Monday | September 16, 2002
Saddam poised to allow inspections
Word is Hussein is about to announce he will allow inspections to resume. If the rumors pan out, I wouldn't doubt a condition-laden acceptance by Hussein. Such as -- we allow inspectors, you stop the no-fly zone. If Saddam has that sort of "negotiating ploy" in mind, he might as well not bother.
But, if he offers inspections in exchange for assurances that the inspectors won't be cover for CIA operatives (perhaps by including a large non-US contingent), then I think that would be reasonable. As would be promises that inspections would head off efforts at "regime change".
Realistically, Hussein is in no position to make demands. So he will have to cave or risk ouster by invading US forces. But if he does cave, the US will lose its strongest case for war and we may yet avert bloodshed.
As I mentioned yesterday, Bush would still be able to declare victory, arguing inspections were his intended goal all along. It's a lie that I would be willing to accept if it prevents war. Let the National Review and Richard Perle go ballistic. This is the best possible outcome for all parties involved -- Iraq's WMD programs are disrupted while a full-scale invasion is avoided.
Josh Marshall tackles this very same point, though more eloquently than me:
Certain conservative webloggers who happen to be former editors of the New Republic are crowing about how President Bush's assertive stand on Iraq is making former opponents into allies: the Saudis, the French, the Egyptians, et.al. Actually, this line of reasoning -- this interpretation of recent events -- is pretty widespread. But it could scarcely be more foolish.Again, Bush's supporters will revise history (a la social security "privatization") by insisting Bush's "leadership" achieved the desired outcome. Who cares? Unlike the president and his neocon allies, I am not willing to risk the lives of our soldiers and Iraqis to score political points. Peace trumps war. That'll be one lie I can definitely live with. Posted September 16, 2002 02:56 PM | Comments (0)