There is an argument being made now by Hans Blix and all the usual suspects for letting the UN weapons inspections run on for months until more hotter "smoking gun" evidence is found against Saddam. The argument is not convincing for a number of reasons. Here are some reasons for attacking sooner rather than later:
Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution lays out arguments against delay in the Financial Times of London.
Some will argue that inspections are working. But disarmament is the goal, and it is not happening. Iraq has failed to account for large quantities of precursor chemicals, biological growth media and other dangerous technologies that we know it imported or produced at one time. This is not a US conclusion; it is a UN conclusion based on inspections in the 1990s as well as Iraq's seriously incomplete weapons declaration of last December 7. The US has done a poor job of reminding the international community about what we know, and how we know it, and must radically improve its diplomacy to develop a strong coalition for war in the coming weeks.
The Financial Times also reports on Turkey's reluctance to allow US troops to attack Iraq from Turkey.
Turkey's stated intention of giving "limited" support to any US-led war on Iraq means restricting the number of troops that Washington could deploy in a second front to overthrow Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi leader, officials and analysts said at the weekend.
If the United States had attacked Iraq last winter while the less Islamist government was still in power in Turkey it is very likely that the US could have struck a better deal with Turkey over Iraq. This demonstrates the danger of waiting: more new things can go wrong. Can we count on continued political support from Kuwait or Qatar if we delay for most of 2003? Delay gives domestic opponents in each Middle Eastern supporting country time to organize opposition and use various means (possibly including terrorism) to pressure their governments. The regional media are beating the drums against war. Also, there are signs that Jordan's King Abdullah may be backing out of allowing Jordan to be used as a jumping off point into Iraq..
Jordanian’s monarch Abdullah II has developed cold feet on his armed forces’ role in the US campaign against Iraq, a mere two weeks after Turkey held back permission for US forces to use its bases as staging posts for its invasion of Iraq from the north (as first revealed in DEBKA-Net-Weekly on Jan. 10) – halting the transfer to Turkish bases of American armored divisions, warplanes and naval units. Abdullah followed suit by backtracking on his previous consent for additional US forces to ship out to Jordan to build up the invasion force on the Western sector.
The United States does not have an infinite amount of military or diplomatic resources. The US needs to invade Iraq and get it over with so that attention can be shifted toward other pressing matters. Also, an invasion of Iraq should result in an intelligence bonanza as Iraqi intelligence agents with links to regional terrorist groups are rounded up and interrogated.
By the way, the need to attack simultaneously into all of Iraq's regions at the outset is illustrated by a StrategyPage.com map of Iraqi missile ranges from three different launching points.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2003 January 19 03:13 PM US Foreign Preemption, Deterrence, Containment|