What do the US want Saddam to do?

Let’s keep this here and not slip into Debates. I think there’s a factual answer to this.
I wonder what the US want Saddam, or the Iraqi government, to do. It seems to me as if, since the beginning of the current crisis, Baghdad has been accepting everything Washington demanded it to do (unrestricted access for the inspectors, etc); the latest example is Saddam’s (at least general) OK to destroy those any missile whose range exceeds 150 km. Alright, I see Saddam might be bluffing, as he has done many times before, and probably he is. But if he weren’t, he couldn’t do at the moment anything more than what he did - say OK. Yet Bush and Blair are not satisfied. The US and the UK want the Iraq to fully disarm, but if Saddam actually did so, and the inspectos could present evidence beyond any doubt that the Iraq did not possess any W of MD, would they be satisfied then? In other words, would a weaponless Iraq, still ruled by Saddam, be acceptable to them, or is replacing Saddam with another government necessary?

Iraq needs to demonstrate that it destroyed what it claims it no longer has.

Where did the bilogical weapons go? Where did the chemical weapons go? Where did the nuclear labs go?

“Oh, we got rid of them” is not an answer. You don’t just get rid of them.

Essentially, the U.S. position is “look, we all know what you had, and we watched you like hawks for years, and all we saw was you moving it/hiding it. Fess up, show us every nuclear component, experiment, material, all bio and chem related pieces, and when we see them all destroyed, and see jockeying stop, then we’ll consider whether the claim is credible”

Right now, the dog ate Iraq’s homework.

No. Yes.


So what they want is for Saddam to hand over all his weapons, and then leave.

And–what Philster said. “The dog ate my homework…” Yeah. :smiley:

Bush has stated, as clearly as possible for him, that an Iraq with Saddam in charge is not acceptable.
There is no factual answer to your question, imo.

Didn’t GWB say in a speech a couple of months ago that “If Saddam turns over his weapons of mass destruction, then there will have been a regime change?”
Did I imagine that, or has GWB just changed his stance in the last month or so?

It’s all Catch-22 for Iraq/Saddam:

  1. if he comes forward and put it all on the table now, then he was in such violation for so many years, Bush will argue that’s is so much of a breach, it’s proof he must go. Proof of stall tactics and delays.

  2. if he doesn’t come forward, and won’t stop the ‘dog ate my homework’ routine, then that’s a huge reach, and proof he must go.

The damage is done, and the U.S. is politley saying that all the UN stuff is charades, let’s not be afraid to do something in the middle east, starting with removing Saddam.

  1. He does come forward and put it all on the table now, and there really ain’t nothing there. Nothing more than what we’ve already seen, which in reality is nothing.
    It isn’t unusual for an adversary to allow you to think they’ve got a lot more than they actually do.
    mangeorge “I got all pig iron”

The answer to this has been spelled out repeatedly.

President Bush, “Iraq must disarm.”

Colin Powell, “Iraq must disarm.”

Ari Fleischer, “President Bush won’t settle for anything less than full disarmament.”

Tony Blair, “Iraq must disarm.”

UNSCR 1441, “2. Decides, while acknowledging paragraph 1 above, to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council…”

Hans Blix, “Resolution 1441 (2002) was adopted on 8 November last year and emphatically reaffirmed the demand on Iraq to cooperate. It required this cooperation to be immediate, unconditional and active. The resolution contained many provisions, which we welcome as enhancing and strengthening the inspection regime. The unanimity by which it was adopted sent a powerful signal that the Council was of one mind in creating a last opportunity for peaceful disarmament in Iraq through inspection.”

It is not Washington’s demands, but UN demands that are at issue.

Washington’s demands are that Iraq comply with UN demands. Hans Blix says, “Resolution 1441 (2002) was adopted on 8 November last year and emphatically reaffirmed the demand on Iraq to cooperate. It required this cooperation to be immediate, unconditional and active.” So far, Iraq’s limited compliance has been both conditional and reluctant. Hardly in keeping with the spirit of 1441. (See Hans Blix reports from Jan and Feb for support of this proposition).

I don’t see any way a reading of any the reports that Hans Blix has given to the UN could support the conclusion that Iraq " has been accepting everything Washington demanded it to do." A draft of his report given to the Secretary General on 2/26/03 indicated that “there is still no evidence that Saddam has decided to disarm.”

