My prediction: Iraq will stall for a few days, then announce to great fanfare that they are going to destroy the missiles. This will cause a new round of, “Iraq is cooperating!” responses from the anti-war folks, which Saddam will play to the hilt. Then the time will run out (Blix gave them 8 days), but the Iraqis will claim there are ‘technical difficulties’, or that they have to have a government meeting to decide how and where to destroy them.
Another good strategy for them would be to demand that the U.S. agree not to attack them. The claim will be that they can’t destroy the missiles if the U.S. is going to attack them anyway, so they’ll demand a nonagression agreement. Or, if they’ve really got balls they’ll go to the U.N. and seek their own resolution, stating that they will not be attacked as long as they are ‘cooperating’.
This will drag the process out, and the U.S. will be forced to either attack while it looks like Iraq is trying to comply. Or, the U.S. will fall for it and allow a resolution to be submitted, which will tie the process up in the U.N.
If really pressed, Iraq might destroy a handful of the missiles. They’ll claim that they are going to destroy more, but there will always be a reason to delay. In the end, the bulk of those missiles won’t be destroyed.
Just a guess on my part, really. I have no information one way or the other. And I’m sure there are other ways the Iraqis can try to wriggle out of this. But I think it’s a plausible scenario.
The longest range of Iraq’s missiles is under 100 miles and the USA feels threatened? Someone ought to teach president Bush some geography.
If Iraq destroys these weapons and then the USA invades anyway that would be the most shameful thing ever. Demand that your opponent disarm and then attack him anyway once he is helpless. I really hope this will not happen because it would would be the most dishonorable and shameful thing the US could do.
The destruction or non-destruction of the missiles doesn’t really impact on Iraq’s relative “helplessness”. They have zero chance of holding up against America’s military might regardless. Seems to me the extra few kilometers of range on the missiles is a pretty technical violation, like going 37 in a 35 mph zone.
Turkey is only a few billion dollars short of its committment to Truth, Justice, and the American Way, so most likely will see the light.
The UN resolution is just so much comic opera, the US is going anyway. Trivial matters of legality and diplomacy don’t matter much to GeeDubya, he’s totally in love with his fantasy about being a Leader of Men. If all else fails, there will be an “incident”.
When the bombs start to fall, America will rally around him. War always works. Those few of us who hold out will be asked why we won’t support our troops, why we hate America so much. When Al-Jazeera begins broadcasting pictures of dead Iraqi women and children in the streets of Baghdad, solemn American generals will regret the tragedy of collaterall damage, but point out that its really Saddam dropping the bombs, by proxy. It’s all his fault, after all. We will believe it. Nobody else will.
Boy, you guys are quick to make these claims. For instance, I note that Kuwait City looks to be roughly 100 miles or so from the closest Iraqi border.
Now, if the UN set the maximum permissable range of Iraq’s missiles to be sure they couldn’t hit major population centers, and the new missile can fire just farther enough to be able to hit a major population center, then the ‘technical difference’ is the difference between just missing someone with a bullet and blowing their head off.
But you guys never even bothered to think about that, right?
I imagine the Kuwaitis, who could be facing 35,000 rockets aimed at their major city, might have a different opinion.
Oh? Are we to believe that if Saddam bin Laden does destroy these missiles that Conan the Canadian will be begin cooing dove-like? And these dreadful arrows of doom, can they be loaded up into an SUV that dashes to the Iraqi border and zoom! away they go? Or do they involve such tedium as setting up a launch site and volunteering to be F-16 food?
Howzabout you, guy? Did you “bother” to think about that? Before you sneered indulgently at ol’ chucklewitted elucidator.
. “For instance, I note that Kuwait City looks to be roughly 100 miles or so from the closest Iraqi border.”
But do Iraqi troops even have access to that part of the border which is probably in the no-fly zone?
I actually agree. For us hawks, Iraq has thousands of material breaches justifying war; a few rockets more or less don’t change the basic sitiuation. For dove who oppose war except to repel and Iraqi attack I (if then), the rockets also don’t affect their decision.
I do have a question. Is it really true that these prohibited rockets only will go slightly beyond the permitted range? I know that has been alleged by Iraqis and by some doves, but I have never seen a cite or source. I know the specific range is NOT mentioned in Hans Blix’s statement. Can anyone help?
The missiles were set by the U.N. to have a maximum range of 93 miles. The current missiles have flown as far as 140 miles.
That’s the difference between not being able to hit Kuwait city, and the ability to hit Kuwait city from a very large area inside Iraq.
But I like how the same people here who were putting their faith in the U.N. are now saying that these missiles are ‘nothing to worry about’, when Hans Blix himself thinks they are dangerous enough to order their immediate destruction.
