Friday, March 07, 2003

Why did he even bother?: Brooks gives a nice viewpoint on last night's speech (which, while perhaps necessary to hear from the President, he said absolutely nothing). I understand how Bush wants to seem like he gave the U.N. (and Iraq) every chance to play ball, but if you say all along that you're going to do whatever you want, despite any opposition, why bother participating in the international dialogue in the first place? Instead, announce in January, that unless Saddam has complied completely and utterly with the ORIGINAL resolution(s), you're going in on March 15, 2003 (beware the Ides of March). What you do by virtue of that move is to force the Frances and Germanies to see whether they can broker a deal in 3-plus months, because there is a very certain hammer going to fall if they don't. What Bush has done instead, is incrementally ratchet up the pressure, giving vague deadlines, vague objectives, and uncertain possible consequences. This gives Saddam the excellent opportunity to SEEM as if he's complying with the minutiae, while the big picture remains unchanged. If you ask me, Bush fell right into the hands of Saddam on this one. It's either all or nothing. By letting the watered-down U.N. inspection regime call the shots, you lose momentum, and have to constantly answer questions as to whether the process is working. If you have no intention of doing anything but what you decide, screw the process. Having said all of the above, I'm not convinced we should go in. I'd rather worry about N. Korea right now, as opposed to tying up 250,000 troops in a wasteland.

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