Friday, March 14, 2003

In Slate Mickey Kaus highlighted this article in the Washington Post, in which Marine Gen. Peter Pace "said that while he would rather launch an invasion 'tomorrow' if President Bush gives the order, waiting a month to invade in hotter weather would slow down U.S. forces but not necessarily cause greater casualties." However, the article also noted: "But Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did say he feared a delay would give Iraqi President Saddam Hussein more time to respond to the U.S. military forces assembling in the Persian Gulf region, according to a number of those in attendance. Defense officials have said these responses could include destruction of Iraq's oil infrastructure or the use of human shields."

You might want to link that with this ABC News story, which points to the possibility of an Iraqi pre-emptive attack. The story sounds like a Pentagon plant, and may be employed as a means of justifying the rapid use of force, with or without a UN mandate. However, one can savor how much the conflict is being driven by the dynamics of the conflict itself: (until Pace's statement) attack now because US forces can't wait for summer; attack the Iraqis because they might attack us before we attack them; or, on the Iraqi side: Let's attack the US before they attack us, before we attack them, because they want to attack us. Read Tim Cavanaugh's piece in Reason to lament a more professional administration.

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