Jewish World Review Sept. 25, 2002 / 19 Tishrei, 5762

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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Making Saddam change his spots | One of the least heralded triumphs in American foreign policy occurred on the night of Feb. 25, 1986, when two U.S. Air Force helicopters landed on a golf course adjacent to Malacanang Palace in the Philippines and spirited away Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, and as many of her shoes as they could carry. Filipinos were rid of a corrupt dictator without a bloody civil war. I've thought often since the world would benefit if there were a small country in a pleasant place to which dictators could retire with some portion of their ill-gotten gains when it was clear their time was running out.

The Chinese sage Sun Tzu, who after several thousand years is still the greatest strategic thinker who ever lived, said the highest form of warfare is to win without fighting. We should remember his advice as we ponder what to do about Iraq.

The optimal result would be if Saddam Hussein, like Marcos, would trade in his uniform and pistols for a floral-patterned shirt and golf clubs. Then a new, at least sort of democratic government in Iraq could destroy his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, and cease Iraq's support of international terror groups.

Less than optimal - especially for Iraq's longsuffering peoples - would be an arrangement in which Saddam retained power, but would be defanged. He would open up his country to robust inspections, which would destroy his nuclear, biological and chemical warfare facilities. Though less beneficial to us than Saddam's departure or his demise, this would, for us, be a satisfactory outcome, preferable to the enormous expense and risks that war would entail.

"Jaw Jaw is better than War War," said Winston Churchill, one of the greatest warriors of the 20th Century. There is no question that a diplomatic solution is preferable to a military one...if diplomacy actually will lead to a solution. Unfortunately, most of those who natter on about "diplomatic solutions" are more interested in providing Saddam with a fig leaf for continued deceit and obfuscation than in removing from the world the specter of nuclear terror.

>From Sun Tzu's time to ours, history has demonstrated repeatedly that the only effective means of obtaining a diplomatic solution to a crisis is a credible threat of military action. It must be clear we are determined to fight if diplomacy fails. And it must be clear that if we fight, Saddam will not survive the war.

Saddam probably won't change his spots under any circumstances. But the only circumstances under which Saddam might decide discretion is the better part of valor is if he is convinced the alternative is bloody death, very soon. If the United Nations really wants a diplomatic solution to the Iraq crisis, it must pass a resolution demanding Saddam admit, within no more than 60 days, hundreds of UN weapons inspectors accompanied by thousands of troops to protect them, who would be authorized to inspect any site they choose to inspect whenever they choose to inspect it, and to destroy immediately whatever contraband they find. The inspectors must also have the authority to interview any Iraqi they choose to interview without any other Iraqis (especially members of the secret police) present when the interviews are being conducted. The resolution must leave no ambiguity, no room for Saddam to quibble about details, and it must make clear what the "or else" is.

The United Nations is an animal with a large jawbone and a small backbone. The UN has never confronted a dictator when he was in power. But it has persecuted one after he voluntarily relinquished power (Chile's Augusto Pinochet), and another after the U.S. threw him from power (Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic). If the Iraq crisis is to be settled without war, the UN as well as Saddam must change its ways.

We've got to corner the rat. But it would be prudent also to leave a hole through which he - but not his regime - can escape. If Saddam is convinced we'll kill him no matter what, he'll choose to go down fighting, in the nastiest way possible. But if as the shadow of death falls upon him, the alternative of departure is held out to him, his resolve may crumble.

Ferdinand Marcos had pledged to die fighting in Malacanang Palace. But as the hour approached, a shameful (but comfortable) life in exile seemed more appealing.

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09/19/02: Bush's resolve already has paid dividends
09/17/02: Courageous Iranians
09/13/02: If you never served in the military, you have no right to an opinion
09/10/02: Why the 'air marshals' will fail
09/05/02: Resurrecting the "Happy Darky"
08/31/02: Are Bush's inactions against Iraq calculated?
08/23/02: Dems can't take the minority vote for granted any longer
08/20/02: No proof of Saddam's wrongdoing? Yeah, right
08/15/02: Mineta's war on what?
08/13/02: When Gore said he wanted to be his 'own man,' what was he thinking!?
08/08/02: Picking a tree for Cheney's hanging
08/06/02: Fears about the Department of Homeland Security are misplaced
08/01/02: The greatest strategic deception since Eisenhower convinced Hitler the Allies were going to land at the Pas de Calais?
07/30/02: State Dept.'s anti-American actions
07/26/02: Journalists are making sure Americans can't differentiate between the stock market and the economy
07/23/02: Iran's is on the verge of a social and political explosion. So why is media ignoring it?
07/17/02: FBI isn't supposed to stand for Foolish, Blind and Incompetent
07/12/02: The ICC tramples on rights Americans take for granted
07/09/02: Was LA International Airport shooting, in fact, good news?
07/02/02: What the "intelligence community" can learn from Alexander the Great
06/28/02: Muslim link in Oklahoma City bombing revisited
06/25/02: A good environmental scare needs two ingredients - an impending catastrophe, and someone to blame for it
06/21/02: Stirring the security pot
06/18/02: Why the military is so messed up
06/14/02: Vast majority $68.7 billion proposed for weapons will be spent on systems of little use in the war on terror
06/12/02: Bush saw them and raised them, and he's holding the aces
06/10/02: Some heads need to roll
06/04/02: A new draft for the 'war on terror'?
05/31/02: So the FBI has finally caught up to our priorities?
05/29/02: Taking on common sense
05/23/02: Political terrorists
05/21/02: There is a great deal to fret about, but I've never been more optimistic
05/15/02: If there is a way for America to lose the war, Gen. Tommy Franks can find it
05/13/02: Impartial justice against Americans by the UN?
05/07/02: Want to win the 'war on terror'? Reinstate the draft
05/03/02: An expanded NATO is needed as a counterweight to the UN and the EU
04/29/02: Islamic 'smarts'
04/26/02: Did Bush play his Aces with Abdullah wisely?
04/23/02: Why peace in the Mideast is closer than ever
04/19/02: What the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank gained from the "peace accords"
04/17/02: Logical Muslim allies
04/10/02: How to guarantee an infinite Mideast war
04/08/02: Saddam's American friends
04/05/02: Arab winners and sinners
04/01/02: Why is the commander of U.S. Central Command not coming clean to the American people?
03/31/02: Dubya under attack by conservatives
03/26/02: Saddam watch coming to an end?
03/21/02: Get the Jews!
03/19/02: It's time pols and gov bureaucrats be held to the same standard of accountability we insist for corporate execs
03/15/02: Khaki Throat
03/12/02: Making foreign cheaters pay
03/08/02: Timidity and indecision by senior American commanders
03/04/02: Why 9-11? Ex-CIA officials come clean
02/25/02: Don't rule out a quick victory --- even if prez says otherwise
02/21/02: Saving our military from itself
02/19/02: Front Page fiction
02/15/02: Our European allies are like the fat kid who wants to play quarterback
02/13/02: Is the Army in danger of becoming "irrelevant"?
02/11/02: So, I "propagate hatred"
02/06/02: Bush whacking the media
02/04/02: Why serious folks disregard the European Union --- and why Bush must, too
01/30/02: Give economy pneumonia in order to protect it from a cold
01/28/02: Media is its own worst enemy
01/25/02: Journalists making road to peace a bumpy ride, or: A case study in stupidity
01/23/02: Toward a stronger defense at a lower cost
01/21/02: How Bush could be Generations X and Y's Kennedy ... and guarantee a GOP victory in the midterm elections

© 2002, Jack Kelly