we would get cheaper gas?
HAASS: Some people thought that. But as you know now, it's producing less oil been of that the war it was never a war about gaining oil supplies. It's always the left that talks about the economic motives to American foreign policy. The kind of thing the Marxists did for years, they were wrong then and they're wrong now. American foreign policy -- for better or for worse -- tends to be motivated by ideas, not things like oil.
MATTHEWS: Do you think that's true of Cheney?
HAASS: Very much.
MATTHEWS: Really? I think of the first resident Bush and Jimmy Baker who said the issue of going into Iraq the first time was jobs, jobs, jobs, he was right there saying it wasw about oil. These are guys from the oil patch. You've got a Vice President from Halliburton. You're telling me this has nothing to do with oil, that fact that we're over there fighting these wars?
During the time Matthews was going on about his conspiracy theories of why (the last thing he said) we're over there because of oil, Richard Haass was laughing. DOWNLOAD - .WMV