Thursday, March 06, 2003

Peace Doesn't Have a Chance

Either through blunder or design the Bush Adminstration has manuvered much of the world to the point where peace with Saddam Huseein is no longer a rational option.

President Bush has focused so much attention to Iraq and applied so much pressure on is allies and to the UN that war cannot be avoided now without inviting a greater conflict later.

The Iraq issue has become a simple question -- after six months of threatening Saddam Hussein’s fascist regime with sternly worded UN resolutions and the possibility of military action is it more or less prudent to do nothing.

Frankly, the case for standing down now cannot be made with a straight face.

What would happen if the US/UK coalition fails to act in the next three weeks? It will leave behind a far more entrenched and dangerous threat with a newly energized regime, and a deeply demoralized and cynical opposition.

Surely, Saddam Hussein would calculate that the momentum in this ongoing conflict with the United States rests with him and he will likely capitalize on it. In other words, if he wasn’t an imminent threat to the US before, he sure as hell is now.

He sees how nuclear-armed North Korea is treated with care while Iraq is subjected to threats and indignities. Saddam will redouble his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Even if he gave up the ambition in the past, these past months have certainly rekindled the flame. And what if he’s caught importing restricted materials . . . so what? There will never be a moment when the will to act against him is greater than it is right now and if conflict isn’t triggered at this moment he can safely assume it never will be.

In a culture where revenge is a high art, the Hussein dynasty will find its purpose in life by living up to the myth of the unassailable Saddam, the scourge of the infidels. His prestige will eclipse bin Laden’s in the suicidal fanatic world and, unlike Osama, Saddam has a sovereign country to operate from.

If Saddam is not the focus of disorder and violence in the Middle East and the world today, he certainly will be from now on.

An apt analogy might be using antibiotics against an infection but stopping before the treatment has run its full course, the result is a temporary remission of the infection followed by a more rampant and dangerous expansion. Dangerous because it is now untreatable.

Even if the Bush Administration has pushed the crisis to this point because of oil, or familial revenge or some other peripheral concern, to back away now without finally deposing the Ba’aath regime in Iraq would be an unconscionable mistake that will mean far more danger, violence and war in the future than acting now.

Peace now means greater violence later. Time to give war a chance.

No comments: