Has Saddam really done it this time--Rather interview

According to an item on the NBC evening news, which is sort of confirmed bythis story in the on-line NY Times, Dan Rather has had an interview in which Saddam has suggested that he will not destroy the marginally too long ranged surface to surface missiles as the UN weapons inspections people require. The whole interview is to be broadcast Tuesday night. Assuming that the NBC story is substantially correct and Saddam has dug in his heels on this one, has he finally demonstrated an intransigence that will trigger an international consensus that military action is necessary to bring Iraq into compliance with the Security Council resolution? If the story is true, and if Saddam does not retract the position, is this enough to overcome French-German-Russian-Chinese insistence that continued inspections will effect an Iraqi disarmament? It seems a little foolish to insist that inspections can work if given a chance if Saddam is demonstrated to have defied the inspectors. Having been strung enough rope is Saddam about to hang himself?

I have made my position fairly clear in past postings. It seems to me that up until this time the only necessity for war with Iraq is to protect the credibility of the United States–that having said that the nation is going to nail Saddam’s hide to the barn door we have to go ahead and try to do it, no matter what our friends might think of it. In the absence of US government officials at the highest levels running off at the mouth we could probably live with a robust inspection regime until this last development. I don’t think this justifies the already demonstrated resolution to go to war but it sure would seem to deflate any reasonable hope that inspections will pull Saddam’s fangs. Once that hope is dispelled, is there anything left but war?

I can see the guy’s point, however. Give up your missiles, say the UN inspectors. But if I do, says Saddam, the US will invade anyway and I’ll be deprived of a major means to defend my self. Well, maybe, say the UN inspectors. Hell, says Saddam, if I going to be in a fight anyway I might as well keep my missiles–they might come in handy.

Glad I refreshed one more time, you saved me the typing. Smoking Gun VI: Saddam Shoots Self and Allies in Foot!

I thought Saddam would cooperate on these missiles more quickly, what with the French twisting in the wind on this “cooperation” issue. I’m pretty sure that Sam Stone thought he would also. I can only speak for myself, but I was quite certain Saddam would give these missiles to UNMOVIC to buy some time and bolster the French. In the alternative, I was sure he would at least say he was going to do so, or, that he would find some other permutation between intransigence and actual compliance.

I gave Saddam too much credit. If he turns over the missiles - no real threat to the US military - it supports his position and allies in the Security Council. Saddam is just too isolated to be a good decision maker.

Saddam has no chance to win the war, let’s be clear. He can perhaps cause the war to become so bloody that world reaction forces a halt before it is really over. So, as it becomes more obvious that Saddam is going to use a scorched Baghdad policy, I’m becoming more willing to wait before we take the first step which gives him the pretext to slaughter his own people. In a nutshell, is he ever going to comply? Apparently even less so than I thought. Am I enthused about the consequences of his lack of compliance? Not one bit.

Yep, I thought so too.

I guess the lesson is, never underestimate the stupidity or blind arrogance of a megamaniacal dictator.

Chirac must be pissed tonight. Saddam cut him off at the knees with this latest stunt.

I didn’t see the interview so it might not be fair to comment on it (and it might make me look foolish besides) but Saddam’s position has been consistent through this whole thing: he wants at least the means to defend himself against an attack. And he’s certainly facing one. It’s a good argument on its face, one that the French and other UNSC countries would appreciate what with the pre-emptive strike issues, and they might want to work with him on that…after all, the missiles are almost legal and not what we’re really worried about, perhaps a deal could be made…etc. Blech. No he will never comply if he can keep using the UN against itself and not against him IMO. Crafty old bastard.

So I’ll guess that yes, it is a certain display of intransigence but not enough to overcome the strong objections to invasion. He’ll win that battle.

IIRC, NBC News reported tonight that the Bush Administration was taken by surprise with Saddam’s alleged comments during the interview.

What is really scary is that this is not the the first time that Saddam’s words/actions have surprised the Bush Administration. Is Bush so headstrong and blind that he is not anticipating anything by Saddam?

And since this has now happened more than once to the Bush Administration, I get even more concerned that Bush hasn’t taken a different public approach by saying “we anticipated this,” knowing themselves they hadn’t but need to say it so as not to have their domestic support base erode even more.

Just curious - Who exactly do you think Saddam’s allies are ?

The French in this case. They’ve armed Iraq for years. For some time Iraq was France’s biggest arms client. They have extensive oil dealings with Iraq, with a huge upside potential. France sold Iraq nuclear technology which Saddam openly boasted would allow the Arabs to finally attack the Israelis on even terms. Of course the reactor was bombed by Israel. France runs interference for Iraq on the UN Security Council. There is a great picture of Saddam with Jacques Chirac floating around on the internet.

