Thursday, December 19, 2002

Material Breach

Countdown to Invasion: 8 days.

We would not declare Iraq in material breach and then wait months before striking. The obvious protest would be “why now after so many months?” Nor would it make sense to start psychological warfare months before invasion. It would dull the impact, it seems to me, to essentially cry wolf. We want their anxieties heightened, not soothed by inaction.

Further, Iraq, like some minor thug who knows the law, says they are not worried “because there is nothing they can pin on us.” They have been winning the legal games for so long that they forgot that America is no longer playing lawyer games with them. It’s the military’s turn.

Making Iraq believe they have weeks or months certainly makes sense. The Iraqis think they have a lot of time to trot out a couple vials of Anthrax to stall the invasion even more, claiming this is really all there is. What, after all, is so key about Blix’s January 27 report? I think we all know that Blix will report that Iraq is complying with the inspectors. Inspections have never been the key. Everyone knows triumphant inspectors will not come marching out of a building in suburban Baghdad holding a VX-filled shell, sheepish Iraqis shuffling along in their wake, with CNN filming the whole episode. Iraq has been and is in material breach and the President’s speech Friday is the beginning of the end game.

Maybe I’m wrong and all those people saying the war is weeks or months away are right, but I think we strike soon.