January 27, 2003

sticky q & a

I really don’t know what to make of this. The leaders of all anti-war countries are running around, calling for Baghdad to cooperate fully with the weapons inspectors. That’s all they got. What if Baghdad doesn’t cooperate? What if Baghdad hasn’t been cooperating for twelve years? What if Baghdad lied on their dossier and didn’t account for everything? What if Baghdad has committed a material breach?

Germany, France, Russia and Canada said the arms experts needed more time, as did Secretary-General Amr Moussa of the 22-member Arab League and states neighboring Iraq.

“We are of the opinion…that the inspectors will get more time for their work,” Schroeder told journalists in Berlin.

At a later news conference after meeting Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Schroeder said: “We are both of the opinion that nobody has the right to undertake any kind of action without a decision of the Security Council.”

Chirac, who discussed the issue with Schroeder by phone, echoed his call and urged Baghdad to give the inspectors “full and entire cooperation.”

Germany’s Joschka Fischer, also attending the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, said: “War is no alternative. I think one can conclude that the inspectors are doing a great job which should definitely go on.”

There the answers stop. They only have answers as far as it would supposedly take to prevent a U.S. attack. Besides war they have no answers beyond the actions that have been unsuccessful for years; for the last two months. I really wish other world leaders had better things to do than get on the phone with Saddam and tell him to please play nice, pretty please, with sugar on top. Resolution 1441 was Iraq’s last chance to voluntarily disarm. They blew it.

It’s like a bad porno. A weapons inspector knocks on Saddam’s door. Saddam answers.

“Oh. You’re not my regular milkman.”


“Please, come inside.”


“Here, let me help you with that.”



Iraq had every chance to avoid a war. Every chance for twelve years. How, you ask? Well, there is this…


Meanwhile, the British Foreign Secretary says Iraq is making a charade of the inspections, Kofi Annan calls for more party games, Colin Powell says Iraq is running out of time, Australia’s Prime Minister says Iraq is in material breach, and Daschle is asking for hardcore proof.

He’ll get it, but he won’t get it until a few days before the war starts. We need to get the proof out to sway the public (and the world), but we need to do it in such a manner that it won’t give Iraq any upper hand in the war. As soon as Iraq knows what we know they can piece together where that information came from, kill the persons responsible, and relocate the weapons. They could also figure out, from what we know, what we don’t know and use that knowledge against us.

It’s a sticky business. If Washington comes forward with hardcore proof they could make a compelling argument to the world for military intervention, and lay to rest all this craziness (though, from the other side, it would just replace it with another brand of craziness). However, if they reveal too much too soon they risk losing the war to win the popularity contest. Well, we won’t lose the war, certainly, but it could get a hell of a lot messier as a result. It’s all cost/benefit analysis.

Watch carefully what Bush says tomorrow. If we get specifics, we’re going in soon. Very soon.

The full text of Hans Blix’s statement to the U.N.