Saturday, October 05, 2002

UN Resolution

We are making progress on UN approval of our invasion of Iraq. The private memorandum route and the French desire to be seen as prevailing on getting rid of an automatic "trigger" for invasion seems to offer an opportunity.

How about a two-step process like so many are insisting? The first resolution has hard (impossible probably, since Saddam is unlikely to accept anything that might work to deprive him of nukes) terms plus a subtle indication that Iraqi refusal gives us the right to use force. Maybe it can say "in consultation with the international community, member states may enforce the provisions of this resolution. The Security Council retains interest in resolving the issue of Iraqi compliance." We have private consultations with our allies and sign memoranda of understanding that the resolution constitutes approval for war unless the Security Council passes a second resolution instructing member states to stand down military actions to enforce compliance. We promise that if Saddam agrees to the terms and carries them out without conditions we will not veto an appropriate second resolution. We have veto power for anything not acceptable to us.

We would then have given our allies who insist on UN approval the cover they need. If for some reason Saddam does agree, we can insist on sending American divisions into Iraq to implement the first resolution. This would essentially allow us to carry out a creeping stealth invasion by occupying large swaths of northern, southern and western Iraq to support inspections anytime, anywhere. Plus, we’d have control over the oil fields and pipelines and truck routes out to Jordan, so Saddam couldn’t get money by smuggling oil. We could buy the food and medicine for Iraqis in the safe zones. Yep, this will get the international coalition on board. Opponents of the war who refuse to say so and instead insist on an international coalition, will have to either agree to war they really oppose or honestly oppose it. Even Saudi Arabia is preparing to come on board. And the French will probably settle on wording that appears to give them victory but which really favors action by us (if this doesn’t show the folly of UN fetishists, what does?). They want action too, I imagine. The French are investigating a bomb plot on a plane that was going through France. They probably can’t deny that they are targets too despite their "sophistication" in foreign policy. These developments have to worry the stealth opponents.

This risks delaying war past ideal campaign weather but we must insist on fast enough timetables to get around this. Shoot, maybe with safe havens, we’ll get defectors to come over to us en masse. The Iraqis might actually do this for us. Still, I bet Saddam actually believes his propaganda that there will be American blood flowing in Iraqi cities as he tries a last-ditch "Berlin ‘45" defense. He thinks he can beat us. This route might actually be a win-win for us.