' Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Oct. 8, 2002 / 2 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

The temptations of George Bush

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | President George W. Bush has indisputably proven himself a world-class leader. For proof, one need look no further than the extraordinary progress he has made since Labor Day in moving the Nation and the World on the question of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

Today, Mr. Bush is poised to receive overwhelming, bipartisan congressional approval for whatever actions he deems necessary to deal with Saddam. Such an accomplishment seemed unimaginable back in August when the Bush Administration seemed adrift as it was buffeted daily by Republican and Democratic critics. At this writing, the President is preparing further to consolidate his base of support by taking his case to the American people via a highly publicized speech in Cincinnati.

At this critical juncture, however, Mr. Bush is clearly being subjected to a potentially irresistible temptation: Abandon his commitment to regime change in order to translate his mandate from Congress into support from the "international community." This would, he is being told, be expressed in a more-or-less satisfactory new UN Security Council resolution authorizing intrusive inspections finally to "disarm" Iraq.

Like most seductive propositions, this one would be so easy to agree to yet so problematic once that has been done. For one thing, Mr. Bush may or may not get the Russians, Chinese and French (who, together with Great Britain and the United States wield vetoes in the Security Council) to go along with a new resolution to his liking. Certainly, they are more likely to do so if the toppling of their client, Saddam Hussein, is off the table. But even then, the past track record of such nations suggests that they will be working to help Saddam undermine the new regime, and get away with it, before the new resolution's ink is dry.

While "W." is clearly aware of this danger, he is probably being told by Secretary of State Colin Powell that a UN agreement can be achieved if only the President will permit him to finesse the regime change bit. In fact, Mr. Powell floated this as a trial balloon last week, suggesting that Saddam could stay in power if only he went along this time with being disarmed.

You can just hear the pitch to Mr. Bush: Security Council backing would give political cover to Saudi Arabia and other fair-weather friends, making possible the sort of grand coalition Mr. Bush's father enjoyed at the time of Operation Desert Storm. It will be the world against Saddam, redux. And nattering left-wing congressional Democrats -- and maybe even Al Gore -- who say they are for ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction but are leery of trying to topple the man who has amassed them, would be silenced, if not actually brought on board.

It may even be that Mr. Powell is telling Bush #43 what he, among others, told his father eleven years ago: We do not have to worry about actually toppling Saddam; his hold on power will be mortally affected by the embarrassment he will suffer at UN hands. This time it will come in the form of intrusive inspectors, perhaps backed by armed multinational units with a mandate to go "anywhere, anytime."

George W. Bush must not fall into the same trap that wrested defeat from the jaws of his father's victory over Saddam in 1991. Unless the UN approves the one outcome that has any hope of actually disarming Iraq -- regime change in Baghdad -- a new inspections mandate will actually impede termination of Saddam's WMD programs. Inspectors will, at best, buy the Iraqi despot more time to pursue his megalomaniacal agenda; at worst, they will become hostages and "human shields" against future U.S.-led military action. The latter danger may be alleviated by, as some are proposing, accompanying the inspectors with up to 50,000 heavily armed troops. If such units wind up having to fight, however, they and their charges may be badly bloodied before they can be reinforced or extracted, a la "Blackhawk Down."

Even in that event, some may argue -- as they did in 1991 -- that the United States must refrain from removing Saddam Hussein from power since it has no UN mandate to do so. Absent such a mandate, we would be warned once again that the grand coalition would fall apart and the Arab "street" would rise up against so-called "moderate" governments in the region. We would be blamed for "aggression," a crime the new International Criminal Court may be wont to try to prosecute.

There is another temptation to which Mr. Bush is clearly being subjected: We need not worry about the time-consuming, potentially costly and politically challenging business of liberating Iraq if Saddam is assassinated or exiled by one of his cronies. Unfortunately, replacing the devil we know with what is likely to be "Saddam Lite" will not ensure that the weapons program pursued by the ruling clique actually is terminated.

