2002 November 10 Sunday
David Ignatius On Hussein's Hobson's Choice

If Saddam could survive in power after the loss of face that would come from giving up many weapons and equipment for making weapons then that would be his best option. But could he survive such a decision? He might be able to get away with a partial hand over of his means of making WMD if he could manage to hide the rest of the equipment well. It might be very My guess is he will pretend he has no weapons of mass destruction or means for making them.

A faction within Hussein's government is said to be urging him to comply with the U.N. resolution. Give up the weapons, they are supposedly telling the Iraqi leader. The real source of Iraqi power is the country's scientific and technical expertise, they contend, which will still be there in a few years when the Americans have forgotten about Iraq again.


But nobody in Hussein's inner circle is thought to be advocating compliance, and for a simple reason: They know that if he reversed course and gave up the weapons he has secretly been accumulating for so many years, it would amount to a disastrous loss of face. The regime's authority would crumble -- and Hussein, his family and inner circle would be more vulnerable than ever to attack.

The problem with the path that the Bush Administration has taken with the UN is that it has provided Saddam with a possible way get thru this crisis without losing power. The UN inspections dance has set up a situation where Saddam might be able to successfully pretend that he's obeying the UN resolution. But it is not possible to persuade Saddam Hussein give up his efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. The whole inspections regime is based on the fiction that inspections can uncover all the weapons and weapons labs and that the UN will sustain firm support for inspections for years. The embrace of this fiction misleads casual observers and allows some politicians and pundits to continue to promote the myth that inspections can stop the proliferation of WMD.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 November 10 10:23 PM  US Foreign Preemption, Deterrence, Containment


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