Tomorrow I head down to Memphis, TN for a brief weekend visit with my uncle Nando and his family. BBQ!! BBQ!!!
I was always somewhat leery of Enron "whistleblower" Sherron S. Watkins. The public praise heaped upon her by congressmen and the media came from the reality that former chairman Ken Lay looked like the devil in comparison. Plus, during her testimony yesterday, Watkins didn't finger Lay, she targeted most of her venom for former CEO Jeff K. Skilling. That came as a mild surprise not only to ZoNotes, but to observers I usually don't agree with.
How does one remove Saddam Hussein from Iraq? Or, should we just neuter him by destroying his capacity to generate weapons of mass destruction? These are fundamentally different questions with two general theoretcial approaches. Option 1 would involve the use of massed conventional forces -- armored divisions, expeditionary units, full air wings, carrier-based air support, smart bombs -- perhaps even a few nuclear weapons if Saddam really misbehaved. For starters, you need at least 100,000-200,000 troops, and you have to move all their weapons into the theater of operations, and then you need basing rights, and then you need to keep the Europeans from complaining, etc., etc. Option 2, some think, might require much less -- perhaps even a few bombers armed with the latest precision-guided munitions. This is unilateralism on the cheap, because the way the option is presented, you won't need much more than bases for your bombers.
That's only part of the story. The Americans cannot merely afford to pull a larger Osirak and expect the problem to go away. The 1981 Israeli strike on Saddam's Osirak nuclear complex smacked of the bravery and initiative the beseiged Israelis have to utilize to remain a viable state. Conversely, the Israeli attack did nothing to strike at Saddam's conventional forces, and eventually his strength in SW Asia grew. For all of the impact that it had -- pushing back the Iraqi nuclear program by at least 10 years -- it was merely a preemptory action.
The proper analogies for American action is the Six-Day War and the culminating phase of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Territory must be captured, armies must be defeated, and leaders must be removed. The Arab states have a reputation for building large armed forces that subsequently melt like butter when faced with superior adversaries. Consider the way the Egyptians went from crossing the Sinai to having its famed Third Army encircled by none other than Ariel Sharon. Or, the way the regular units of the Iraqi Army were overwhelmed in DESERT STORM. What of the Republican Guard, you may ask. It is still well-armed and motivated. But it can be defeated.
What of bases and rights? Are not our European and moderate Arab associates tepid about a second go-round with Iraq? But let's be serious. The objections, especially as voiced by the Europeans, originate with their own problems as opposed to concerns about American hyperpower. They are weak sisters not only in NATO, but individually as well. When the West preempts its enemies, it can win wars. Wars -- including this one -- started because our enemies believed we didn't have the willpower to fight back. Iraq isn't a test of resources or power -- the West has the means to dispose of the regime in Baghdad. It needs to believe that it can be done.
"Risk is either rewarded with sweet victory or punished with embarrassing defeat -- but respect for it will never diminish."