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Friday, August 02, 2002
 
A couple of things on Iraq:

Saddam may or may not have biological and/or chemical weapons, and may or may not have a nuclear program. With all the reports coming out, it's really hard to tell in the absence of proof. One thing we do know is that he has not substantially threatened any of his neighbors, directly or otherwise, since the invation of Kuwait, for which it is said that he had either encouragement from, or an understanding with, the US. In fact, reports indicate considerable arab support for Iraq.

If Saddam does, as the Bush administration strenuously maintains, have weapons of mass destruction, the question is, why? Another thing we know about the man is that he has strong instinct for self-preservation. He knows, from bitter experience, that attacks on other countries can have dire consequences. Although it is fairly evident that he doesn't care much about the welfare of his citizens, the kind of retaliation he would face after using these weapons seems like exactly the kind of thing he doesn't want. So why would he have them? The answer is simple. He knows that, should he lose power, he's a dead man. Under no circumstances can he allow himself to be deposed. If he has significant biological and chemical capabilities, they are almost certainly intended for use as a last-ditch defense against attack, which (leaving the US to one side) is most likely to come from his own citizens.

Basically, then, whatever weapons of mass destructions exist in Iraq are there as a deterrent to those who might seek to overthrow Hussein, and to be used if he's backed into a corner and has no other alternatives. So what do we intend? To send our own boys, without the benefit of cannon-fodder allies, over to Iraq to back him into a corner when, it appears, there may be alternatives. If the whole idea of invasion is to keep biological and chemical weapons from being used, we've sure got a funny way of going about it.