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Well, there you have it:

According to Mr. Bush's speech last night, Iraq is anywhere from one to five years before being capable of launching a strike against us. Which is why it's so desperately urgent we hit them... um, tomorrow. {cough}

But the most disturbing thing about this whole scenario is how it plays out if you look at it logically.

There're two axes here: Either Iraq has weapons of mass destruction (WMD), or it doesn't. And Iraq will either use them, or they won't.

That means there're four outcomes, one of which is impossible:

Iraq doesn't have WMD, and won't use them. For me, this is the most likely outcome. You can see it all over the place in our own planning, with the devil-may-care attitude we're showing both about how long this war will last (over quickly enough for Tony Blair to stay PM a day or two, we hope), and the possibilities about retaliation. Then again, that means we're about to send 300,000 combined troops over to a country looking for weapons that don't exist. According to some polling data released during today's Talk of the Nation call-in show, 80% of Americans think Iraq has WMD, and that disarming Iraq is a major criterion for "victory". (Dear 80% of the US: Iraq is likely already unarmed, and you're likely to get a massive disappointment.) Either that, or I would look really carfeully at the serial numbers of whatever WMD we "find" -- especially after the fiasco of the forgery of the documents purporting to show Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger. Also, this is the scenario most likely to generate the previously predicted 1-14 vote in the Security Council calling for sanctions against the US (and maybe the UK, if they're still in the game).

Iraq has WMD, and uses them. But if that's true... then we're sending 300,000 soldiers good and true to basically be burnt to a crisp so the Administration can then justify massive retaliation. And the Administration is doing this knowingly, with malice aforethought. Oddly, this doesn't comfort me. (Marshmallows at the Reichstag, anyone?)

Iraq has WMD, but won't use them. This appears to be the Officially Approved Plan. I hope Mr. Hussein has been properly briefed, and he sticks to the script. But it's the only way to explain the combination of no obvious contingencies for the use of WMD against our trops, intertwined with no apparent hesitation about the fact that months of concentrated effort through inspection, espionage, satellite flybys, and surreptitious signals listening has turned up... radio chatter with nothing else to back it up. {ooh! aah!} Ruel Marc Gerecht appears to have gotten it right in The Atlantic back in July 2001 -- our intelligence agencies appear to have about zero assets in the Near East region. Almost every breakthrough we've had appears to have been done by either the Israelis or the Pakistanis, with Our Boys brought in at the last minute for the photo op.

Iraq doesn't have WMD, but will somehow use them. This is the outcome that's logically impossible. Unless Mr. Hussein just rang up a massive credit card bill tonight. Or unless he just cut a deal with the North Koreans -- who almost certainly do have WMD at this point, which is why the Cowardly Lion treats them with such shyness -- to bomb us on his behalf.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
holyoutlaw
Mar. 18th, 2003 10:27 pm (UTC)
I think #1 is the most likely. Hah!

Although I like #4 for the sheer perversity of it. Yeah!
maureenkspeller
Mar. 18th, 2003 11:47 pm (UTC)
Which is why it's so desperately urgent we hit them... um, tomorrow.

Or, I gather, even sooner than the 48 hours allowed, because Saddam Hussein has now 'refuesd' to leave. Whatever happened to gentlemanly behaviour? If you set a deadline, would it hurt so much just, you know, stick to it, and try to claw back at least one small shred of respectability before falling into a moral pit of one's own digging, so damn deep it's hard to believe anyone could emerge from it with even a vague semblance of integrity.

M.
hal_obrien
Mar. 18th, 2003 11:58 pm (UTC)
Or, I gather, even sooner than the 48 hours allowed, because Saddam Hussein has now 'refuesd' to leave. Whatever happened to gentlemanly behaviour?

Ah. I had not heard that. Though I'm unsurprised.

More than the appropriateness of sticking to one's word -- something Mr. Bush has never been honestly accused of -- there's the sheer military value of holding off. They know it's coming. Everyone expecting it as soon as possible.

Seems to me "at a time we deem fit" is roomy enough to just hold off a week or two... to listen to their nerves fray.

Of course, that would require Mr. Bush to think farther ahead than 15 minutes, an action with which he doesn't seem comfortable.
maureenkspeller
Mar. 19th, 2003 12:06 am (UTC)
It's been reported on the UK Radio 4 news this morning.

More than the appropriateness of sticking to one's word -- something Mr. Bush has never been honestly accused of -- there's the sheer military value of holding off. They know it's coming. Everyone expecting it as soon as possible.

One of the things I've been noticing these last few days is this almost childish impatience to get going, like a kid waiting for Christmas ... let's do it now, now, now; aw, I can't wait another 18 hours. And so on.

Seems to me "at a time we deem fit" is roomy enough to just hold off a week or two... to listen to their nerves fray.

Of course, that would require Mr. Bush to think farther ahead than 15 minutes, an action with which he doesn't seem comfortable.


One would have thought so, but really, I am reminded of a bunch of kids eagerly unpacking a new train set, with that 'can't wait to get it going' feeling.

I now earnestly await the first statement of it 'being over by Easter'. I guarantee you'll hear the explosion of anger on the West Coast.


replyhazy
Mar. 19th, 2003 08:02 am (UTC)
thank you
I thank you for this breakdown. Now I will print it, tape it onto a large baseball bat, and whack the following sets of people on the head with it:

1. People who say "freedom fries"
2. The guy who wants to start a movement to give back the Statue of Liberty
3. The person who left a nasty note in somebody's luggage when he found a "No War" sign in it
4. The owners of the shopping mall who had a guy arrested when he refused to either remove his anti-war t-shirt or leave the premises

Well, they obviously have not a brain in their heads. So whacking them with some clearly-stated facts can't hurt them any.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )