With the 'closing of the frontier', the US entered the 20th century with murderous and rapacious impulses that could no longer be sated by killing and stealing from the domestic population. Campaigns in Cuba, the Philippines, and throughout Central America absorbed some of this energy, but in the wake of WW II our thieves and murderers saw opportunities that the American people would not support, and so the CIA was born.
The initial impulse of the CIA was to work with gangsters and mafias. Mafias, with a little help from their friends, are self-supporting engines of destruction, reliably rendering self-government impossible. With funds from the French Connection, democracy in northern Italy was prevented, and the pattern of using narco-trafficker money to fight democracy was repeated in SE Asia, Afghanistan, and Colombia.
American policy always favored supporting dictatorships, however, and in the mid-80s a rogue, and quite literally insane, hidden policy of supporting death squads began to vie with supporting mafias. As effective as death squads were at killing hundreds of thousands of people, they posed the risk that self-government might arise even in a death-squad nation.
The solution was, in retrospect, obvious- combine the death squads with the narco-traffickers, as we now see in Colombia, where Uribe rules in cahoots with the paramilitaries, and "wins" elections by having the opposition murdered.
But what of Iraq? There we have a two-pronged strategy, of Albanian and Georgian mafias trafficking the widespread misery of the Balkans, the middle east, and through to Afghanistan, and the death squad approach favored when the need to prevent self-government exceeds the ability of contraband traffic to disorganize the state. A further complication is that the substance most widely smuggled in Iraq is oil, which the US actually wants to openly monopolize, thus making self-defeating the normal tendency to finance social disintegration by contraband trafficking. Another complication is that the forces of "morality", usually harnessed in the service of reactionism , and in creating prohibitions that are necessary to stimulate a contraband traffic- in Iraq and Iran these forces of "morality" are opposed to the US.
Meanwhile, "back at the ranch", American Drug Prohibition ensures that, whatever the outcome in foreign lands, gangsterism will continue to erode our own ability to govern ourselves. Sic transit gloria.