Project for the New American Century

Chris Olds colds at
Sun Apr 6 18:41:56 PDT 2003

On Sun, 6 Apr 2003, johnhall wrote:
<snip />
> Saddam _did_ have a legitimate opportunity to prove the US was wrong.
> He didn't take it.  I could have written a script which would have
> resulted in not only no invasion but no more sanctions, either.  Throw
> the doors wide open, bus every scientist to Kuwait for interviews,
> destroy all the stocks.
> Once the oil started flowing again after sanctions, it could all be
> rebuilt.
> Saddam wasn't that smart.

Even though I might be suspected of disagreeing with you as a reflex (and
the difference is hard to see, even if it is there), I have to say that
this scenario does seem like the optimal solution to getting out from
under sanctions.  Destroy everything, invite credible foreign observers to
make video as you do it, give the inspectors more than they ask for, then
start rebuilding after everyone leaves.

So why didn't he do that?  Regardless of one's opinion of his
intelligence, he's a very successful player in a region with brutal power
politics, and he has smart (if opportunistic ) people around him.  

My suspicion (w/o evidence, at this point) is that what we see as the
obvious winning play wasn't available to Saddam due to cultural factors.
Throwing open his secrets would be seen as weakness, and he might not
survive long enough to carry out the second phase (rebuilding, again in

Does this mean I think the war is justified?  At this point, my answer is
still no.  I think that it might have been possible to justify a war
against Iraq, but the current war (against Saddam himself) isn't it.
Not that the administration cares about justification...


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