Any way out of war, as of February 9?

There are hordes of US Soldiers around Iraq, at enormous political and financial cost to the Bush administration. That same administration continues to argue publicly that Iraq has not complied with the UN’s requirements and does other things that can’t be countenanced. Finally, diplomacy to generate further international support for war also continues.

On the other hand, there are also UN inspectors in Iraq. There are many nations (even not including arab nations) whose leaders do not support the idea of a war at this time, suggesting-- in the absence of a sufficiently smoking gun-- that they will never support an armed invasion. And even in countries whose leaders deeply support the current US policy, meaning that they will send soldiers to participate in the invasion, large segments of the public do not support the idea of invasion.

The question is: is there any possibility that the US and allied soldiers will be withdrawn without invading? In other words, is there anything Iraq or Saddam Hussein can do to control their destiny at this juncture?

Or is it just a matter of time until the invasion begins?

It’s just a matter of time.

Of course. They could give up all their WMDs, eschew future WMDs, and fully cooperate with the UN inspectors. That’s exactly what they agreed to do in 1991. However, they have never actually been willing to do that, so I don’t think they will do it now.

Ah, but how would we know they gave 'em all up? The administration doesn’t seem willing to take anyone’s say-so, which is why some people feel that war is inevitable, no matter what Saddam does or says.

Which brings me to how I think war might be avoided: Saddam voluntarily leaves, and takes his family with him, leaving the US and UN to reorganize in his absence. That’s just about the only way I can think of.

Do you have any evidence of WMDs to offer? I want to see them.

Simple. GeeDubya recognizes that our allies are not disagreeing simply to annoy America, but actually have a perfectly valid point. After a soul searching conversation with Jerry Falwell, he becomes convinced that the truly Christian course of action demands that he eschew violence whenever possible. Karl Rove spends an hour assuring GeeDubya that backing down now will totally destroy any chance for re-election. GeeDubya fires him.

I go to work as usual, except for keenly watching the sky to avoid being hit by falling pig flop.

I would like to note that the word “evidence” of something does not connote actual possession of the thing itself. Bill Clinton, just on Larry King, acknowledged that Saddam has the BC of the NBCs.

As I predicted, Saddam is releasing some of the evidence supporting what Powell said himself.

All Saddam has to do is release enough of the information Powell brought to light to bolster the French, Germans, and Russians in pursuing their "pro-peace agenda. (Meaning the ability to continue their economic relations with Saddam: France allegedly has 60 billion reasons.)

It is all about the oil and US hegemony, after all. Everyone arguing in good faith knows Saddam has chemical and biological weapons.

I don’t know that. Can you prove it to me?

Sorry, waiting for Godot.

Didn’t think so.

Exile would work.

I think it is just a matter of time before we go to war. Saddam could give the US a list of all the Al Qaeda members he know complete with home addresses and every WMD he has and the administration would still insist that he is holding out.

As for the whole oil/hegemony bit, I think you are giving our government way too much credit. Ole Dubya just wants to look like a man of action. Al Qaeda is too nebulous an enemy to fight. Saddam is easy to find, easy to beat, and easy to build a case against. He can even throw in some threats about Saddam selling WMD to Osama and presto! It looks like he is still fighting against terrorism.

Besides, we ran out of targets in Afghanistan. If we don’t drop our payloads soon, we’ll get blue bombs.

I am interested in why stronger “coersive” inspections such as those described here
would not work.

Why do we have to jump right from ineffectual inspections right to war without exploring possible middle-grounds?

Because Saddam has shown himself to be untrustworthy. The only way you can clear a country like Iraq of weapons is with the equivalent of an occupation. You have to have the power to conduct spot inspections, go into private homes, etc.

And then what do you do? Permanently occupy the place? The U.S. spends billions of dollars a year to enforce the no-fly zone and protect Kuwait. How can you possibly leave and let Saddam rebuild?

And then one day he dies, and we get to look forward to dealing with Qusay or Uday, both of which make Saddam look like an old softie.

Coersive measures actually are working. Iraq has been under tremendous pressure for a very long time. The new inspections team are not without effect and more pressure would yield greater compliance.

Hank, try thinking, period. Sorry, I cannot hand you a chemical weapon. I would love to.

Saddam is not the only untrustworthy leader on the planet but I don’t see us rushing to Korea. And why would we rid the country of weapons? Don’t they have an interst in defending themselves? We should leave them defenseless? They are incapable of a direct threat to us and if Kuwait were to continue defying OPEC production and stealing oil from Iraq I’d say he has more reason to war than we do.

I wouldn’t want one. There is a team of people over there looking for them though and they can’t seem to find any. Traces of this and that, some leftover crap that could be used to make something. Hell, I have some chlorine and I have some brake fluid. You wouldn’t acuse me of having a bomb would you?

:smack: So its not really about the WMD. Even if Saddam rolled over right now, turned everything over and we could verify that he had done so, we would still have to topple the regime 'cause 5 years down the road he or his successor could start all over again.

I guess it has always been about regime change and all the talk of the WMD and “if only he would disarm we could have peace” was just a bunch of talk to sway the public. Got it.

As for the costs, how much is a war and subsequent occupation gonna cost? It’s not like you would need to keep the full might of the US military in the region for the whole length of inspections. I would venture a guess that the whole security council would get behind such an idea (excepting possibly the States) and we could have members of many nations militaries eager to help with the enforcement side and we could defray the costs throughout many countries.

To paraphrase Heinlein in “Starship Troopers”, you can’t train a dog by asking it not to piss on the rug, providing no disipline, and then shooting it a month later cause it is still pissing on the rug. Quite frankly, going to war now feels like shooting the dog.