Wednesday, October 23, 2002

The Bullies are Cowing

The oldest wisdom suggests that if you stand up to a bully, he will fold. Is this what is happening in Baghdad and Pyongyang? While American journalists and pundits have spent the last few weeks wondering if Bush has softened his stance on the Axis of Evil, members of the axis have done a bit of softening on their own. And this is precisely because Bush has not softened. Congressional approval of military actions in Iraq sealed the deal for Saddam, in particular, who strangely understands more than his European sympathizers that Congress's decisions are more important than the U.N. Security Council's.

Nor is what is happening a reversion to a Powell policy of containment as some liberal pundits would have us think. This tiresome line is such wishful thinking by those who don't want to admit that Bush's policy is working. If the Iraqi regime implodes without a shot being fired, it will be because of the real threat of American force and hope of American assistance inspiriting the opposition. The heat is as much on Saddam as ever before, and he's clearly feeling it. His bizarre attempt to hold an "election," and his release of prisoners betray his fear.

The issue now is whether Saddam will be removed by his own people or by an American smart-bomb.


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