Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Iraq. Attack?: I think the biggest weakness was playing with the U.N. What I mean is that if we can safely assume that Saddam has been in violation of the various and sundry resolutions from day 1 (a la the argument that the war never ended), then one could safely argue that there was no agreement NOT to continue the war. Problem is, we and everyone else let it appear that the war was in fact over, and that to start it up again, we needed cogent, tangible reasons. By virtue of that (and feel free to blame Bush I or Clinton), we then tacitly said that unless he invades Kuwait again, or is testing nuclear weapons in Israel, we're not going to do anything other than contain him. Now, can you argue that Sept. 11 changed the deal? Well, sort of. The point is that there's no juicy evidence that shows Saddam helping out with that attack. Or, stated differently, Saddam hasn't really changed his tune over the past 10 years, so why now is it imminent to get him out? This then goes back to my central argument that by at least tacitly playing by the U.N. rules all along, and ignoring Saddam while the economy was so good (am I being too cynical?), we trapped ourselves into a corner. Now, we try to get out of that corner by arguing the rules of the game that the U.N. created...except when we don't. Basically, this is a microcosm of Bush II: good intentions, clear direction; bassackwards communication and persuasion.