Dear Editor, It has often been said that the main reason for the war in Iraq was oil. The people who espouse this theory are missing the most important point. All governments rule through fear. The situation in a dictatorship is straightforward. People either do what the dictator says, or they and their entire families are put in prison. A democratic government must be subtler. Instead of making people afraid of their own government, a democracy creates a foreign bad guy. For 50 years, the Soviet Union filled that role. In 1990, the Soviet Union was about to collapse and not nearly as scary as it used to be. Bush I seized his golden opportunity to paint our former ally Saddam Hussein as the next Hitler. Bush II recognized that a fourth-rate conventional military power cannot serve indefinitely as the worst enemy of the most powerful war machine on the planet. Therefore, he has given us the war on terror: an amorphous enemy that can never be defeated and will inspire fear in many generations of Americans. The existence of this enemy will make people less likely to question their government; encourage them to think and say things like, “I’ll gladly give up my civil liberties if it makes us safer”; and justify the expenditure of hundreds of billions of tax dollars on bureaucracies and wars supposedly designed to make us safer. The fact that billions of dollars have also been redirected to the corporate supporters of the Bush administration is just icing on the cake.