2002 September 17 Tuesday
Stanley Kurtz on the US Military's Unspoken Fears

Stanley Kurtz believes the US military is unwilling to state publically the military's real source of reluctance to take on Iraq:

What has not been recognized, in other words, is the extent to which Saddam's possession of weapons of mass destruction has already changed the power equation in the Middle East to the point where the American military itself is reluctant to take on Iraq. In fact, even if America's allies in the region give us the basing to accommodate a Gulf War style build up of a vast invading force (and in truth, we can no longer count on such basing), a slow massing of forces may no longer be a secure way to proceed simply because our forces would be vulnerable to chemical and biological attack. And that is the real reason, I suspect, why the Pentagon hawks are so intent on moving in quickly, with as small a force as possible. A quick strike by a small force greatly reduces our vulnerability to WMD attack.

Kurtz sees a sort of cascading disaster scenario if we back down now out of fear of Saddam's existing stockpile of biological and chemical weapons:

Indeed, if the administration backs down now, and refuses to invade Iraq after all it has said, then Saddam will know that his weapons of mass destruction have succeeded in scaring us off. If that happens, then not only Saddam, but every tin-pot dictator in the world, will be in a race to obtain WMD sufficient to neutralize the vast might of America's military machine. It won't even be necessary to have intercontinental missiles only the wherewithal to deliver chemical and biological weapons against a local American force.

Technological advances can very rapidly upset the balance of forces upon with civilization in a particular era have come to depend. It is reasonable to think that the stability of the world can be suddenly and drastically undermined if the right sorts of technology get into the hands of the wrong sorts of regimes. The stability of civilization is far more precarious than it outwardly appears.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 September 17 03:43 PM  US Foreign Preemption, Deterrence, Containment


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