" I still can't decipher why exactly Cheney etal want to get into it with Iran in a big way.
Is it the profiteering? To cover up, by complicating, the Iraq disaster? It simply can't be oil, Iran would shut off that pipeline toot-suite. The nuclear thing is too far away to be a real threat right now. So what is it?"
IMO it is the oil, kind of.if susan has asked me, i'd tell her that i don't have a clue.
US hegemony depends on two things: oil to fuel our fabulous lifestyle. And the dollar as reserve currency, which allows us a lot more budgetary flexibility than anyone else, and which depends on oil-producing countries using the dollar for exchange. To maintain hegemony, we need to (at a minimum) maintain a large military presence in the ME (to make sure we keep the oil flowing and protect our clients there), and make sure that anyone who moves away from dollars on oil exchange is punished. We went to war in Iraq to 1) replace Saudi bases with Iraqi ones, 2) punish Saddam for switching to the euro.
Problem is, with Peak Oil approaching and Chinese and Indian demand skyrocketing, we're probably a (say) year away from shortfalls. So it's no longer enough to just protect our clients, we need to 1) make sure we prevent China and India from acquiring huge chunks of the reserves, 2) actually occupy some oil space.
And, as you point out, we fucked up Iraq, which (if nothing else happens), means the Chinese allied Iranians will gain effective control over some, if not all, of Iraq's oil, not to mention it'll make it hard for us to maintain bases there.
So the Iran invasion is because::
1) It has oil and natural gas and we'd like it
2) It is in the most convenient spot for getting oil and gas out of the Caspiran region, and we'd like to occupy that spot
3) It has threatened to move its oil exchange off the dollar
4) It threatens all the goals we had in Iraq
5) Even left alone, Iran would end up supplying China and allowing it to economically rival the US
6) Our clients are Sunnis; increasing Iranian power threatens to shift the balance of power in the ME to Shiites