Iraq war decision lacked vital missing ingredient

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.”

and



“Sanctions and inspections work.

Saddam saw United Nations (newsweb sites) sanctions as “an economic stranglehold” that halted his weapons programs. As long as they were in place, those programs were contained.

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.

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Comments

  1. Jack's Shack says:

    To hasten the day, Saddam turned his cunning to sanctions busting. He bought into the oil-for-food program in 1996 to acquire hard currency that could salvage his rock-bottom economy and pay for potential dual-use equipment on the black market. He personally doled out vouchers, which allowed recipients to buy Iraqi oil at a cheap price and then sell it for a quick profit, to foreign officials and companies, notably in France, Russia and China, that were expected to lobby their governments to lift sanctions. His wiles, said the report, had nearly scuttled the embargo by 2001.
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101041018-713169-2,00.html
    Simply put, there were large numbers of the Security council who had been co-opted by the $$$ they expected to receive from Saddam. There has been a lot of documentation about how this played into their trying to prevent war.

    This corruption had a terrible affect upon the ability to try and force Saddam and Iraq to comply.

    And if you read this article and others you see that Saddam had intentionally presented the appearance of having WMDs.

    People claim that if only the US had waited a little bit longer the inspections would have proven that the cupboards were bare.

    The problem is that you cannot wait forever. There comes a point when you take action because the threat is too great to ignore.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What are you talking about? Before the war in iraq all parties in the UN voted for completion of inspections, bush was the only one who saw such a threat in saddam that he couldn’t hold on two more weeks. There was a uniform approach, the only difficulty was bush didn’t want to be part of it out of fear his reason for war would be rendered false.

    Zeruel

  3. Jack's Shack says:

    Among the bigger issues here is the lack of follow through and uniform action on the part of the security council.

    Had there been some kind of uniformity the war may have been avoided. Hindsight is 20-20, but it would have been nice for the UNSEC to function as designed.

  4. Preceding the int. urge for saddam to disarm, he already destroyed his chemical weapons. Unfortunately, also logically given the dictator’s past, nobody believed it. That’s why there were unmovic inspections, to give clearence about the status and availability of WMD in iraq. IAEA already made certain iraq didn’t possess any nuclear material. If the US would have given unmovic only two more weeks, like french minister devillepin suggested, the UN would have given the world full closure about iraqi possession of chemical and biological weapons as well.

    But bush saw it coming, he could foresee the report of blix deconstructing the claim of iraqi WMD possession as reason for war. There were no WMD’s in iraq and therefore the primary reason to invade would be unveiled as the lie that it was. Bush knew he would never form an int. coalition if the unmovic report was finalized, therefore he attacked prematurely.

    And this was a grave mistake. The pro-war coalition, as small as it was, would have never been assembled if it was known that iraq wasn’t hiding WMD.

    You can’t base int. unity on deception or political pressure. Your accusement must have actual legitimacy. And this clearly wasn’t the case in iraq.

    Zeruel

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