Are the French military allies of the Iraqis, in a mutual defense sense or something? No.

If NBC reported it,it’s gotta be true. It makes their interview seem more important than it is.

Thing of it is, the evil old bugger has a point. He contends that his missiles, when fully loaded, would not have the range proscribed. That is an entirely reasonable contention. Under any other circumstances, testing that contention would clearly be the reasonable response. He further contends that the US will attack him anyway. Probably so.

More to the point, its a rather technical violation, being a compartively short range ballistic missile. We’re going to war over someone doing 40 in a 35mph zone? Does anyone seriously want to prented that this missile represents some dreadful threat to America?

Truly, it is stupid to be intransigent over this, and I suspect he’ll come around. If not, then he isn’t evil and cunning, simply evil. There was never any question that he deserves whatever happens to him. The question was more about whether the people of Iraq, and especially Baghdad, deserve it. And they most definitely do not.

In the meantime, we are building our coalition by the time honored expedient of proving to our potential allies precisely what side of thier bread the butter lies upon. Does Angola and Gabon have an AIDS problem? Would they like a bit of help? Strictly in the interests of humanitarianism, you understand.

Ah, what a lovely war!

Once again, elucidator is exactly right. What?!

I’m a little surprised that you did not hit on the Turkey deal, luc. The African deals probably won’t amount to 1/20 as much. And, do you really begrudge Angola and Gabon some money? Sure, it will probably fall in the wrong hands. But, c’est la vie.

It represents the power to cripple America’s power to defend its interests. Do you think a nuclear-armed Hussein would hesitate for one second before threastening to annihilate our troops or Israel if the US opposes him in any way? You can’t say that he has no plans for conquest since he amply demonstrated that in 1991, not to mention a test of strength during Clinton’s administration.

Agreed, but is that the only consideration and should that prevent the West from stopping Hussein from achieving his goals of nuclear capability? You could make that exact same argument to stop the US from fighting every war in its history. “Stop Hitler? Sorry, we can’t risk the lives of Geman women and children.” “Stop Kim Il Sung? Nope, too much risk to Korean women and children.” “Get Hussein out of Kuwait? No can do, women and children, you know.”

If we allow this to stay our hand now, then your concern for the women and children now will guarantee the deaths of Saudi women and children, Kuwaiti women and children, Israeli women and children, and Iraqi women and children.

Of what value are Angola and Gabon besides two votes in the UN that we would have had anyway? They have no troops or materiel that we need.

If we let guilt over other countries’ problems stay our hand, we might as well just go home and call it a day. “Never mind the budget, we’d better go help A&G!” “Drop space exploration while people are suffering!” “Let’s just use all of the budget on A&G, 'cause dammit, people are dying there!”

Iraq’s clear violation may indeed be a nitpickey point, but it’s still important. This shows that he doesn’t give a rat’s rump about the UN (neither do we, but we’re not going to attack Canada for fun either).

Er, the interview was with Dan Rather, who works for CBS. So it isn’t NBC’s interview.

The interview itself has not yet aired on American TV. Selected quotes from it were released by CBS to the other media. CBS is going to be running excerpts from the interview on Wednesday night.

Saddam is strengthening his hand, not weakening it.

On the eve of whatever date Saddam determines is the next “d-day” for responses – whether it is the March 1 Blix deadline or some subsequent security council date – Saddam will announce that Iraq “intends to” comply with Blix’s order. Saddam believes that a statement of intent is enough – after all, that is all he gave to get the last C- report from Blix. And by stating an intent to comply, but nothing more, Saddam gets to keep his missiles for the invasion.

In short, I think Saddam’s statement was entirely predictable. The question is: How will the Franco-German bloc respond to a subsequent statement that Saddam “intends to” comply?

In what way does CBS claim that the Bush administration was taken by surprise? They have been claiming from day one that Saddam and Co. have weapons of mass destruction, and no intention of destroying them. Now it has been confirmed, straight from the horse’s mouth (or the other end of the same beast).

I would tend to doubt if anyone who is willing to tolerate Saddam’s behavior to date, is going to fail to accept this as well. I suspect that nothing short of actually attacking another country (other than Israel) would be enough to change minds.

The rationale under which it is OK for Saddam to have these missiles escapes me. He needs the missiles to defend himself against the US, who wants to attack him because he has the missiles he needs to defend against the US, who wants to attack because he has the missiles he needs to defend against the US, who wants to attack…



It’s not as if I am really hot on bumping my own post, but–

According to a story on NPR (that vipers nest of liberal propaganda) the missile that the UN inspectors have directed Iraq to start destroying by Saturday and which Saddam is reported to have told Dan Rather (CBS Newsertainment) he will not destroy is:

An improved SCUD
Exceeds range limits when it has one guidance system. The guidance system the Iraqis claim will weight it down to the point it is within range limits is a second and additional guidance system. The system now in the thing is an inertia system that makes it accurate within a Klick or two. The additional system which the Iraqis are years from developing is a system that would take over in the last few moments of flight and make it much more accurate.
In its present configuration the missile is not much good for delivering anything but chemical munitions.
According to the ex-head of the Army War College the missile is a standard terror weapon on the order of the German V-2, from which it is derived, suitable only for massed attacks against an area target like all of Kuwait with chemicals.
If Saddam is intent on resisting an invasion with conventional weapons as he did in 1991, he doesn’t need it. If he expects to use a terror defense against cities and air bases and troop concentration areas he needs it very much.
The NPR guy (that flaming tax supported pinko, America hating liberal) asked the ex-War College guy if Saddam’s willingness to give up this particular system was a fair test of his willingness to play ball and to disarm. The response was that it sure looked like it.

Given all this, I repeat, if Saddam digs in his heels on this issue will it be enough to bring the French, Russians and Chinese around on the UN debate and at least abstain on the final vote in the Security Council? Since Germany has no veto and is committed to a pacifist course no matter what happens, it seems to me that we don’t worry about Germany. France, Russia and China, or any one of them can veto the whole thing and deprive the US and the UK of the moral high ground that comes with an UN sanction. All three, of course have other fish to fry. France is concerned about the US being the 600 lb. gorilla at the EU table. Russia has old aspirations about being a big player in Messopotania. China would like to see America’s wings clipped a little.

Saddam has NO incentive ever to agree right away to anything. Once he strings this out past March, he figures he’s home free at least until late next fall. Or perhaps he could claim that once he uses up the missiles against a US invasion, he will have destroyed them.

This is a tick on the elephants tail. The war is on unless Saddam flees. I still think he might do that, although I think it is very low probability.

Y’all don’t seem to grasp the key point here.

How much the Al-Samoud exceeds the allowed range – or even whether the Al-Samoud exceeds the allowed range – is irrelevant. What matter is that Blix has ordered them destroyed. If Blix decrees that goat cheese is a biological weapon of mass destruction, the Iraqis are duty-bound to destroy it, period. An order from Blix is, especially at this point, not an invitation to engage it meaningful dialogue. It is an order.

How will this play out? Well, first, the French are down on their knees praying that Hussein will hang tough and extract them from the enormous hole they have inadvertently dug for themselves. The French seriously miscalculated and are facing the prospect of 50 years of foreign policy going poof, thereby leaving France with all the international clout of Portugal. It is abundantly clear now that the U.S. is not going to back down. This leaves two possibilities. Either the French hang tough and demonstrate that neither France nor the U.N. has any actual influence on what happens in the world or the French back down, leaving all the countries they’ve been whipping up to support them – including Germany – furious and demonstrating that the French have neither the fortitude nor the influence to resist American power.

If Hussein disobeys a direct order from Blix, however, the French will have political cover to switch sides and will do so in a heart beat. The Russians and Chinese have never really wanted to carry the can on this so the Security Council will endorse a U.S. sponsored resolution with a comfortable majority.

If Hussein is delusional as well as psychopathic and refuses to start destroying the missiles by the deadline, there is also the possibility that a cabal of senior officers will either take him out or stage an insurrection. They must recognize that an obvious, public refusal to cooperate with the UN will completely destroy whatever slim chance the regime ever had to survive this confrontation. The idea that these missiles are somehow important to Iraq’s defense is bizzare. Iraq has no defense. Hussein may want to go out in a blaze of glory, but I doubt if the rest of the Iraqi elite does.

There is, however, the real probability that Hussein will announce on Saturday that destruction of the missiles has “begun.” Maybe they’ll chip the point on one or something. This would be perfectly in keeping with Hussein’s normal modus operandi.

. . . chip the paint on one . . .

Another reason why the missiles are limited to a range of 93 kilometers, from what I understand, is that Saddam is then forced to put them near his borders in order to threaten other countries, and that makes them easier to detect and stop.

According to an analyst on CNN last night, the difference between the 93 kilometers and 140 more than doubles the amount of area the missiles can be deployed in and still hit places like Kuwait City.