All this is to the good -- viewed in a vacuum. Some of it is just a fig leaf, though. It is clear that the UN is being given an ultimatum: "Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant? ...But the purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced -- the just demands of peace and security will be met -- or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power." In other words, we will go to war with or without the UN, and if the UN fails to rubber-stamp our plans, it goes wherever the League of Nations went. And the demand for inspections and other improvements ("in days or weeks rather than months", in a different statement) seems pretty clearly to be a pretext. Regime change is what we're after.
I have earlier offered three readings of the Iraq-invasion controversy. First, that Bush and the Cheney-Wolfowitz-Perle cabal had lost the confidence of the conservative establishment; second, that the raving plans for WWIII filtering out of the administration were red herrings meant to make the administration's real eventual policy look moderate; and third, that the timing of the debate was calculated to divert attention from Enron, Harken, Social Security privatization, and a dozen other Republican domestic problems. None of these interpretations can be ruled out at this point. If the old conservative establishment really has nudged Wolfowitz and Perle out of the picture, we can only be happy (or at least relieved), but we should also remember that the fact that we have been forced to choose between our enemies means that we remain irrelevant to American foreign policy.
Saturday, September 14, 2002
Zizka has a different take on the Bush speech:
Posted by Demosthenes at 7:49 PM