So Saddam Hussein is one of those nasty dictators that the world would be safer without. And we, in the land of the free, have heard quite a bit of revelry over the past month about how sensible it will be when the United States takes on this madman, again. But when he declared during the outbreak of the Gulf War that it would be “the mother of all wars,” the kook was on to something. After a seven-year pregnancy, we’re now looking at the birth of a bastard war.
On Monday, the U.N. secretary-general called for less restrictive embargoes on Iraq. Recent efforts on behalf of nations around the world suggest that this whole mess can be brought to a peaceable end. Lest we forget, however, Clinton’s legacy is in the prime of its development stage. If suggestions from network media, the Pentagon and the nation’s heads of state are indicative of what will happen, the United States is ready to ignore the United Nations — even though it has served as the chief arbitrator thus far — and let the cannons fly.
President Clinton appears to be doing well pretending that he’s the leader of the civilized world. He’s even ducking under a banner of “make love and war,” even though he’s demonstrated more skill in covering up an illicit sex scandal than making a diplomatic settlement with Iraq.
Americans are making it easy for him, too. Somewhere around 73 percent of us approve of the job he’s doing. Of course Al Gore is licking his chops on this one, all thanks to the guns and stunts being pulled by his term-limited boss.
Yet we can’t really be foolish enough to believe that even if U.S. forces wipe Baghdad entirely off the face of the planet, the technological know-how for simply building more and more Iraqi weapons will disappear too. Any Iraqi weapons expert, Hussein loyalist or anti-West sympathizer will inevitably remain equipped with the technology necessary to start the whole mess over again. A computer disk, with blueprints for weaponry, is all that any warlord needs — whether it’s hidden in a presidential palace or in an outhouse just east of Kuwait.
The cycle of “my bomb is bigger than your bomb” will continue to escalate.
Hussein has demonstrated that he’s hell bent on avenging round one of this Gulf mess. To date, no one in the defense department or the White House has suggested that they have the foggiest idea of how the military might change the dictatorship he commands.
Defense Secretary William S. Cohen even announced last week that if the United States “has to resort to military options, we should not overestimate what they will in fact achieve.” He explained, “You can never have a complete elimination of weapons of mass destruction simply by attacking them from the air.”
Common sense would suggest that he’s right on at least one level. But at the same time, does this mean we’re really just going to have to hear about the necessity for more intensive measures? It sounds like a propaganda machine revving up its engines, one that most of us probably never even realized had been running for the last seven years.
And we thought Hussein was kidding when he christened “the mother of all battles.”
Straight out of the conspiracies depicted in the movie, “Wag the Dog,” many believed James Carville when he stated recently, in regards to the Clinton sex scandals — that there is a war being waged on the presidency. The truth be told, the war is being waged on Clinton’s behalf.
The timing of this planned attack on Iraq fits too conveniently into Clinton’s last hurrah. He is trying desperately to make a statement about both his international solvency and his legacy at home.
Regardless of what the polls say folks, just hold the hype and hoopla for another war in Iraq. If we don’t, we’ll soon be the first casualties. And with every passing day, the eyes in Washington will get glossier.
We’re going to have to watch Madeleine Albright continue to do her best in convincing the rest of the world that the United States is right in going it alone to bust heads in the Middle East, the undisputed powder-keg of the world. As she told leaders around the world in her recent multinational trip, the United States is attempting to coerce Hussein into complying with the terms of the U.N. sanctions. If he fails to comply, Albright has promised to the heads of state around the world that the United States will use a “substantial” military strike in forcing him to do so.
When in doubt, she’s telling them, the United States will harm but, of course, not kill the man in attempting to change his behavior. Remember: besides being illegal, assassinations are un-American. And this is only the second progeny of “the mother of all battles.” There’s got to be more where this one came from.
Albright is citing Iraq’s previous attacks — in a war that was supposed to have been settled long ago — against Kuwait, Israel and Saudi Arabia as well as Hussein’s use of chemical weapons on his own people to demonstrate the dangers the United States faces. Albright might even suggest that the United States can single-handedly resolve tensions which have existed for milennia. So far, Great Britain has been the only nation to express any kind of support.
Judging by where we are at now, the multilateral attempt to solve the Kuwait crisis — no matter how well- or ill-intentioned — accomplished less than it failed in doing. Yet we’re still being led to believe that a unilateral fight is ours for the taking.
Clinton and Albright continue to give the United Nations the finger, even though Albright maintains that multilateral support of military actions is always better. At the same time, we’re still stuck with this created image of having supposedly done everything possible to avoid a confrontation. A military strike is going to eliminate more chemical weapons than aborted diplomacy, and 2+2 is 5.
Yes, the world would be a better place if someone was able to put an end to Iraq’s build-up of weapons of mass destruction. Yet destroying them with weapons of mass destruction will create only more weapons of mass destruction.
Gregory Borchard’s column appears every Thursday. He can be reached with comments via e-mail at [email protected]