March 2003

2003 03 30
What’s stupid and what’s not? A scorecard for the current debacle


With all the second guessing now about the war plan, I think it’s worth sorting out which parts of the current plan were stupid and which were not. With things going badly, the tendency is to think that the plan was stupid from start to finish. I think this is mistaken. (It’s a stupid war, of course, but that’s a distinct issue from how well it might be fought.) Getting clear on this will help to sort out the reasonable critics of the war plan from the critics who will complain under any circumstances.

Here is a scorecard rating four different aspects of the current plan:

i) Assuming that the regime as a whole was very shaky and that it might collapse very quickly “like a house of cards”.

With everyone teasing Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz et. al. now, I think it’s worth pointing out that they could marshal a certain amount of empirical support for this assumption. Sure, it’s fun to see the gang getting their noses rubbed in it (especially because it gives the lie to the popular notion that the dovish crowd has a monopoly on naivete). But Basra is, after all, the place where the uprising started in 1991. True, many people chose to sit out that round too (conveniently overlooked before the war). What the incident revealed was widespread loathing of the regime and a genuine desperation for change on the part of many ordinary Iraqis.

Besides the many attempted coups over the years, the experience of Desert Fox, for example, provided more support for the view that S.H.’s regime was a “house of cards”. In 1998, US patience with the inspections process was finally exhausted and the UN pulled inspectors from Iraq on the expectation of a US military retaliation. The retaliation, Desert Fox, consisted of 4 days of air-strikes, and occurred around the same time that you-know-who was in trouble for doing hmm-hmm with you-know-who. The timing, and the fact that the air-strikes lasted only 4 days, contributed to the impression that US action looked more like a fit of pique than a well-thought out campaign. Perhaps so, but it had unexpected, and revealing, effects. Here is Pollack (whose book is highly overrated, but also occasionally useful). The targets were:

“mostly regime protection and control targets . . . The idea was that the way to coerce Saddam into doing something he otherwise would not do was to threaten his control over Iraq, always his principal concern. . . . In this, Desert Fox actually exceeded expectations. Saddam panicked during the strikes. Fearing that his control was threatened, he ordered large-scale arrests and executions, which backfired and destabilized his regime for months afterward. . . . [This led to plots and other forms of resistance.] . . . Eventually the regime was able to snuff out all of these threats, and none ever really threatened its control. However, these events raised the question of what might have happened if the Desert Fox strikes had gone on longer than just four days.” (p. 93 of the Threatening Storm)

So far, things haven’t gone as well as (this interpretation of) the Desert Fox experience suggested. There are lots of good explanations for why this might be so: doubt about American resolve; bitterness about the outcome of the last uprising; and habits of servility acquired over long years of living in fear. But it certainly wasn’t crazy to think that many ordinary Iraqis might respond favorably to an invasion, and that the regime might topple very quickly a la Romania. It might still.

Grade: B

ii) Trash talking the regime and making confident predictions of its immanent demise in the hopes that it folds “like a house of cards”.

That’s why trash talking the regime with predictions of its immanent demise wasn’t stupid, at least not obnoxiously so. Rumsfeld and company clearly thought of Iraqi support for the US as a kind of assurance problem.

Suppose a highly profitable venture is only successful if enough people cooperate in it. If too few cooperate, the results will be disastrous for those few. Now, everyone can make promises beforehand, but these don’t count for much. With the stakes so high, people may well break their promises, or try to hedge their bets by entering into the fray a little after things are successfully underway. (Assurance problems are sometimes introduced with an example from high school. It’s the last week of your graduating year and you’ve made a pact with some friends. You’re all going to arrive at school the next day with heads shaved oddly and your remaining hair dyed bright colours. If everyone does this, you’ll all look very cool when you show up. But if everyone else chickens out, and you’re the only one who has followed through, you’ll end up looking like an ass.)

Trash talking Saddam Hussein and confidently predicting the end of his regime was not just arrogant bluster (though the people in charge of doing it also happened to be, as a rule, arrogant blusterers). It was also clearly an attempt to solve the assurance problem facing Iraqis as they tried to decide which way to swing their support. Repeatedly stressing that the US is in it for as long as it takes is part of the same strategy. And if you think that fear of retaliation is holding Iraqis down, this strategy is at least well-developed to address that concern.

