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From owner-imap@chumbly.math.missouri.edu Mon Nov 26 08:00:18 2001
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2001 00:43:08 -0600 (CST)
Organization: South Movement
From: Dave Muller <davemull@alphalink.com.au>
Subject: [southnews] Right wing telling Bush to hit Iraq
Article: 130829
To: undisclosed-recipients:;


Right wing telling Bush to hit Iraq

By Edward Epstein, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 November 2001

Washington—With the Taliban and Osama bin Laden on the run in Afghanistan, President Bush’s fellow conservatives are pushing him to attack Iraq as the next step in the war on terrorism.

Recent comments by high-ranking administration officials leave little doubt that Bush at least wants to increase pressure on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as part of the U.S. response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Hawks within the administration are said to want stronger action, including military strikes and an effort to oust Hussein.

Balancing the conservative push, however, are warnings from some analysts that the administration risks provoking a hostile world reaction if it goes to war against Hussein.

While no public evidence has surfaced linking Iraq to Sept. 11, the administration asserts that Hussein continues to try to develop biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.

He’s a very dangerous man, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said. We have to deal with him on his own terms. We didn’t need Sept. 11 to tell us that he’s a threat to American security.

Bush’s undersecretary of state for arms control, John Bolton, told an international conference on bioterrorism Monday that when it comes to nations believed to be working on germ warfare, the most serious concern is Iraq. Iraq’s biological weapons program remains a serious concern to international security.

Neither Rice, Bolton nor any other Bush administration official will say publicly exactly what they plan to do regarding Iraq.


But Bush’s fellow conservatives make clear they want a swift military strike to destroy Iraq’s ability to produce weapons of mass destruction and bring down Hussein, whose forces were routed by the United States and its allies in 1991 after he seized Kuwait.

I don’t think it matters if Saddam has been implicated (in Sept. 11), said Richard Perle, a high-ranking Defense Department official under former President Ronald Reagan and now chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board. He has weapons of mass destruction. The lesser risk is in pre-emption. We’ve got to stop wishing away the problem.


Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an informal Bush adviser, said, We are a serious nation, and the message should be simple if this is to be a serious war: Saddam will stop his efforts and close down all programs to create weapons of mass destruction.

He will expel all terrorists from Iraqi soil, or we will substitute a new government in Iraq, Gingrich wrote in a recent paper for the American Enterprise Institute.

This week another prominent conservative, Tom Donnelly of the Project for the New American Century, wrote a hawkish article in the Weekly Standard calling for military action against Iraq.

We must be swift, violent and decisive, he wrote, because a slow-moving campaign would give Hussein a chance to try to use the very weapons the United States wants to destroy.

Some academic experts outside conservative circles say the signs point toward U.S. action soon. It’s going to come to a head and it’s going to happen in the next few weeks, said Shibley Telhami, who holds the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. The Iraq situation was reaching a head even without the events of Sept. 11.


Attacking Iraq, however, could be a much riskier proposition for the United States than chasing bin Laden in Afghanistan. Telhami warned that Iraq’s neighbors, many of whom supported the war to oust Hussein’s army from Kuwait, can’t necessarily be counted on to back a new war against Iraq.

Short of real evidence (against Iraq), it will be a tough decision for this administration, Telhami said. Iraq’s neighbors are not so sure about this. . . . Clearly, the United States won’t be able to do it on its own.

It’s going to complicate the war on terrorism. It’s going to complicate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, he warned.

James Steinberg of the Brookings Institution said U.S. military action against Hussein might spark trouble in the Middle East. I would be very cautious that a United States invasion of Iraq would be welcomed there or in the region, said Steinberg, who was deputy national security adviser under former President Bill Clinton.

Hussein Ibish of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said a war against Iraq would be disastrous.

It will be seen as unjustified and cruel against the Iraqis who have suffered under the West’s bombing and sanctions and live under a cruel dictator who runs a police state, Ibish said.

He said attacks on Iraq could strengthen bin Laden’s contention that the West is at war against Islam, not terrorism.

Conservatives dismiss such fears. I think we would be regarded as liberators if we ousted Saddam, Perle said.

Telhami said the administration could choose to apply diplomatic rather than military pressure against Hussein. Short of attacking Iraq, it could ask the United Nations to return inspectors to Iraq with a new mandate to seek out and destroy weapons of mass destruction or labs used to produce them.

But given Hussein’s past efforts to thwart the inspectors, it’s doubtful Bush would pursue that option.

In attacking Afghanistan for harboring and abetting bin Laden, Bush resisted calls from Arab governments to present evidence against bin Laden and the Taliban.

But in acting against Iraq, Bush might heed such calls, especially since he has placed great stock in keeping together the international coalition he has assembled against terrorism.