Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Marshall exposes the base assumptions undergirding the new talking points for the war:
We never would have gotten inspectors back into Iraq without a credible threat of force. But once the inspectors were in, they quickly began undermining the case that there was any serious WMD program or capability in Iraq. Had we pursued the inspections process in good faith, which we would have done had our true goal been eliminating WMDs (or confirming they weren't there), we probably would have avoided this current mess because the war never would have started.To speak plainly, this thread of argument tries to portray a sensible position on the need for Congressional approval for the threat of force to get Saddam Hussein to comply with the UN weapons inspection regime. But then, we were to somehow pause with sufficient apparent intent that Hussein would yield. (He did not.)
Call it the John Kerry Gambit.
Note that this requires a complete suspension of disbelief about Saddam Hussein and his now well-documented success in bribing, manipulating, and otherwise running circles around the international community, including first and foremost Hans Blix and El Baradei.
Liberals and other anti-war, anti-administration, and anti-Bush partisans continue to maintain that there was no WMD threat posed by Saddam Hussein, that he was no major state sponsor of terror, and that UN Weapons and Atomic Energy inspectors came up empty on significant violations because there were none.
Please. Not only were there major violations, there was compelling evidence that someone in the UN was tippuing off the Iraqis about the targets of upcoming inspections. The inspection rules were also nothing more than milquetoast niceties that allowed Saddam and his ministries a big say in what and how facilities were searched, what was within and off limits.
That, and Saddam had 6 months of the Coalition walking through the process of compelling him to comply with UN Security Council resolutions, and the increasing certainty that, this time, we meant what we said. Plenty of time to whsik materials out of Iraq. There is plenty of evidence that Saddam worked in collusion with Syrian and Iranian kindred spirits. Are the people peddling this Diplomatic history of the war in Iraq that credulous that Saddam was merely bluffing? That the very real indications of his WMD intents, not to mention established capability well proven by thousands of gassed Kurds, were just idle dabbling? That Saddam sought uranium, nucelar capability, forged links with terrorist groups, supported the PLO, none of this points at anything more sinister than a day-in-the-life of Average Middle Eastern Potentate?
In an earlier post (to which he links even as he tries to recast history), Marshall still clung to the old talking points, somewhat contrary to how he started this post on the threat of force:
So we have an immensely difficult, even impossible, challenge that we embarked on -- let's be frank -- for no good reason. And you don't have to be a genius to add up the pros and cons of that one.The task we have before us is not impossible, and it won't be long now that the issue is settled quite convincingly by a free and functioning Iraqi democracy and a totally defeated and disgraced Al Qaeda in Iraq. And right up until the moment that happens (and possibly for quite a time after, there will be those who still cry out for the failure that might have been, based on the blind faith they yet cling to about the sufficiency of the UN and its peacekeeping regimes.
In good faith, we must not rely on blind faith, no matter what the UN or Nobel prize committee tell us.
Links: Basil's Blog, Cao's Blog, Indepundit, Jo's Cafe, Outside the Beltway, Mudville Gazette, Dawn Patrol at Mudville
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