Thursday, January 16, 2003
Wow! Tough talk from the Washington Post on Hans Blix. Can the Administration really survive backing down, like John Derbyshire thinks they are going to do?
I don't see it. I think we're waiting now to see if last-ditch efforts by various Arab countries to get Saddam Hussein to flee to some palace in exile bear fruit. That end-game would be a win in some ways, a lose in others. A win because fewer people would die, and also because Saddam would be totally discredited; if he went down fighting, he might yet become a martyr. It would also show that the Arabs can "take care" of one of their own. But it would be a loss because American might and resolve would not be demonstrated, because our ability to operate freely in Iraq and foster a more friendly and, ultimately, democratic regime there would be limited, and because we would be left in a weak position to demand cooperation from our Arab "allies" - rather, they would be in a position to make demands of us, having "solved" the Saddam problem for us. But if such efforts are underway (and they appear to be) it's hard for me to see how we could ignore them. Hence the current calm before the storm.
Or maybe I'm just whistling past the graveyard. But it does seem to me that when the voice of the establishment says enough is enough, President Bush would have a very hard time giving Hans Blix more time.