So the strategy has this much to recommend it: It was actually based on a decent guess about the psychology of rebellion and the difficult choices facing Iraqis right now.

Unfortunately, the strategy has several consequences which count heavily against it:

a) While US officials are pursuing a strategy of this sort they can’t exactly (even if they want to) perform stage whispers to their domestic audience explaining that the war might last much longer than they’re suggesting. All the crowing about US strength certainly helped to create unrealistic expectations at home. That’s going to hurt support for the war in the long run.
b) In a democracy, citizens need reasonably accurate information to be able to judge the soundness of a prospective war. So doing a “mind-fuck” on Iraq’s leadership wasn’t possible without also seriously misleading ordinary Americans about the dangers of war. This strikes me as a very serious objection to the strategy.
c) All the crowing about US strength also upset allies everywhere. It was especially upsetting in Arab countries, since the subtext must have been often read as “Well, they’re Arabs. Do you really think they could put up a fight?” Now resistance is starting to look like a matter of Arab pride. That’s going to hurt in the long run.
d) The strategy makes anything short of absolute and speedy success look like failure. Other countries will draw their own lessons from this war. That lesson might well end up being: “OK, the Americans can win. But they often overestimate their own capabilities, so we need adjust our perceptions of their public statements accordingly.” And to think that this war is being fought partly to enhance American “credibility.”

So ii) is stupid on balance, but only on balance. It was not utterly stupid.

Grade: C-

iii) Assuming that Basra and the rest of the South was likely to fall quickly.

Like i), I think that iii) wasn’t all that stupid. If it was reasonable to think that the regime as a whole was rotten and unstable, it was even more reasonable to think that Basra would go over first to the other side.

Confession: I thought Basra would fall early too.

(A self-serving) Grade: B+

iv) Having a plan which depends on the assumption that Basra and the rest of the South would fall quickly.

It’s one thing to think something likely. It’s quite another to have a plan which stakes thousands of your soldiers’ lives on the expectation that it will happen. This is where Rumsfeld ought to get hammered by the press. The litany of errors connected with this bit of folly is already well-known: the over-stretched supply lines, the mounting humanitarian crisis in Basra, the need to retrench, inadequate troop numbers. All of these things are premised on iii) and perhaps even i). But the fault here doesn’t lie with iii) or i). Again, what’s crazy is not thinking it likely that the regime is fragile or that Basra will fall quickly. What’s crazy is basing an entire campaign on it. Even a reasonable assumption can be asked to bear too much weight. That’s what’s happening here.

Grade: F

Armchair critics like myself will be dissecting all this for some time to come. I think reassessments of i) and iii) will be illuminating, but that this will mostly be the illumination of hindsight. We can debate ii), but I think ultimately the damage done to the democratic decision making process counts very heavily against it.

But it’s iv) that oughta get Rumsfeld (and co.) disgraced and thrown out of public life for good.


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2003 03 29
A tough question for the sanctions/inspections crowd


I think that this war was unnecessary and ill-considered. But there are some tough questions for people like me that I didn’t see raised much during the build-up to war. Here’s my favourite: What if the inspections had worked? I mean, what if they had been able to spend a year in Iraq and had been able to produce excellent evidence, satisfying for all (this is hypothetical after all), that Iraq had really gotten rid of its WMD (or had had its stockpiles destroyed). What then? Well, in that case there would have been enormous pressure on the Security Council to lift the sanctions. And once the sanctions were lifted, Iraq would have had access to a great deal of revenue from oil sales while at the same time enjoying significantly less scrutiny of their imports.

Now, a condition for lifting the sanctions would probably have been that Iraq submit to occasional inspections. But how to enforce that once sanctions were gone for good?

I do think that the US would still have been able to contain Iraq. I also think that a year under vigorous inspections might have been more damaging to Hussein’s credibility that he could stand. And so on. I think there are good answers to this “tough question”.

All the same, this does seem like a tough question for the sanctions/inspections crowd. It ought to have gotten more attention from all of us.


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2003 03 29
[Iraq, the U.S. and the International Arms Trade]


The news is filled today with reports that Iraq has special fighting equipment which – the administration complains – it got from Syria and Russia. Putin has denied any Russian involvement, though Putin is hardly credible on this. Syria has also denied it, though credibility has never been a notable feature of Syrian foreign policy either.

