Wednesday | August 07, 2002
Stay out of Iraq
The Saudis have flat out refused to allow an US invasion of Iraq from their soil. That's about par for the course, following similar rejections from Jordan and Turkey. Kuwait has been cool to using its country as a staging ground, while Iran is obviously out.
That leaves US planners with few options -- either an amphibious assault and/or an airborne assault. Both are extremely high-risk options, much more difficult than driving tanks across a line in the sand.
The only US ally to offer even tepid support is the UK, and what little support they are offering would evaporate if Iraq allowed UN weapons inspectors back into the country. Thus, a US attack of Iraq would instantly transform the US into a pariah state. Colin Powel understands it, the Joint Chiefs understand this, but Bush and the Pentagon's civilian Rambo-esque "leadership" don't care.
Every US war this century has been undertaken with some justification in mind. Even at its most cynical, US military actions at least pretended to uphold some notion of justice, or liberty, or higher ideal. And with such justifications, the US was able to rally at least some international support for its actions.
If the US attacks Iraq with no justification, it will become an obnoxious, dangerous, belligerant bully. Iraq gassed its own Kurds? Yes. Horrible. But that wrong has been partially rectified. The Kurds have a prosperous de facto state in northern Iraq, and no one else has been gassed in decades. Iraq is belligerant toward its neighbors? That was ten years ago. The US, with broad international support and participation, went to war and put an end to that. Presently neither Kuwait, nor any other Iraq neighbor fears Baghdad.
What about Iraqi support for terrorists? No such link has been shown, especially support for Al Queda. Somewhat ironically, the secular Saddam has been a strong opponent of Islamic fundamentalists. Hussein and Bin Laden are at opposite ends of the Islamic ideological spectrum and share little more than their hatred of the US. And what of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction? Many nations harbor such weapons. Will the US mount its own Jihad against nations such as India, Pakistan, South Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil and Argentina? Saddam has shown no inclination to make use of any such weapons he might have. However, an invasion seeking to topple his regime would clearly invite their use.
With all the recent war talk, it was interesting to see Bush carefully back off from the edge. His aides claimed Bush wasn't trying to back off recent threats, but he was. Nothing is inevitable yet.
More on this topic later....Posted August 07, 2002 11:30 AM | Comments (2)