Tuesday | January 21, 2003
US heading into Iraq alone
Well, after giving Iraq every benefit of the doubt, Bush has reluctantly conceded that contrary to his best hopes, Iraq is not disarming.
Ha ha! In the real world, Bush has his script and he's sticking to it:
It's clear to me now that he is not disarming ... He's been given ample time to disarm. Time is running out.Of course, what's "clear" to Bush has no real basis in reality, since no one else knows what he's talking about. He still refuses to release evidence of Iraqi non-compliance. He refuses to deliver good intelligence to the UN weapons inspectors (and what little has been sent over has yielded nothing). He refuses to make the case even to US allies in the region -- both Saudi Arabia and Turkey continue to oppose any invasion without UN approval. And neither country has fully committed to allow the basing of US forces even with UN backing.
UN backing is all but dead, with France threatening a Security Council veto of any resolution authorizing war. Expect the usual suspects to blather on about how the UN is losing its "relevance" -- defined as "willing to unconditionally back US foreign policy."
In Britain, public support for an invasion is at a woeful 30 percent, despite Blair's best sales push. Outright opposition to the war is at an amazing 47 percent. This may explain recent talk at Downing Street suggesting that war is not imminent (despite Bush's bellicose talk).
In the US, poll after poll has shown a public unwilling to launch an attack on Iraq without UN and solid allied backing. Watch as the Bush starts to demonize the UN, France, Russia, and any other country and international institution that stands in the way of its unwarranted war against Iraq. The ultimate goal -- a public conditioned to accept a unilateral (and probably illegal) invasion of Iraq.
I have maintained from Day 1 that war was not inevitable. The forces now arrayed against Bush are powerful -- domestic public opposition, international opposition, lack of international mandate, lack of allies, poor logistic lines (assuming Saudi Arabia and/or Turkey don't concede), difficult urban warfare, increased terrorism, an expensive war in the era of ballooning deficits, and an expensive rebuilding process (and after Afghanistan, who can claim this administration can carry out the task?).
On Bush's side -- pride, and a fear that "backing down" would make the US look weak in the eyes of the world. I have said before, and say again -- Bush can always claim victory and say "by threatening war Iraq was forced to readmit inspectors and take disarmament seriously". And in that case, Bush would actually be right. But it's clear that anything short of fireworks over Baghdad won't satiate.
After all, his approval ratings are in the low 50s.Posted January 21, 2003 09:57 AM | Comments (80)