From the London Review of Books Jim Holt writes:
The occupation may seem horribly botched on the face of it, but the Bush administaion's cavalier attitude towards "nation-building" has all but ensured that Iraq will end up as an American protectorate for the next few decades - a neccessary condition for the extraction of its oil wealth. If the US had manageaged to create a strong democratic government in an Iraq effectively secured by its own army and police force, and had then departed, what would have stopped that government from taking control of its own oil, like every other regime in the Middle East? On the assumption that the Bush-Cheney strategy is oil-centered, the tactics-dissolving the army, de-Baathification, a final "surge" that has hastened internal migration - could scarcely have been more efective. The costs - a few billion dollars a month plus a few dozen American fatalities (a figure which will probably diminish, and which is in any case comparable to the number of US motorcyclists killed because of repealed helmet laws) - are negligible compared to $30 tillion in oil wealth, assured American geopolitical supremacy and cheap gas for voters. In terms of realpolitik, the invasion of Iraq is not a fiasco, it is a resounding success.