By the way, Blix isn’t just ordering the destruction of the missiles. He’s ordering the destruction of the missiles, the transport for the missiles, the testing facilities, the stored rocket fuel for them, the facilities that make the rocket fuel, and the tooling for making the missiles in the first place. And he’s giving Iraq 8 days.
You don’t have to fly to get to the border, y’know. Iraq routinely stages manoevers along the Kuwaiti border. In fact, there have been several crises in the past decade where Iraq positioned massive amounts of armor and soldiers along the Kuwaiti border.
The al-Samoud 2 missile is a mobile launched missile system. And yes, they can be bombed. In fact, the U.S. just did so. Iraq moved some of the missiles within range of troops in Kuwait, and the U.S. took them out. That was about a week ago. Nonetheless, unless you think that a good policy would be to allow Iraq to have these missiles, but you’re going to maintain a permanent military presence to bomb them any time they come within range, then you’re going to have to do something about them.
One of the reasons North Korea is so dangerous is because they have 11,000 mortars arrayed within range of Seoul, and they can be fired with minutes’ notice. Give Iraq a missile with a 150 mile range, and it can do the same thing to Kuwait.
But I find it very telling that you were willing to instantly dismiss the missile issue as ‘trivial’, and to even make snarky comments about it, without even bothering to CONSIDER what the threat may be. You’ve got a closed mind.
Very droll, Sam. I’ve got a closed mind, eh? [Bugs] It is to laugh[/Bugs]
What threat? That Iraq will dash through the southern no-fly zone, whip out its missile launchers in the ol’ two minute drill, fire off a couple dozen towards Kuwait City, and then simply disappear into the cover of the Godforsaken Desert?
And by so doing, send Mr. Rumsfeld and yourself into spasms of “I told you so!” joy? Another instance of Saddam bin Ladens pathological and suicidal blood lust?
Nobody said that the threat from the missiles would be to the U.S. proper; it would be against invading U.S. forces. That’s Saddam’s conundrum: he has to give up the missiles to avoid being found in material breach, but due to their range they would be one of the best weapons against advancing forces if (and looking like when) the U.S. invades. So does he give them up in the slim hope that he can avoid invasion or does he keep them in the hope of doing maximum damage to invading forces before he gets run over?
By that line of logic we should just let Iraq develop nuclear and biological weapons so they can do more damage if we invade, which completely misses the issue that they agreed to not to have any of the above weapons, including rockets that go beyond a certain range, fully knowing that if they did so they would be subject to sanctions up to and including a removal of the current regime. Whether or not they have any weapons aside from the rockets that are in material breach, and whether this would justify invasion, is something that is obviously up for debate, but the logic that they should get to keep any weapon they want because they fear invasion is illogical; they are bound to honor the resolution, if they do not they will be sanctioned
Furthermore you seem to be implying that the U.S. is the one making the demands that Iraq destroy these missiles when in fact it is Hans Blix and the inspectors. I’m sure the U.S.’s heart wouldn’t be broken if they did destroy the missiles but they’re not the ones deciding if Iraq is in material breach in this incidence.
Once upon a time the sf chronicle was a generally liberal, but mostly balanced newspaper. Today, aparently, they print pictures of painted-up 9 year old whores and print their views as if a fucking nine year old had a fucklng clue what is going on in the world.
Is this what the war debate has come down two? Painted 9 year old whores appearing in major media publications spouting their ignorance?
Well, that last bit is something of a technicality. The US has made it abundantly clear that we’ve got our war on, its a happening thing. We are not about to be deterred by some impotent debating society that hasn’t got the backbone to agree instantly with whatever we propose.
If Goddam Saddam has the good sense that God gave a goose, he will make a big public display of destroying the missiles, etc. or, alternatively, asking for a public testing of its true range potential. If, as is likely, his strategy will be to withdraw within Baghdad and bleed America with house to house warfare, his missiles are entirely irrlelevent, seeing as how there ain’t a lot he can hit from Baghdad but Iraq.
“You don’t have to fly to get to the border, y’know. Iraq routinely stages manoevers along the Kuwaiti border”
I was under the impression that both no-fly zones were outside the effective control of all Iraqi military forces not just their aircraft. Of course I suppose the Iraqis could always send their missile launchers and troops and hope they survive American bombing.
Anyway this is moot because I just checked a map and the distance between Kuwait City and the southern Iraq border is about 60 miles well within the maximum range allowed by the UN. So your theory doesn’t stand up to the facts.
The UN is in charge? Since when? You mean since the last time we publicly bitch-slapped them for being irrelevent and impotent? Was that the point where the US firmly declared that the UN was “in charge”? Pretty subtle way of going about it. The ol’ reverse psychology.