Some solid ideas and thoughts in this piece. My selections:
“So the Bush administration, along with countless others, was dead wrong in insisting Saddam was sitting on vast stockpiles that he could pass on to terrorists or use to threaten the region – a fact Bush conceded Thursday.
Which means the invasion of Iraq to remove those supposed stockpiles could have been avoided.
Or could it? The other clear option at the time – leave sanctions and weapons inspections in place – was also flawed and dangerous. Saddam, the report Wednesday said, intended to restart his programs once sanctions were lifted and inspectors were removed. He had good reason to count on that. France, Russia and others, hoping to revive lucrative oil and other contracts, already had managed to erode sanctions significantly since 1991. In the process, they had convinced the Iraqi dictator that all he needed to do was play a game of deceive-and-delay.
Forcing him to comply was essential.
The graver U.S. mistake – and there certainly was one, despite Bush’s insistence that the war was justified – lay elsewhere: Bush’s failure to balance his determination to disarm Saddam with patience.”
“Sanctions and inspections work.
They require international unity and a credible military threat. Aided by France and Russia, Saddam eluded the sanctions. He siphoned money from a U.N. program under which oil revenue was to go only for food and medicine, smuggled oil out of Iraq and bribed foreign officials. Bush’s insistence on putting an end to the cheating was essential. But steady pressure might have persuaded Saddam to follow Libya or South Africa, which eventually admitted to weapons programs that were dismantled.”
International unity, I wrote about that numerous times. What would have happened if the UNSEC would have worked together, instead of against each other.