Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Inspections Won't Work

Josh Marshall is sticking to his guns -- er, pen, since he's less than bellicose on Iraq. According to yesterday's post on talkingpointsmemo.com, the view that Bush is winning over popular opinion is foolish. Doubters of Bush's Iraq policy have supposedly bent him to their will by forcing him to go to the U.N.

Here's a prediction for Marshall: U.N. weapons inspections won't work, despite Saddam's recent change of heart regarding them. Saddam will have to be ousted eventually by the American military, whether it is a U.N.-approved operation or not.

The Saudis, who are going to let us use their air fields after all, know better than Marshall where this is heading, and they live in Saddam's neighborhood. The smack-down that Bush inflicted on the diplomats in New York by questioning their relevance made it easier politically for the Saudis and French to reconsider their original positions. But this should not be taken for the adoption of a containment policy by the Bush administration. In fact, it facilitates the more aggressive policy.

Marshall thinks that proposing inspectors allows us to feel safe if they are let in and justified in attacking if they are not. But are we not justified now? How many times must Saddam deny the inspectors access? How many times must he capriciously change his mind (as he has over the past few days)? The one-more-chance approach that Marshall advocates knows no end and has proven to be destructive of our security.


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