Tuesday | September 17, 2002
Iraq, UN call Bush's bluff
There's was some debate yesterday whether the administration was playing "good cop, bad cop" in order to force Iraq to readmit weapons inspectors. That is, if enough administration types threatened war, then Iraq would be forced by the intense pressure to back down and allow inspections to resume.
I had a problem with the theory, in no small part because of the authenticity of the war lust in the hawkish wing of the administration (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle), and Bush isn't smart enough to manipulate those men for the benefit of some grander scheme.
Well, the Bushies have ended that debate today, rejecting Iraq's unconditional acquiescence to the resumption of inspections and pushing for war authorization both domestically and at the UN:
"It is even more important now for the Congress and the United Nations to act," a senior White House official said.Why is it even more important now? Bush has "won". Iraq is reopening its borders to inspectors. Without conditions. Instead, the US is pressuring the UN Security Council to draft a resolution that would give the US legal authority to attack Iraq if Saddam hinders the work of the inspectors.
The problem with crafting a resolution that allows for imminent use of force to enforce the inspections regime is that Bush would fabricate a confrontation between the weapons inspectors and Hussein, then use that confrontation as pretext for the invasion he so desperately wants.
Indeed, what happens if the inspectors find nothing? There would be two possibilities -- 1) Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction left, or 2) They are doing a great job of hiding them. Number 2 is a curious options, since Bush claims he has satellite picture proof of such weapons. If that "proof" ends up being bunk, then what? Do you think Bush will call it a day, certify Iraq free of WMD, and head home? Hell no. He'll claim Iraq is hiding those weapons and rev up the war drums.
That's why France is backing a two-pronged approach -- one resolution calling for inspections, and a second resolution if the inspections fail. This allows the world community to prevent the US from manufacturing a confrontation with Iraq -- a smart move on their part.
The UN and Iraq have called Bush's bluff. All the war talk by Cheney and co. won't get the world, including the UK, from giving the US free reign to prosecute war against Iraq. Bush is boxed in. He needs to declare victory and move on.Posted September 17, 2002 09:07 AM | Comments (6)