Crystal balling the months again
On January 27, 2003, the United Nations inspection team headed by Dr. Hans Blix will render a preliminary report on its findings in Iraq. But do not expect Dr. Blix to provide any earth-shaking or war-making news. Iraq has a huge landmass providing lots of places to hide all sorts of weapons of mass destruction and lesser weapons as well.
This observer’s best guess is that the Bush Administration has some pretty good intelligence as to just where Saddam Hussein is hiding the so-called smoking guns. So why are we not providing this vital information to Dr. Blix and his inspectors right away? Probably, because to do so would reveal some sensitive sources and methods we would rather not reveal unless we just have to.
They say even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then. So, it appears the Bushies are hoping that the appropriate acorns are found without our having to divulge our intelligence sources and methods needlessly. Also, there is the matter of getting our planes, ships, tanks and troops in position to attack if and when an attack on Iraq is warranted.
Once our forces are in place, and that will happen rather quickly, the U.S. will ask Dr. Blix for his latest findings. If they warrant military action, the coalition will take it. If not, one suspects the U.S. will swallow hard and provide Dr. Blix the hard intelligence we are sitting on and then Dr. Blix will have to say a “material breach” of the United Nations resolutions has occurred and that will trigger the various military options.
But just before we pull the trigger there is the hope that Saddam will agree to a multi-million dollar golden parachute that will land him in Libya or Algiers or someplace outside Iraq.
If the golden parachute fails, then I think that will lead to a high-tech air power assault aided and abetted by CIA and Special Forces operators on the ground. If that minimalist approach doesn’t get Saddam out of power, then we will follow with more conventional land, sea and air forces.
Bottom line: Saddam is goner. It is just a matter of time. By that time, North Korea’s neighbors will have pressured it back into the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and gotten North Korea to prove with deeds, not words, that it has no nuclear weapons or has destroyed them. Failing that, look for the U.S. to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear production facilities just as the Israeli’s wiped out Saddam’s nuclear production plant back in 1981. An easy job for a dozen or so smart bombs
Not to worry about the GPS jammers purchased by Saddam from the former USSR. We bought some of them and they have been reverse engineered them to the point we know how to render them ineffective. And, even if they were effective, our smart bombs also have inertial navigation systems for guidance. Not as accurate as GPS guidance, however, still pretty darn good.
But we must worry about chemical and biological weapons in the hands of Saddam. In extremis, he just might use them. While our protective gear is pretty good, it is very uncomfortable and reduces fighting efficiency to a major degree. Almost certainly Saddam will set fire to his oil fields just as he did to the Kuwaiti oil fields as Desert Storm was about to overwhelm his forces.
History is on our side and not that of tin pot dictators such as Saddam Hussein or Kim Chong-il. Too bad these problems weren’t fixed before the turn of the century. But fix them we will and the new century will see a new golden era of western civilization.
To paraphrase one of this observer’s favorite songs of World War II, “There’ll be blue birds over the White Cliffs of Dover and Jimmy will go to sleep in the family RV filled with reasonably priced OPEC gasoline.
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy by William Penn – a novel about a terrorist attack on Colorado’s high country.
©2003. William Hamilton