Daily Archives: Monday, 03-Mar-2003

Force Without Force

Now, I understand that things don’t always come through exactly the way they are said when translated from one language to another, still this news report caused me to chortle:

French President Jacques Chirac said on Monday he was opposed to any United Nations resolution that would allow the use of force against Iraq, adding that inspections were still the best way to force Iraq to disarm.

“We are opposed to any resolution which would authorise, in one way or another, the use of force,” Chirac told a news conference in Algiers during a three-day tour of France’s North African ex-colony.

(emphasis added)

I’ll pass on my cynical side right now and concede that France is not concerned with the loss of tens of billions of dollars in oil contracts if there is a regime change in Iraq and is only concerned with the loss of life and human suffering should military force be used against Iraq. I can’t help but wonder, though, how you force someone like Hussein without force in one way or another?

Turkey Turns Us Down

There’s nothing like a credible threat of a real, all out war to cause a little action on the party the threat is directed toward. Whether one agrees with a war with Iraq or disagrees with that war one has to admit that Iraq has made more progress toward disarmement under this threat than they had in all the time the weapons inspectors left Iraq back in 1998. Yes, the weapons inspectors are being credited with the Iraq current disarmement but the opportunity for them to be there and the cooperation being afforded them by Iraq is due to the impending threat of war.

I was hoping the bluster from Washington and their appearance of steam-rolling through an invasion, with or without the approval of the UN, would at least continue to serve as a major incentive for Iraq to continue to cooperate with the inspectors. Since the US is using a lot of bluster anyway and is chewing up political capital around the world I was hoping at least some good could come from it.

I’m afraid the momentum may have just been lost. Turkey has decided not to allow US troops to deploy from their country.

I suspected this could happen. In fact, after the millions and millions of dollars of bribes aid that was promised to Turkey, to see that country turn down this aid a little of my faith is restored in the people of that region. I’m afraid, though, that if war does result, and I have no reason to doubt that it will, the absence of a Norther Front could extend the war and cause more casualties and damage to the Iraqi infrastructure. I’d rather see things resolved with as little harm as possible.

The biggest thing I fear, though, is that Saddam Hussein may see this as an out for him and decide he doesn’t have to comply with the UN resolutions after all. Even though Prime Minister Abdullah Gul stated:

“If (Iraqi leaders) understand this wrong and take advantage of it … they make it hard for peace to exist. No one should misunderstand this decision by parliament,” Gul added.

I’m not sure it matters to Hussein what Turkey’s parliment meant by this vote he’s still going to see it as a blow to any war efforts against Iraq and that may be the out Hussein is looking for to boost his confidence in riding this thing out.