Thursday, September 19, 2002

Still Foolish

The Carnegie people are still promoting their “or else” inspections regime. What rot. (honestly, will serious policymakers kill this idea before I am forced to write about it a fourth time) Talking about shooting our way into areas denied to us by the Iraqis is a recipe for disaster. First of all, unless the force backing the inspectors is an entire corps, it simply risks being surrounded and pounded if the Iraqis fight. Or take the inspectors and troops prisoner. Ruthless dictators have abused troops enforcing UN mandates before. But the Iraqis don’t even need to do that. They could leak word that a local mosque or cemetery has a bio lab buried underneath it, defend it, resist forced entry, and then film the armed inspectors rampaging through the sacred site.

How long will “or else” inspections last after the first one of those incidents happens? The French will run away faster than you can say “Germans are at the border!” (World War II Germans of course, the modern versions wouldn’t save Sudeten Germans if the Czechs were slaughtering them and the UN authorized the move).

The authors of the article try to prove they are really serious about disarming Iraq by arguing that an American invasion would be justified after the Iraqis obstruct this new and improved inspections regime. Yet the way they list all the risks of doing something (and ignore the risks of doing nothing) it is clear that Iraqi resistance would simply lead to a new “I really mean or else” inspection regime with… what?

Face it, yet another inspection regime will fail and give Saddam time to build his weapons of mass destruction. The Carnegie inspection regime is folly. It pretends to be tough but is really designed to buy time to kill the invasion with delay. String out the inspections long enough and we are in presidential primary season. Too political to debate then! String it out a little more and it is a presidential election year. Too political! Stretch it out a little more and Iraq has enough chemicals, bio weapons, and maybe a nuke or two to threaten too much damage to us or our friends. Too late to do anything.

Oh, except the enlightening congressional inquiry over what went wrong in 2002 and why we failed to act.

Invade Iraq. That will disarm Saddam.