The NYT weighs in on the matter today with a stern editorial rebuking Russia for any possible involvement. The editorial strives to be fairminded, distinguishing carefully between reasonable opposition to policy and serious violations of the sanctions regime. All of this is well taken. But if the NYT wants to be really fairminded, it might mention the broader context: that the U.S. has now spent several decades flooding the Middle East with arms (and it continues to do so). As usual, the Federation of American Scientists has some helpful resources on current arms transfers.

There is, to be sure, a very big difference between sanction-busting arms transfers and transfers consistent with international law. But a) surely decades of deeply unproductive arms sales are relevant background here; and b) anyone who think the US arms transfers are on the level needs a lesson in recent history. Remember the Iran-Contra affair, anyone?


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2003 03 29
[Follies of the reconstruction]


This is a sort of follow up on the last post. Many of the current tensions about Iraq deal with anxiety about reconstruction and concerns about ulterior motives on the part of the US. These tensions are about to be joined by another set of tensions, this these ones having to do with religion. As the wonderful Josh Marshall has pointed out recently, Frankln Graham, son of Billy, wants a piece of the action in post-war Iraq. This time the goodies are spiritual and not worldly. Click here for the full story.

Wonder how they’ll spin that on Al Jazeera!


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2003 03 29
Reconstruction


The administration just doesn’t seem to get it. A large part of the suspicion of American motives arises from the fact that the US has so much to gain financially from an invasion of Iraq. And, as a result of that suspicion, I predict that there will be an unprecedented amount of scrutiny of the process for awarding contracts for reconstruction. I don’t think that this is going to be another Kuwait, an occasion on which American companies really raked it in during the reconstruction process. If the administration wanted to dispel this impression, if they had any clue about how to handle negative public opinion, if they had their priorities even remotely in the right order, they would announce, with great fanfare, a few token awards to French or Arab companies. If they just had the sense to throw someone a bone, and the cunning to capitalize on it, they might be able to take the edge off some of this criticism.

Do you think they will? Think again.


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2003 03 29
This was the plan?


Is the war going according to plan. Yes, says the Pentagon. No, say the soldiers on the ground. And the BBC says:

There have been suggestions that the advance had been delayed because of Iraqi resistance and overstretched supply lines from Kuwait, up to 500 kilometres (300 miles) away.

The BBC’s David Willis, who is with US marines about 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of Baghdad, says some troops have had their rations cut to just one meal a day.

Now, last week’s criticism of Rumsfeld was that he wanted to bring the US into a stupid war. And the criticism came from the anti-war crowd. This week’s criticism is far more damaging, at least politically. This week’s criticism is that Rumseld got the US into a war with a stupid plan.

I admit that something dramatic is always possible. The regime still might implode overnight. Rumsfeld might come out of this looking prescient and firm. And – as so many people have pointed out – there was a lot of the same carping in the early stages of the campaign in Afganistan. Still, there seems to be a rising chorus of “I told you so”s from across the board, and this time it include a lot of people who support the war so it has a far broader base politically.

If things don’t turn out well awfully fast, Rumsfeld is going to be the most derided figure in American politics.

What does this mean for now? Look for even greater pressure on the military to get unrealistic objectives accomplished, a tightening of information, stricter rules on reporting from embeds, etc.


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2003 03 26
Haass on the timing of the war


The New Yorker has a nice piece on the decision-making process that led to the war. Here is one little tidbit that supports my view that the decision to go to war was made very early (Lemann is interviewing Haass):

I asked him whether there had been a particular moment when he realized that war was definitely coming. “There was a moment,” he said. “The moment was the first week of July, when I had a meeting with Condi”—Condoleezza Rice, Bush’s national-security adviser. “Condi and I have regular meetings, once every month or so—she and I get together for thirty or forty-five minutes, just to review the bidding. And I raised this issue about were we really sure that we wanted to put Iraq front and center at this point, given the war on terrorism and other issues. And she said, essentially, that that decision’s been made, don’t waste your breath. And that was early July. But before that, in the months leading up to that, there had been various hints, just in what people were saying, how they were acting at various meetings. We were meeting about these issues in the spring of 2002, and my staff would come back to me and report that there’s something in the air here. So there was a sense that it was gathering momentum, but it was hard to pin down. For me, it was that meeting with Condi that made me realize it was farther along than I had realized. So then when Powell had his famous dinner with the President, in early August, 2002”—in which Powell persuaded Bush to take the question to the U.N.—“the agenda was not whether Iraq, but how.


