Wednesday, December 18, 2002

The Agonist brings up the important but often unasked question of what contingencies the U.S. has for Sadaam using WMD when his back is against the wall?
I have a problem, however, and perhaps Pollack will answer it later. The book is, after all, 443 pages long. Pollack constantly reiterates how Sadaam has used these weapons on those occasions when his regime was desperate. This begs the question: what is to prevent Sadaam from using WMD if we do march on Baghdad? After reading a quarter of Pollack's book and many other sources I think this is being very seriously underestimated. I hope it is not--perhaps the CIA and DIA and our other security agencies are taking this threat seriously. No one in the Adminstration, to my knowledge, has informed the American public of these specific risks. What happens if Sadaam uses WMD against American troops or quite possibly Israel, thereby enlarging the war? This brings me to the hyperlinked article above and this quote: "The two generals are concerned that the Wolfowitz school may underestimate the risks involved, the officials said. They have argued that planning should prepare thoroughly for worst-case scenarios, most notably one that planners have labeled "Fortress Baghdad," in which Hussein withdraws his most loyal forces into the Iraqi capital and challenges the United States to enter into protracted street fighting, perhaps involving chemical or biological weapons." The generals are concerned. Are the civilians?
This brings us to the nightmare scenario: We attack Iraq. Sadaam withdraws his forces to Baghdad, we enter the city, engage in street-to-street fighting. Sadaam unleashes chemical and biological weapons (if he has them) on the troops or launches a few missiles at Israel loaded with the same. Bush is now faced with the question: will he follow through with his threat to respond to such an attack with the bomb? After all, if Sadaam is in Baghdad along with most of his loyal forces, wouldn't glassing the ancient capital be the neatest, cleanest solution to the problem? One bomb -- problem solved. It's that kind of simplistic thinking, a characteristic common to the Bushies, that keeps a lot of people, myself included, up late at night.


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