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Kenneth Pollack's Case

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This is by Kenneth Pollack, a former analyst of the Iraqi military for the CIA. In it, he lays out the case against both weapons inspections and deterrence.

His case against the weapons inspectors is simple: They've been shown not to work. He says:

Four years later, the international agency was so certain that it had eradicated the Iraqi nuclear program that it wanted to end aggressive inspections in favor of passive "monitoring." Then a slew of defectors came out of Iraq -- including Hussein Kamel al-Majid, the son-in-law of Saddam Hussein who led the Iraqi program to build weapons of mass destruction; Wafiq al-Samarrai, one of Saddam Hussein's intelligence chiefs; and Khidhir Hamza, a leading scientist with the nuclear weapons program. These defectors reported that outside pressure had not only failed to eradicate the nuclear program, it was bigger and more cleverly spread out and concealed than anyone had imagined it to be.

The case against deterrence hinges on the fact that Saddam has consistently overestimated his capabilities and underestimated the willingness of others to oppose him. This makes Iraq particularly dangerous, as:

America has never encountered a country that saw nuclear weapons as a tool for aggression. During the cold war we feared that the Russians thought this way, but we eventually learned that they were far more conservative. Our experts may be split on how to handle North Korea, but they agree that the Pyongyang regime wants nuclear weapons for defensive purposes -- to stave off the perceived threat of an American attack. The worst that anyone can suggest is that North Korea might blackmail us for economic aid or sell such weapons to someone else (with Iraq being near the top of that list). Only Saddam Hussein sees these weapons as offensive -- as enabling aggression.

Pollack makes a compelling case for dealing with Saddam now, rather than at some time in the future. This article is a must-read, even if free registration is required.

- Tom | permalink | changelog | Last updated: 2003-02-23 13:45

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