Sunday | May 26, 2002
Iraq invasion loosing steam
The Bush Administration is backpedaling from plans to attack Iraq. No surprise. Bush was eager to keep the nation on a war footing, probably surmizing his high poll numbers depended on it. However, the recent 9-11 disclosures have brought the Bush administration's competence into question. I believe that a few months of investigation leaks will further erode Bush's war glow.
But more importantly, a war against Iraq was always a near impossibility. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait both refused to take part or allow the use of US facilities on their soil. Iran was clearly out. Bahrain was non-commital, but the nation only has naval facilities the US could use. US planners planned on Turkey's help, but Ankara has legitimate fears of Iraq's breakup (including the possible creation of a hostile Kurdistan).
Thus, any invasion of Iraq would have to be carried out by airborne and marine units -- both high risk, high casualty routes. Air power would have to be provided by aircraft carriers and the distant airbase at Diego Garcia. Both would be adequate options for limited-scale strikes, but not to support a full-scale war against Iraq.
Finally, a cornered Saddam would have no incentive to hold back from using chemical, biological, or (possibly, but unlikely) nuclear weapons. And the target would be Israel. International opinion is nearly universally opposed to an attack, while Brittain's PM Blair faced a revolt within his party over initial support. Brittain's support was becoming increasingly unlikely.
Thus, while the Bushies will insist Iraq is still a target, they will do so only to keep the pressure on Saddam.Posted May 26, 2002 06:51 PM | Comments (2)