More importantly, either of these temptations will forfeit the one thing that holds promise of ending the threat Iraq poses to its neighbors and the world: The prospect of freeing an Arab nation from tyranny. By sticking to real regime change as his central war aim, President Bush may have to reject the seductive promises of help, support and solidarity from unreliable quarters at home and abroad. But if he can bring about the genuine liberation of the Iraqi people, he will not only have given peace the best chance it may ever have in that region. He might also succeed in bringing the "blessings of liberty" to an Arab world that has never known them -- and that will be transformed by them, as have others who have been so blessed.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. heads the Center for Security Policy. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


10/01/02: Return of the San Francisco Dems
09/24/02: The next crusader?
09/17/02: It is no accident that advocates of coercive inspections have opposed prez's goal of regime change
09/10/02: A model for Iraq
08/27/02: Beware 'consensus leadership'
08/20/02: To Iraq or not to Iraq?
08/13/02: Trading with the 'enemy'
07/30/02: Who's trashing Ashcroft?
07/23/02: Wall Street's 'poisoned apples'
07/16/02: Back on the China front
07/09/02: See no evil?
07/02/02: Rethinking peacekeeping
06/25/02: Political moment of truth on defense
06/19/02: Inviting losses on two fronts
06/12/02: Make missile defense happen
06/04/02: The next 'Day of Infamy'?
05/29/02: Bush's Russian gamble
05/21/02: The 'next war'
05/15/02: Ex-presidential misconduct
05/07/02: When 'what if' is no game
05/02/02: Careful what we wish for
04/24/02: The real 'root cause' of terror
04/02/02: First principles in the Mideast
03/26/02: 'Renounce this map'
03/20/02: The inconvenient ally
03/12/02: Adults address the 'unthinkable'
03/05/02: The Saudi scam
02/26/02: Rumsfeld's 'now hear this'
02/19/02: Where's the outrage?
02/12/02: Post-mortem on 'Pearl Harbor II'
02/05/02: Spinning on the 'Evil Axis'
01/29/02: A challenge for the history books
01/22/02: Who pulled the plug on the Chinese 'bugs'?
01/15/02: No 'need to know'
01/08/02: Sentenced to de-nuclearize?
12/18/01: Missile defense mismanagement?
12/11/01: Is the Cold War 'over'?
12/04/01: A moment for truth
11/29/01: Send in the marines -- with the planes they need
11/27/01: 'Now Hear This': Does the President Mean What He Says?
11/20/01: Mideast 'vision thing'
11/13/01: The leitmotif of the next three days
11/06/01: Bush's Reykjavik Moment
10/30/01: Say it ain't true, 'W.
10/23/01: Getting history, and the future, right
10/16/01: Farewell to arms control
10/05/01: A time to choose
09/25/01: Don't drink the 'lemonade'
09/11/01: Sudan envoy an exercise in futility?
09/05/01: Strategy of a thousand cuts
08/28/01: Rummy's back
08/21/01: Prepare for 'two wars'
08/14/01: Why does the Bush Administration make a moral equivalence between terrorist attacks and Israel's restrained defensive responses?
08/07/01: A New bipartisanship in security policy?
07/31/01: Don't go there
07/17/01: The 'end of the beginning'
07/10/01: Testing President Bush
07/03/01: Market transparency works
06/27/01: Which Bush will it be on missile defense?
06/19/01: Don't politicize military matters
06/05/01: It's called leadership
06/05/01: With friends like these ...
05/31/01: Which way on missile defense?
05/23/01: Pearl Harbor, all over again
05/15/01: A tale of two Horatios
05/08/01: The real debate about missile defense
04/24/01: Sell aegis ships to Taiwan
04/17/01: The 'hi-tech for China' bill
04/10/01: Deal on China's hostages -- then what?
04/03/01: Defense fire sale redux
03/28/01: The defense we need
03/21/01: Critical mass
03/13/01: The Bush doctrine
03/08/01: Self-Deterred from Defending America
02/27/01: Truth and consequences for Saddam
02/21/01: Defense fire sale
02/13/01: Dubya's Marshall Plan
02/05/01: Doing the right thing on an 'Arab-Arab dispute'
01/30/01: The missile defense decision
01/23/01: The Osprey as Phoenix
01/17/01: Clinton's Parting Shot at Religious Freedom
01/09/01: Wake-up call on space
01/02/01: Secretary Rumsfeld
12/27/00: Redefining our Ukraine policy
12/19/00: Deploy missile defense now
12/12/00: Sabotaging space power
12/05/00: Preempting Bush
11/28/00: What Clinton hath wrought
11/21/00: HE'S BAAAACK
11/14/00: The world won't wait

© 2001, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.