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2003 03 24
The Geneva Conventions


The Bush administration has a reputation for unilateralism, but one international convention has made an astonishing comeback over the last two days: The Geneva Convention. The Geneva Convention has been greatly honoured lately: it’s invoked regularly by officials, touted by experts, excerpted and put up in flashy graphics on the television screen, etc. This is all to the good, though the circumstances of its return are deeply unfortunate. It’s really awful to think of what captive American soldiers in Iraq are having to endure right now.

As long as the Geneva Convention has the country’s attention for the moment, its supporters ought to try to use these 15 seconds of fame to urge that the U.S. come back into full compliance with it. Now, I admit that:
a) Even when the U.S. has not fully complied with the GC, it has often still observed (relatively) humane standards of treatment of prisoners. Guantanamo Bay isn’t much fun, but it sounds like more fun than an Iraqi prison. And although the U.S. has repeatedly insisted that it doesn’t need to bring captives in Guantanamo Bay before a tribunal, as (I think) is required by the GC, it has released some prisoners. At least they’re not forgotten and their status does seem to be a matter of some concern.
b) There are real and special legal, moral and practical difficulties raised by sub-state actors like terrorist organizations.

Still, much of the commentary so far on POWs has stressed the full and complete compliance with both the letter AND the spirit of the GC. In contrast, with both A.Q. and the Taliban, the attitude of the administration was a bit more fussy, as though officials were picking through dishes at a buffet and rejecting ones they didn’t fancy.
There is also now outrage at the expectation of torture and abuse of U.S. soldiers. Rightly so, to my mind. U.S. soldiers will always be entitled to protection from this kind of treatment, even if their own government has not fully complied with the GC, and even if the war is waged in violation of international law. But it’s also worth recalling that this country has spent the last year and a half seriously debating the morality and practicality of torture, and the media has largely winked at the exporting of suspects to countries where torture is practiced routinely. (Go to www.hrw.org for details). And the same officials which have held suspects incommunicado for over a year are now pointing to sections of the convention which prohibit this.

Again, terrorism may well raise specific moral and practical difficulties. But part of the point of the convention is that countries agree to forego advantages they might gain from ill-treatment (e.g., extra information) of prisoners. The ill-treatment of U.S. soldiers clearly does (from its point of view) the Iraqi regime a world of good: it’s demoralizing for the U.S. and encouraging to its own soldiers and citizens. But we won’t accept that as an excuse. And we shouldn’t. The lesson is not just one for Iraq, though. Now that the U.S. has rediscovered the charm of the GC, it ought to respect it in its own conduct. No exceptions allowed.


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2003 03 24
Basra


One thing I’ve seen very little about in the news is the humanitarian impact of the fighting around Basra. Basra has, I’ve heard, about 1.2 million people. What it doesn’t have – not for a few days now – is running water or electricity. Perhaps they’ve taken Basra and restored these things since I last read the news. But I doubt it. How long can 1.2 million people go without running water and electricity before you have a full-scale crisis?

It isn’t clear that they have a decent plan with Basra either. The hope was – and I thought this was plausible too – that Basra would fall very quickly since support for S.H. is fairly weak here. The thought was encouraged by the fact that Basra is where the first uprising started in 1991.

No such luck, at least not so far. In 1991, it seems, Iraqis took the elder Bush’s advice and revolted only to be crushed while American planes flew overhead watching (demonstrating a clear preference for S.H. over Shi’a dreams of greater autonomy). Since then they must’ve had some unpleasant things to associate with the U.S. The sanctions, the policy on Israel, etc. So perhaps they won’t really be waiting with open arms.

That’s too bad, but now that they’ve cut electricity and water, they had better go in anyway. Either way, short of a quick, blood-less, anti-Ba’ath coup from inside, this will be really ugly.


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2003 03 18
A Question About Post-War Iraq


Iraq falls naturally into three regions, a Shiite South, a Sunni centre and a Kurdish North. If you look at a map of Iraq’s known oil reserves, almost all of its oil is concentrated in the North and South of the country. Guess which region has dominated the other two for centuries, and profited most in the past few decades from its oil wealth? You guessed it! The centre.