You can read Blix past presentations to the UN and see the repeated decisions Iraq has made not to comply with UNSCR 1441. If Iraq had “since the beginning of the current crisis, …been accepting everything Washington demanded it to do,” we would know about the biological and chemical weapons that Iraq has. To date, the total amount of information Iraq has produced regarding such programs is virtually nil.

Iraq did not say “OK.” Saddam originally said “no,” and then after Blix presented a draft of a negative report to SG Anan, he said there was an “agreement in principle” to destroy the weapons. Whatever that means. (By the way, President Bush predicted that Saddam would do exactly what he did.)

I think he could have done much more than what he did. First, instead of taking a week to debate a UN mandate, he could have simply complied. He could have started destroying the missles immediately. Instead, he argued that the missles complied, which no independent scientist believes.

The US and the UK want the Iraq to fully disarm, but if Saddam actually did so, and the inspectos could present evidence beyond any doubt that the Iraq did not possess any W of MD, would they be satisfied then? In other words, would a weaponless Iraq, still ruled by Saddam, be acceptable to them, or is replacing Saddam with another government necessary?


Before Tuesday, I think the answer would have been that the US and UK would have accepted disarmament with Iraq as being tantamount to a regime change, and would not have demanded Saddam’s removal. That time has, however, passed. I think the official end of Saddam’s reign began on Tuesday, when the President (in what was termed to the press to be a very important speech) began talking about post-Saddam Iraq.

Saddam hasn’t complied in 12 years, has not taken the “final opportunity” specifically referred to in UNSCR 1441, and the evidence would suggest that he has absolutely no intention of doing so now or in the future.

I tried to keep this factual. Hopefully, I succeed to a limited extent.

The question of “what if Saddam gets rid of his WMD?” is irrelevant. This is because under no circumstances will he ever do so, and the US knows this. He’s addicted to having WMD… I suppose it makes him feel big. Sure, he makes token gestures towards getting rid of them, and will continue to do so until the war begins, but he will NOT fully comply. Knowing this, the Americans know that disarming Iraq and regime change are, in real terms, one and the same thing. They have been working on this principle from day one.

On this basis, how can Iraq avoid war? They have one- very slim- chance. The internal coup. Saddam being unseated by one of his inner circle (his sons, the higher party and state paramilitary goons) will not satisfy the US. It would be the same regime, different guy. A coup by the army replacing Saddam may or may not placate the Yanks depending on what they reckon to the new regime. Anyway, Iraq is effectively “coup-proof” and there is only a month or so left before the coalition takes things to the pavement. War’s a fait accompli, I’m afraid.

Ask a couple of potentially stupid questions… Forgive me, I’m almost completely politically ignorant.

This war seems to have been largely made into a war on terrorism. How would disarming Iraq and/or removing Saddam prevent terrorism on US soil?

I thought we knew North Korea had WMDs… so why isn’t the US goverment going after them like they are with Saddam?

This is what it looks like to me.

  1. The entire Mideast situation is proportionately more important, and more volatile, than the Koreas, when it comes to the amount of trouble it manages to kick up for the rest of the world.

  2. Oil is important to our economy. The Mideast has a lot of oil. North Korea has no oil. People who have oil to sell are proportionately more important to us than people who have no oil to sell.

  3. Saddam Hussein has been a Really Bad War-Declaring Civilian-Murdering Ethnic-Cleansing Bad Guy for over 10 years now. He doesn’t have any powerful allies who are economically important to us that we are that worried about offending. As a Bad Guy, Kim Jung Il hasn’t been that bad, in comparison, and he is supported, at least nominally, by China, who we want to like us because of economics and stuff.

Taken all together, Bad Boy Saddam gets the teacher’s attention.

As for “how will a regime change in Iraq stop terrorism”, I would guess that a more Westernized government there might lead, in theory at least, to not so many anti-American attitudes and a societal climate which would be not quite so conducive to terrorist cells planning ways to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge, which anti-American attitudes are what seems to be driving the current bunch. Sort of “we’re all one big happy global family, so you don’t wanna bomb us, do ya?”

