Plagues of Saddam
The urgent, serious sounding media tell us about the possibility -- indeed, the certainty -- that Iraq will torch the land once the coalition forces led by the U.S. move against Saddam Hussein. We've seen a bit of this back in 1991 when Saddam, his forces routed, resorted to ecoterrorism by torching the Kuwaiti oil fields, triggering an "environomic" calamity.
Granted, this could alter the state of international public opinion in favor of Baghdad, but is the sympathy of Mexico and Syria on the UN Security Council worth the total dismemberment of Iraq as a whole? Saddam knows what nodes to attack in the minds of the antiwar, anti-American Left. Show it starving children (never mind that they starve to build presidential palaces), bring sycophantic American actors to the country (and show them nothing), speak forbiddingly of destruction (as antiaircraft weaponry violate the no-fly zone), and the more appeasement-minded sophisticates will turn and denounce the West for its inhumane mistreatment of Iraq.
Plus, if "world opinion" in Berlin and Paris is so amenable to Iraqi manipulation, is it worth having on our side in the first place? Charles Krauthammer has an excellent piece in the latest The National Interest about the consequences of the unipolar era. I recommend you read it to understand the unprecedented nature and duration of American unipolarity.
"Love is the crocodile on the river of desire."-- Bhartrhari, 625