So . . . how are they going to draw the borders marking out the various provinces in post-war Iraq? How will they handle tensions between oil -rich and oil-poor regions of the country? It’s naive to assume that oil revenue will be shared evenly throughout the country, whether the provinces in question have oil deposits or not. Not even Canada does that. (Albertans are still furious with Pierre Trudeau grabbing oil revenues for the federal government – and that was in the 70s!)

I haven’t seen this question exactly discussed in the media, though there’s been some discussion of related issues. Much of the attention has focused on who will get Kirkuk, i.e. whether the Kurds who deserve it will get it. But there hasn’t been much discussion on how the rest of the borders will be drawn and how the resulting tensions will be managed.


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2003 03 18
Wolfowitz in Newsweek


Here’s an Interview Wolfowitz gave to Newsweek recently.

A few comments:

1. Wolfowitz insists, quite sensibly, that Iraq has the potential to become a democracy. But notice that he never actually says that Iraq will be a democracy.

2. Notice that he says nothing about what kind of democracy he has in mind for Iraq. And his interviewer has no curiousity about the question either.

3. Wolfowitz also explains the difference between post-war Afghanistan and post-war Iraq: “It’s one of the potentially most important countries in the Arab world–not potentially, one of the most important countries in the Arab world–and a potential success story. It’s not like, I don’t mean to say this disparagingly of Afghanistan, but Afghanistan is a poor country. It’s remote. It doesn’t offer a whole lot commercially or in any other way. Whereas Iraq is not only a huge potential source of natural resources which is what most people look at, but even more importantly, it’s got one of the most educated populations in the Arab world. Unfortunately, a lot of those educated people have left, but I think they will come back. So a successful Iraq could be a real engine of growth in the Middle East, and I think the kind of place that countries are going to want to participate in the rebuilding and get some credit for the rebuilding. So I think we’ll get a lot of help in that department. But I also think it’s not something that’s possible to estimate.”

That’s awfully blunt. I think it does help to explain US indifference to Afghanistan (e.g., forgetting to put Afghanistan in the budget submitted recently to congress). So perhaps Iraq will do better, simply because it is better off in terms of natural resources and potential. One worry here, though: the more valuable the resources are, the more there is to fight about.

4. Newsweek asked Wolfowitz why the US was facing so much resistance on Iraq. Here is part of Wolfowitz’s reply: “I think for one thing there’s a lot of what can be called free rider activity going on. People are so used to the United States taking care of problems and they know the President’s going to deal with this one so they can reap the benefits in whatever form serves their purposes, and frequently that’s domestic politics. “.

Now, I think that this might be said with some justice of the US’s difficult position with North Korea now. It’s hard to see how China could possibly want N. Korea to have nuclear weapons, for example, and yet China continues to push responsibility for handling the crisis onto the US.

As for Iraq, it does seem that France and Russia have sought to gain economic leverage from their Security Council vetos, by exchanging resistance and non-cooperation on Iraq in the Security Council for cheap oil and lucrative contracts. But it was clear a while ago that the US was going into Iraq regardless, and, all other things being equal, France and Russia could still have gotten the benefits of freeriding without plunging the UN into such turmoil. After all, the predictions from the fall of 2002 that France and Russia would not veto action at the end of the day were actually sensible, even if they did turn out to be mistaken. This whole incident has been so costly for France and Russia that free-riding can’t even begin to explain it.


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2003 03 18
Transparency, Bush-Style


To assuage dovish fears about post-war Iraq, the State Department has, for the last few months, been announcing various meetings with “Free Iraqis” (the quote-marks are the State Department’s, strangely enough). Here’s the most recent press release. There’s a funny little detail about the meetings that encapsulates dovish fears about the whole process: The “transparency” working group is closed to the press.


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2003 03 18
OK, now just get it over with quickly


Well, now that the UN has pulled out its humanitarian workers – upon whom two thirds of the country survives for food handouts – I want the war to come quickly (and be over quickly). As for starting early, I don’t think the president is likely to disappoint (though there are some reports that sandstorms in Kuwait might delay things by a day or two). How quickly everything is over depends on what plan, of the 20 or so different plans that have been leaked in the past year, they have actually chosen, and how well they succeed in sticking with that plan. One possibility strikes me as awful: that’s the plan to approach Baghdad but then wait a bit to see if citizens in Baghdad can manage to topple Saddam themselves. This strikes me as an awful idea because every day between now and the capture of Baghdad the humanitarian situation is going to worsen.


