Although many believe that President Bush’s steadfast determination to disarm Saddam has made France and Germany’s “peace” actions irrelevant, the peaceniks have actually managed to make a certain outcome more likely: war. By providing Saddam a ray of hope that the dictator can survive without effectively disarming, the doves have lessened the likelihood of a peaceful resolution.
That we are at the brink of war in the first place is a direct result of Saddam’s refusal to comply with 17 United Nations Security Council establishing the terms of surrender for a war he initiated. Rather than playing cat-and-mouse with UN inspectors, Saddam could have kicked back at a Red Sea resort somewhere, sipping martinis or margaritas. Or he simply could have disarmed anytime in the past twelve years. But he has chosen defiance.
If war were truly inevitable in Saddam’s eyes, then he would at least be more likely to accept exile to a neighboring nation, as the United Arab Emirates last month called on him to do. But Saddam is resting his hopes on the ability of the France and Germany to avert war. Iraqi officials--who stand on the same footing at the UN as representatives from free countries such as South Korea or Chile--have joined the Franco-German lobbying campaign to “give inspections a chance.”
When--not if--the United States leads a coalition of the willing to disarm Saddam and liberate the Iraqi people, military efforts will be that much tougher because the repeated Franco-German stalling tactics have bought Saddam more time to fortify his defenses, not to mention house Iraqi soldiers in civilian neighborhoods. The more Saddam sees world powers rally to his defense and the more time he has to prepare to fight dirty, the less inevitable his ultimate defeat seems. That is why the Pentagon’s top priority at the start of the war is to drop bombs so heavily that Saddam quickly realizes the inevitability of his own demise.
It’s not hard to see why Saddam might not yet see the writing on the wall. Not only has he received repeated renewals of his “one last chance,” but he has some friends in high places. France has announced that it plans to veto any Security Council resolution that could authorize the use of force--aside from Resolution 1441, of course, which did just that--and French officials are pressing the flesh behind the scenes to garner support for Saddam’s cause. And doing everything to assist the Saddam-France alliance is chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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