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  xMonday, March 03, 2003

must-read post of the day


Don't miss Jim Henley's remarkable analysis of Ken Pollack's presumption that Saddam can't be deterred.

It does an injustice to this fine article to pull out a mere quote or two, but Henley makes points remarkably similar to some I've voiced in the past, and they bear repeating here:
[T]his is what Pollack does over and over again in his article: adduce, as evidence that Saddam can not be deterred, instances where Saddam was deterred. [Emphasis in the original]

and
It ain't deterrence if there's no reward for being deterred.


Absent credible evidence that, after more than a decade of containment and deterrence, these policies have suddenly lost their effect with Saddam, the burden is on the hawks--as I've consistently maintain--to demonstrate that Iraq poses a sufficient threat to warrant an invasion. No "alternate plan" is really necessary (although, I promise, I'm still considering a post discussing my ideas).

But really, all of this is moot. By my willingness to discuss notions like "deterrence" or "disarmament," Bush has played me for a chump. Worse, he's played for chumps his defenders who gamely supported whatever the Administration's rationale-of-the-moment was. Worse yet, he's played the UN, which actually seems to take seriously the notion of disarming Iraq, for chumps. It's increasingly clear that deterrence has never been seriously considered as a policy toward Iraq, and that regardless of the way the Bush Administration phrases its rationale for invading Iraq, Bush is indeed set on one course and one course only: Deposing the leader--however vile--of a sovereign nation by means of an unprovoked invasion.

Update: Tom Spencer spells out three criteria that would for a convincing argument supporting an attack on Iraq, and argues that this Administration has failed to meet even one. Spencer's first point is something else that's been bothering me that I haven't devoted much time ot discussing:
First, you have to convince me that the war will be worth the awful cost in lives of Iraqi civilians -- ultimately probably in the tens of thousands. That's quite a price to remove Hussein.

No doubt many Iraqis would prefer to see Saddam gone. But Saddam's removal won't benefit the dead. Deciding on behalf of Iraq's citizens that they're better off dead than ruled by Saddam is quite a show of arrogance.





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