Sunday | September 15, 2002
A change in policy?
A US congressman on a fact-finding tour of Iraq announced Iraq may allow inspectors back in provided the US drop demands for "regime change". Makes sense. US policy has seemed to be "We'll invade you whether you allow inspectors or not." Therefore, Iraq has no incentive to allow a UN inspection team that would undoubtedly include CIA spies (as has previously been the case).
But has US policy shifted? Many argue Bush' UN speech gave both the US and Iraq a way out by suggesting weapons inspectors would head off US military action. The tactic is a good one -- it mobilizes intense diplomatic pressure on Iraq from an international community desperate to avoid war. If Iraq balks (as the administration so clearly hopes), then the US has the pretext it has been desperately seeking for an invasion. If Iraq relents, then Bush declares victory, arguing that reintroducing weapons inspectors had been his goal all along. A blatant lie, but who would call him on it? Other than the hawkish National Review, no one.
Indeed, it seems as though Bush would benefit more by avoiding war. By getting weapons inspectors back in, his spinmeisters can argue it was his "decisive" leadership (rather than irresponsible war mongering) that forced Iraq to back down. And, he looks wise for avoiding a costly war.
Now, if the administration can realize the benefits of peace, and get Cheney to shut up, they may actually have a chance to pull it off.Posted September 15, 2002 04:28 PM | Comments (6)