Two serious falsehoods about war, very hard to uproot, are embedded in the minds of people.
The first is about motivation. Why do the powerful go to war? The most frequent explanation is that they want to seize another country's resources.
In reality, that's almost never true. For it to be true, it would be necessary for those nations to be governed by elites or leaders intent on improving the collective quality of life by means of bloody and costly actions unleashed against other peoples.
That may have been true when humans lived in caves and hunted in small groups, but not when the species evolved, developed agriculture and created the bases of modern societies.
It is absurd to think that the United States went to war in Iraq to seize the oil. The war in Iraq has already cost the American taxpayers $784 billion. If we add the Afghan conflict, the price tag exceeds $1 trillion.
That figure is higher than the cost of the Korean War at current prices. To buy energy from Iraq and resell it is what oil companies do. It is good business for everyone. To seize it through firepower is unaffordable.
To intervene in Syria to plunder that country would be, in addition to a crime, supreme folly. Syria exports fewer than 150,000 barrels of oil a day, and its annual per-capita income is barely $3,400. It is a very poor society, badly managed.
The notion that the motivation of Washington or Paris is to steal the few belongings of that dusty corner of the Middle East is absurd. It would be like killing a blind beggar to steal the pencils he sells.
If the United States wanted to seize a very rich oil-producing country, it could turn north to Canada, but no one in his right mind would consider such madness.