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2003 03 17
Non-Sequitor Watch


Non-Sequitor Watch: “If the US hadn’t positioned 300,000 troops at Iraq’s doorstep, there wouldn’t be any inspectors there. So fans of the inspection process have Bush to thank for the inspectors in the first place.”

Evidence for the claim:
1. 12 years of stalling and deception from S.H.
2. Increasingly flawed inspections from 1991 to 1998.
3. The fact that S.H. never responded to anything but force and is a congenital liar.

What’s the problem, in that case?

I think the evidence demonstrates clearly that, absent the threat of force, S.H. will always refuse to yield an inch. The evidence does not show that it took 300,000 troops to get him to yield to inspections. As a matter of fact, he might have responded to measures which caused pain to himself, his standing in Iraq (extension of the no-fly zone, as proposed by Walzer) , or his support base (e.g., air-strikes aimed at his security apparatus).

Why does this matter?

Because once you build up 300,000 troops, you’ve also thrown away much chance of a peaceful resolution. Once you build up that many troops, you can’t back down without looking like a chump (in the eyes of your power base). Once you have that kind of troop presence in the region, it becomes a reason in itself for launching military action (the expense of maintaining the troops, morale, weather and logistical considerations).

So I wish people would stop throwing around this idea, as though the’ve discovered some astounding new paradox: “Wow! There’s no solution but war, because without the troops, there would be no inspections, and we’d have to go to war to disarm him, but with the troops in place, it’s impossible to back down.”

It’s not a real dilemma, because there were lots of plausible intermediate steps between refusing to bother with inspections and sending 300,000 troops to the region.


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2003 03 17
Pollack Watch: The Case Against Containment


(For the first installment of the Pollack Watch series, click here.)

Pollack is correct, I think, to point out that containment of Iraq is trickier and more expensive than its backers often assume. There is the challenge of getting neighbouring countries on board: Syria, Turkey and Jordan, especially, have become deeply dependent on cheap oil from Iraq, and massive smuggling operations which help to keep their struggling economies afloat. There is also the challenge of getting the bigger players, especially France, Russia and China, to go along with plans. I accept Pollack’s claim that these latter three bear a great deal of responsibility for the failure of containment, and the blame ought to include the fact that, in contrast to Iraq’s neighbours, their efforts to stall and undermine containment were acts of choice, rather than necessity.

(I should say, however, that Pollack consistently refuses to accept U.S. responsibility for the difficulties the US faced with containment. To take one example, Pollack repeatedly points out the fact that Hussein aggravated the humanitarian crisis in Iraq by stalling the food-for-oil program, etc. (See p. 139 for a good example of Pollack’s approach) But a good part of the early humanitarian crisis was deliberately brought about by the US, when, in 1991 they bombed water sanitation plants and electricity generators in an effort aimed at increasing the pressure on the civilian population. The point was to encourage Iraqis to overthrow Saddam – or rather to have a senior Baath party official do it. But a) the situation was brought about deliberately; b) it wasn’t a matter of military necessity; c) it backfired miserably; and d) it was responsible for much of the negative publicity which helped to erode support for containment; e) it was morally wrong.)

Still, I think that Pollack underestimates the prospects for containment. There were solutions short of full scale war that would clearly have ratcheted up the pressure on S.H., and which might even have led to the reintroduction of inspectors. One solution, proposed by Michael Walzer, was to threaten (and then carry through on the threat, absent compliance) to extend the no-fly zone to cover the entire country. But another solution is suggested by Clinton’s strikes in 1993 and 1998. Although these strikes were widely derided at the time as ineffectual, Pollack actually argues that they were more effective than people realized. The strikes were aimed very carefully at Saddam’s security apparatus and the mechanisms of support which helped him to maintain power. As such they were extremely effective. In fact, whenever the US has struck at these elements in the Iraqi state, S.H. has had to move quickly to put down coups and serious unrest.

Pollack himself helps to explain why this approach would be so effective in dealing with S.H.: His top priority is always to stay on top. Here is Amatzia Baram, as quoted by Pollack: “Throughout his career as chief of internal security, then president, whenever Iraq’s foreign interests clashed with perceived domestic security interests, the latter always prevailed. Insofar as internal security is concerned, Saddam Hussein has never taken any chances.” (p. 116)


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