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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Evidently, It Was All Pre-Ordained

Cracking open the time-vault, we come across a TIME article from February 2001 - yes, just shortly after Bush's inauguration, and well before 9/11.

Other than failing to anticipate the 9/11 story, they essentially predict the future of US-Iraq relations quite accurately:

Since the mother of all battles ended in apparent success 10 years ago this month, the U.S. has been engaged in protracted low-intensity combat to bring the conflict to final victory.

...We're going to watch very carefully as to whether or not he develops weapons of mass destruction," said the President. This bombing was a symbolic warning, he hinted, that "if we catch him doing so, we'll take appropriate action."

...During the campaign, Bush was highly critical of Clinton's policy. But he takes office when most of the mechanisms applied against Saddam have worn out. The 10-year-old sanctions imposed by the U.N. have unraveled. Countries such as France and Russia prefer to do business with Iraq. Moderate Arab states don't like Saddam but can't stomach the deprivations suffered by ordinary Iraqis. Egypt has restored diplomatic relations. The U.N. weapons-inspections regime is dead. The Bush Administration is pushing money to opposition groups that most analysts say are too weak, divided and unpopular to do much.

...Powell's mission is to take soundings as the Administration wrestles to devise a new approach to the entire region. Unhappily, Iraq still figures at the center, complicating every other aspect
[Note the neocon plot spin]. Saddam has played to the Arab street by embracing the Palestinian uprising, handing out money to families of those killed and portraying himself as the one Arab leader bold enough to take on Israel.

...While U.S. officials like Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld talk of aggressive new strategies to get rid of Saddam, Powell speaks mainly of reinvigorating the sanctions.

...Arriving at a fresh approach the entire Administration supports and selling it abroad will be tough. Even if Powell does, the odds on successfully squelching Saddam still look awfully long. In the meantime, Bush has little alternative to the occasional raid. But it is hard to see that these lead to anything other than the same old policy of containment--unless Bush II is ready to finish the job the way Bush I started it.

Emphasis added. TIME, beating the drums of war with an Administration less than a month old.

And my point? Well, 9/11 may have changed the scope of options that the public would accept, but the prospect of war with Saddam was evidently brewing long before. This may be a bit confusing for those who are muttering "Gee, I thought this was a war on terror, where's Osama?", but for the rest of us, this day was coming. Or at least, some resolution of the Saddam question was coming - even in Feb 2001, the prevailing impasse was not an acceptable long term situation, which takes us to the Ken Pollack argument for war.

Thanks to the Hammer for the tip.

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