Saturday, September 07, 2002

Edit: A little bit of copyediting. Thanks to Ampersand for pointing it out. Great cartoonist, by the way.

just to let Steven know:

It's finally sinking in amongst some that the only way they can dissuade the Bush administration is by coming up with a viable alternative, and the ones proposed so far don't cut it. Most people are now coming to understand that the existing inspection protocol was a pointless waste of time, what with Iraq in some cases resisting inspections with force of arms. (There are reports during the 1990's of inspectors showing up at a facility only to have guards fire over their heads to keep them away, while others carried boxes of "something" out the back into waiting trucks to be carried away.)
The "somethings" were documents. Not surprising, nor necessarily proof that the Iraqis have WMDs. As Scott Ritter has taken great pains to point out, documents don't produce weapons, factories produce weapons. Iraq doesn't have them.

Then again, considering that the whole post is an attempt to discredit the notion of inspections because (I'm paraphrasing here):

-"Iraq doesn't want them" (contradicted by their own statements),

-"nobody else would want Americans to command them" (based on what?),

-"the forces wouldn't be trustworthy" (and America is? I seem to recall scandals involving U.S. intel plants helped create this problem in the first place)

-"they would be ambushed by Iraqi forces" (Saddam is not that stupid)

and the big one:

-"Iraq is going to get a bomb within a few years, and the inspectors would never find it in time" (based on little but Steven's own unsupported assertions that because finished weapons can't be found, the facilities with which they are produced can't be found either, and Iraq is so close to having nukes that this is actually an issue.)

Personally, I have to bring up a timing question here. Why now? Why wouldn't Saddam have developed the weapons before now, or still have a long way to go before he could get anywhere near deployment capability? Sure, 9/11 was a huge event in the U.S. and for Al Qaeda, but it doesn't change the pace and nature of Iraqi nuclear research one whit.

Let's be honest here. The opposition to inspections from parties both offline and online has nothing to do with their accuracy or their efficiency. The case for invasion of Iraq has never had much at all to do with weapons of mass destruction. It's about a created villian that we let go when we could have killed him. It's about the desire to create a friendly client state in the region. It's aboutt he unwillingness of neoconservatives to admit that their opponents might have a point. It's about the pseudo-realist doctrine that the United States should ignore interests it has in common with other states in favor of perceived interests that differ from them. And, of course, it's about the need for an illusory focus for a focus-free war that, if handled logically, would have precious little to do with the internationally isolated, largely disarmed and utterly secular Iraqi regime.


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