Ideas abound from all sources — government, media, military — on why we are in Iraq, how long we should be there and how we should get out.

A look at history may provide some real answers.

The modern American Empire was born with the 1945 Bretton Woods conference. U.S. dollars were made convertible to foreign governments in gold. In 1970-71, foreigners began to demand gold for their paper dollars. Our government refused, defaulting on its agreement.

Instead, in 1972, we made a deal with Saudi Arabia that their oil would be sold only for dollars and soon all OPEC nations were selling only for dollars.

Imagine, all oil-importing nations had to convert their currency into dollars to buy the oil they so badly needed.

What a deal for U.S. imperialism, allowing it such a dominant role in the world economy.

Time goes on. In 1990-91 Saddam invades Kuwait over their slant-drilling into his oil, after our ambassador to Iraq, April Glasby, tells him the U.S. has no concern about it. But the U.S. invades Iraq anyway. We leave Iraq in early 1991 after giving the Kurds and Shiites millions of dollars worth of weapons and cash to overthrow Saddam. They try, but the U.S. gives a green light to Saddam to suppress them, and he slaughters many.

In late 2000, Saddam, after losing the 1991 war and with his regime weakened by a decade of no-fly-zone bombing, and lack of food, medicine and needed mechanical parts due to U.S.-UK sanctions, starts to sell his oil for euros.

Such a threat to our dollar. We nip this act of terror in the bud by invading Iraq in early 2003 for reasons no one can understand to this day.

Weeks after our war is “won,” Iraq oil is again selling for dollars.

Our man Bremer set this all up for us by issuing 100 executive orders the week before he turned out the light and fled for home.

Order 39 reveals why the Iraqis universally are determined to take back control of their land.

In brief, Order 39 provides for privatization of Iraq’s state-owned enterprises; 100 percent foreign ownership of Iraq businesses; unrestricted tax-free repatriation of all profits made by foreign firms to their home countries; 40-year foreign corporate licenses (oil fields normally last for 30 to 40 years).

The list is designed to turn Iraq into a “free market” economy owned and controlled by foreign conquerors.

Why else would we be building billion dollar fortresses than to protect these spoils of war?

Last year, Iran said it was planning to form an oil exchange for oil exporting nations that would sell their oil only for euros. A number of oil producing countries have voiced interest in joining this exchange, but it appears to be delayed.

Just imagine what this would do to the U.S. dollar. Do you wonder why Iran is at the top of Bush’s hit list?

Bud Deraps, a World War II veteran, is a member of Veterans for Peace in St. Louis. His youngest grandson was killed in Iraq.