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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Wednesday, October 23, 2002



Connect Enough Dots...

And you go dotty.

First, we have Bush's "gaffe" that may not have been, about regime change in Iraq.

Second, we have the news that the "Prague Spring" meeting between 9/11 mastermind Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence official didn't happen. The White House had downplayed these reports, but they were more or less fully squashed just this week.

Finally, we have the puzzling decision by Saddam to open his prisons.

Does it all mean anything? Well, Mark Kleiman had suggested this as one explanation of Bush's regime change comment:

"Here's another [piece of raw speculation], which seems less likely: the Iraqis sent some sort of signal that they'd prefer Baghdad not be reduced to smoking rubble, and for some reason the Bush team believes it enough to want to dance it out."

Well, that prison situation could be a signal that moderates are getting a toehold, either inside Saddam's palace or inside his own mind. And, since I am feeling upbeat, I can easily link it to the US urgency at the UN: if the pressure is working, keep it up.

Meaning what? Well, if Saddam takes a villa in sunny Libya sometime soon, and a new moderate government pops up in Baghdad, I can guarantee three things:

The peaceful liberation of Iraq will not get Bush a Nobel Peace Prize;

Many pundits will credit the patience of Tom Daschle and the crafty diplomacy of the French;

It will be a triumph for Bush, America, and freedom.

OK, I am dreaming out loud. Probably it all adds up to nothing at all. Darn.

UPDATE: OK, scrap the Czech "news". It's the weakest link, good-bye. Leaving me with a chain forged of putty, rather than Kool-Whip.


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