Sometimes It's Interesting to Look Back
Be Careful What You Ask, by Jim Freeman
(February, 2003, One month before invasion)
Be careful what you ask for, ‘cause you might just get it. An old adage.
The Bush administration has based its Iraq policy strictly in terms of regime change, weapons of mass destruction potential and al Qaeda support. Now, it appears that those misnamed chickens may well come home to roost.
Although it’s gotten almost no US news coverage, the word out of Russia is that a Russian envoy, former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, made a quick trip to Saddam Hussein in late February to insist he cooperate fully with UN arms inspectors.
If the Russian reports are to be believed, Saddam not only agreed unconditionally, but offered further to scrap his missile program and invite UN peacekeepers into Iraq to back up their weapons inspectors. An international police force would stay on in Iraq until the work is fully complete.
Whoa, there goes the WMD requirement.
But in a further concession, Saddam has reportedly asked Vladimir Putin to tell the Americans and Brits that he is ready to invite both British and American oil interests back into Iraq to do business. This, after throwing them out some thirty years ago. Yeah? When? Immediately, if the US calls off invasion plans.
Exxon and all those other big guys get to go back without a war? Without having to rebuild a destroyed or sabotaged oil infrastructure? Clever guy, old Saddam. There goes another leg of purported support for war; the greed factor satisfied (at least in part) without an invasion.
So that leaves regime change and al Qaeda support, but the administration has never been able to make a credible Iraqi link to al Qaeda.
Vladimir Voloshin, a Russian administrative official close to Putin, flew to Washington on February 24th to deliver the details to president Bush. If the deal is straightforward and enforceable, it pretty much leaves Bush with no leg left to stand on but regime change.
That’s a pretty wobbly leg, given that attacking another sovereign nation solely because you don’t care for its leader, is unprecedented.
At least unprecedented in America.
At least until now.