August 2, 2002


Sizing up the Iraq war scenario (Anthony H. Cordesman, 8/1/2002, The Washington Times)
The U.S. may well be moving toward launching the first major pre-emptive war in its history. If the U.S. does go to war with Iraq, it will not be because of any recent Iraqi act of aggression, evidence of Iraqi terrorism, or Iraqi conventional military build-up - the U.N. embargo has deprived Iraq of any major arms imports for more than a decade. It will go to war because Iraq is led by a tyrant who is too dangerous to tolerate by containment and because he is covertly building up his capability to deliver chemical and biological weapons, and may be able to acquire nuclear weapons.

Regardless of whether we say so publicly, we will do so because he sits at the center of a region with more than 60 percent of all the world's oil reserves. [...]

There is, however, one thing of which we can be certain. There will be no true victory unless we make a firm national commitment to rebuild a moderate Iraq of the kind that Iraqis inside Iraq want, rather than simply defeat Saddam. [...]

Saying that any leader is better than Saddam, and leaving Iraq to its equivalent of Afghan warlords, and/or saddled with a massive debt and wartime reparations bill because of Saddam is an act of moral and ethical cowardice. Doing nothing to ensure nationwide internal security and stability while Iraq's divided Sunnis, Shi'ites, Kurds and Turkmen find a lasting political solution to their divisions and rivalries is simply dishonorable.

Here's an essay by the previously mentioned Tony Cordesman, who we''ll all be seeing a lot of if we do attack Iraq. Though eminently moderate, as always, I think he's wrong about that last bit. It seems legitimate to reserve the right to tell a people that they can't have their current regime without then taking on the responsibility
for replacing it for them. We may well decide to stay and rebuild a new Iraq, but there's no reason that we have to. Why not just let the Sunni reestablish a smaller state, the Shi'ites presumably meld their territory into Iran and the Kurds have a nation of their own? (Sure, the Turks will be upset, but if the Palestinians get a state, why not the Kurds?)
Posted by Orrin Judd at August 2, 2002 8:29 PM
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