We don’t mess with North Korea as they are a seriously tooled-up nation who can give as good as they get. They are an example of what a fairly bonkers rogue state turns into if allowed to develop WMD unchecked. They are untouchable as attempting regime change there would be a bloody fight, ending with North Korea launching all its WMDs, presumably in sufficient quality/quantity to kill millions or tens of millions of people. If/when an imperiled Saddam tries his “launch all WMDs at neighbours” trick, he’ll kill thousands perhaps but not millions.

One of the main thoughts in the US administration is certainly: “Let’s not let Iraq turn into another North Korea. We don’t need two North Koreas.” This is why Iraq is a target while North Korea, except in the most extreme scenario, will be contained but not overthrown.

As for reducing terrorism against the West, I assume two things about the Anglo-American alliances viewpoint. One: they know things we don’t and that the public is not (yet) allowed to know, with regard to Saddam’s co-operation with terrorists (possibly including you-know-who) and this may well involve WMD technology. Two: with regard to creating “more terrorists”, anyone who hates the West enough to become a terrorist has already adopted that mindset, and neither the West becoming “softer” or “harder” will change that. Anyone liable to hate the West already does so, the damage has already been done a long time ago… and even of the West became exceptionally nice and left the “Islamic world” alone, these people would still find an excuse to behave as they do.

So, let’s get ready to rumble!

Plus NK has nukes.

What I don’t understand is:

  • assuming Saddam does have WMD like the government says and
  • since war seems to be inevitable and
  • since Saddam would obviously lose that war and be killed/captured

why doesn’t he just come clean and fess up?

The ostensible reason for the war is his WMD (I don’t think that’s the real reason but that’s another thread). But the reason that is officially being given is his WMD.

So why doesn’t he just hand over every single last drop of anything that might even remotely be considered dangerous?

The official reason for the war would then be blown out the water and the US would REALLY have to work at it to convince the world that they still need to invade.

I know people say Saddam wants these weapons but he could always wait a few years till everything has quietened down and then try to secretly acquire them again. Surely the survival of his regime must be his priority.

He may lose his WMD but at least he will live to fight another day if he can put off the war. He must know that there’s no chance of his regime surviving the war (despite what he said publicly in the Rather interview about fighting in the streets etc). So surely his only chance is to comply with the UN 100% and hope that is enough.

Since this is his only chance, it seems kind of strange that he hasn’t done it. Kinda makes me believe him when he says they really don’t have anything.

There’s not much point in him hanging onto these WMD if he’s dead/in prison. What could he possibly gain by not coming clean?

There’s only two choices:

  1. he really is insane enough to think that he can fight the war and somehow come out still in charge (unlikely)

  2. he genuinely doesn’t have any WMD and is therefore unable to destroy them (since they don’t exist)

Choice 3: He doesn’t truely believe the US will attack.

The guy would need to have balls of steel to be holding onto that belief though, what with half the US army surrounding him and threatening to invade with or without UN sanction.

And it’s not like the US are particularly reluctant to invade countries these days - Serbia, Afghanistan, the first Gulf war.

I just find choice 3 kinda hard to believe.

Ah, but you are sane :wink:

Actually, I think I’ve got the answer to my own question. There is a choice 4 which is that he can’t afford to own up to having the weapons now that he’s already denied having them.

What’s he going to say?

“Gee, I just found these 700 VX shells hidden out behind the barn covered in an old tarp. Honest, we had no idea they were there”

No one in the world would believe him.

The US and Britain would say:

“Look! See! He had the weapons all along. He’s a proven liar and you think we want to leave him in power?”


we invade if he doesn’t own up and we invade if he does,


Problem is if he’s not owning up, that means he retains the power to use them against us. Otherwise he would at least try the “owning up” strategy (if he thought it would give him a fighting chance).

Hmm… just have to hope the Iraqi army surrenders pretty quick and disobeys orders, I suppose.

Given the assault on civil rights in the past 18 months in the US, the constitutional violations or near-violations, and the current administration’s detentions of US citizens without trial or access to counsel, I have to wonder if Dubya is even capable of setting up a “free and democratic Iraq” when we’re having trouble just maintaining a “free and democratic” United States.

I knew it. I knew there would be someone too fucking stupid to read the forum descriptions.

We’re done here.