Sunday | January 26, 2003
...And Meanwhile, Regarding Iraq...
Today has been a day of conflicting signals about where the United States is going on Iraq. Secretary of State Colin Powell made a spirited but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to convince Europeans that there was evidence of Iraqi noncompliance. He also stressed in Davos, Switzerland today that the US was quite prepared to go it alone without Europe if necessary, but his tone seemed to imply that action to invade was not imminent and could take months rather than weeks.
As a further indication that others outside the Administration will be slowing this down and gaining necessary international support, Senate Foreign Relations committee chair Richard Lugar of Indiana told the BBC today that the US will be going back to the Security Council as early as Wednesday for a second resolution to force Iraq to disarm. Thus, any thoughts or comments by the president in the SOTU that we should get ready for war, or that a second resolution isn’t necessary is not supported by the GOP’s leading Senator on foreign policy.
And as for what is in the inspectors’ report that will come out tomorrow, the Los Angeles Times is already reporting that no evidence has yet been found to corroborate Administration assertions of an active WMD program, and earlier CIA “leads” given to the inspectors led to nothing.
All of this leads to an interesting scenario, where the following may occur: the report provides no evidence of a “material breach” significant enough for an immediate UN vote for war; a second resolution is debated by the Security Council calling for immediate additional commitments by the Iraqis, while the US stews and considers going alone, our credibility in tatters; we warehouse over 250,000 troops in the region for what may be months during the Iraqi summer while the inspectors keep looking, at a significant cost to our economy, and keeping our markets and economy on edge all the while.
Bush has set this up so that the only way for the Administration to keep out of this nightmare is to go in alone in the next 30-45 days, thereby making things difficult for Tony Blair.