Sunday, January 26, 2003

To attack Iraq? That's the question of the moment. Tom Friedman has pondered the question deeply, and as we've seen, concluded that the best reason to attack Iraq has nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction; instead, we need to give the people there a better government. But he was ambivalent about war. Guess what? He's still ambivalent:

My gut tells me we should continue the troop buildup, continue the inspections and do everything we can for as long as we can to produce either a coup or the sort of evidence that will give us the broadest coalition possible, so we can do the best nation-building job possible.

But if war turns out to be the only option, then war it will have to be ? because I believe that our kids will have a better chance of growing up in a safer world if we help put Iraq on a more progressive path and stimulate some real change in an Arab world that is badly in need of reform. Such a war would indeed be a shock to this region, but, if we do it right, there is a decent chance that it would be shock therapy.

So Friedman, who doesn't believe himself that Saddam's weapons programs are a proper casus belli, nevertheless suggests that we continue the inspections in hopes that they'd provide something we could use to swindle other skeptics. It'll take a while, at this point; essentially all of the administration's specific claims about Iraqi weapons programs are false, from the much touted aluminum tubes which were almost certainly for conventional rockets, to the "new construction" on satellite photos of the former Tuwaitha weapons site, which turns out to be a few odd shacks.

More than that, Friedman is echoing another piece of utter nonsense that has attained credibility through sheer repetition, that "this can't go on forever". When did the inspection regime become more expensive than maintaining a full-scale army of occupation?

The LA Times link is all over, but I got it from Hesiod.


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