U.S. Blueprint to Topple Hussein Envisions Big Invasion Next Year
April 27, 2002 11:35 AM   Subscribe

U.S. Blueprint to Topple Hussein Envisions Big Invasion Next Year "The planning now anticipates the possible extensive use of bases for American forces in Turkey and Kuwait, with Qatar as the replacement for the sophisticated air operations center in Saudi Arabia, and with Oman and Bahrain playing important roles. As to any war plan itself, the military expects to be asked for a more traditional approach than the unconventional campaign in Afghanistan. Such an approach would resemble the Persian Gulf war in style if not in size and would be fought with even more modern weapons and more dynamic tactics." There is no doubt Saddam is a bad guy but as his poll numbers return to earthly levels how exactly can Bush justify sending off 70-250,000 American soldiers to fight (and die) in Iraq - while we will most likely still be engaged in Afghanistan (looking for Osama) and ripping up Al Qaeda?
posted by owillis (44 comments total)
 
As long as Saddam stays inside his borders, I don't understand why the USA would give two shakes about him.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:46 AM on April 27, 2002


Are you implying the president cannot do anything unless his poll numbers are above a certain level? This is a representative republic, not a pure democracy. Also, Zogby's approval numbers are routinely between 5-10 points lower than practically every other poll out there, not that even 69% would be anywhere near "earthly levels."In any case, the justification (which is not owed to anyone) is clear: Saddam poses an impending terrorist threat to the United States, and must be removed before that threat becomes imminent.
posted by aaron at 11:54 AM on April 27, 2002


Stratfor says there's a good reason to raise the possibility of invasion now. (My comments on this). Lots of recent jockeying about in the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OCPW), too. We could skip the war on all sides and move straight to picking up the pieces, except there are male egos, resentment, and money involved. My guess: motive for attack on Iraq is a combination of belligerence / too many insiders who lack confidence in Hussein and his organization with regard to weapons inspection / aggressive first use.
posted by sheauga at 11:59 AM on April 27, 2002


but as his poll numbers return to earthly levels how exactly can Bush justify sending off 70-250,000 American soldiers to fight (and die) in Iraq

yeah, isn't the causation the other way around? like a successful military invasion would cause his poll numbers to soar to heavenly levels :) JIT for elections!
posted by kliuless at 12:01 PM on April 27, 2002


aaron:

I'm implying the President will be much less likely to take such dramatic moves if his poll numbers aren't at 80%. Zogby, FoxNews/Opinion Dynamics, USA Today, whatever - Bush's numbers will not be what they were on 9.11 or the few weeks after where he could have invaded Canada and the American people (self included) would have supported him. I'm also not saying (and don't believe) his numbers will slip into negative territory, I just don't think they will be as high.

Your idea that the President does not have to justify usage of the military to anyone seems a little loony to me. Last time I checked, the President still answers to the people - even the ones who didn't vote for him.

I'm not saying Saddam isn't a threat, I'm just wondering of the battle plan of a massive invasion versus a proxy battle or special forces wouldn't make more sense.
posted by owillis at 12:05 PM on April 27, 2002


My thoughts are pretty clear on this issue: The negative outcome of such engagement is clear and likely; the positive outcome of such engagement is vague and unlikely.

1) We cannot engage Iraq without inflaming other Arab and Muslim nations. This is not ten years ago. And the "inflame" doesn't just mean "incite to riot," but "promote hatred and ill-will." These are the factors that create the next generation of America-haters, terrorists, suicide bombers, crackpots, dictators and strongmen.

2) A convincing case for full-scale military intervention has not been made. We are not in the business of deposing leaders that we don't agree with. Impending terrorist threats exist world-wide: if, as the administration claims, Al-Qaeda has cells world-wide, then are we to attack the entire world, one nation at a time? If we supposedly won the last war, why are we not in a position on the ground to do what UN-sponsored work needs to be done?

3) Our goal is not clear. Ostensibly, we'll attempt uncover any evidence of weapons of mass destruction; yet, we failed to do this ten years ago, we have not accomplished it since (despite supposedly winning the war), and there's no evidence we will get more assistance from our vanquished enemy than we did last time. I believe the hunt for weapons of mass destruction to be a red herring. This would be the third major oil-important nation in which the Bush administration has intervened in less than 18 months; the total of non-oil-related interventions is zero. Attach that to the administration's connections to Enron, the false alarms about energy shortages last summer, the attempts to drill for oil on protected land, and I believe we have clear motive and modus operandi.
posted by Mo Nickels at 12:11 PM on April 27, 2002


Saddam poses an impending terrorist threat to the United States, and must be removed before that threat becomes imminent.

How and why is this true? I agree that polls should not be the prime motivator for action, but the fact is, they are.

6 Reasons We Should Not Go To War With Iraq, according to Ron Paul, R-Texas:
1. It ought to be done by Congressional Declaration of War
2. Iraq has not initiated any aggression against us
3. It is not morally just to invade Iraq simply because they could be a threat in the future
4. Invading Iraq will antagonize neighboring nations, and Russia, and China, and England, and.. (you get the idea)
5. An attack on Iraq will not be confined to Iraq alone
6. The cost of such a war would be prohibitive
posted by insomnyuk at 12:11 PM on April 27, 2002


the justification (which is not owed to anyone) is clear

i think it's a reasonable expectation to have our "elected" leaders tell us why they will be spending our money to kill people.
posted by rhyax at 12:13 PM on April 27, 2002


Our goal is not clear.

I think the goal is to prevent another terrorist attack. It seems more than likely that Saddam would perpetrate one if he had the opportunity, and also that pretty much everyone agrees on that point. This makes it political suicide not to act against him -- the fact that it happened once is horrific enough, but if it happens again and it is even possible that it could have been prevented, anyone who failed to act against it will have hell to pay.

This is political, to be sure -- it isn't clear that the human costs of a possible terrorist act would outweigh the human costs of a military action against Saddam. But the political cost of failing to act would easily outweigh those of a deliberate conflict. Hence ...
posted by mattpfeff at 12:23 PM on April 27, 2002


' we are not in the business of deposing leaders that we don't agree with' oh my aching sides, how I laughed.
posted by johnnyboy at 12:29 PM on April 27, 2002


Your idea that the President does not have to justify usage of the military to anyone seems a little loony to me.

I'm not trying to be political with this statement; it's a fact. Other than the explanations the president legally owes Congress, he does NOT have to go on TV and explain why we're going to invade Iraq (though of course he will when the time comes). He is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and if he says "Invade Canada tonight," well, look out Montreal. (Of course, once a president slipped into such psychosis, he'd probably have the 25th Amendment thrown at him within an hour.) But the entire Administration believes Iraq to be a very serious problem (and I believe the have a lot of classified information on the seriousness of the Saddam problem that we're not yet privy to), so something's going to be done about it. And, basically, the public's recourse, if they really think this is a bad idea, is to vote Democrat in November (if the invasion happens that soon) or to vote Bush out in November 2004.

I, too, believe he should give an explanation, but he does not have to.
posted by aaron at 12:29 PM on April 27, 2002


Hey, sheauga, fuck your sexist tripe. There are plenty of real reasons to object without projecting your own bullshit onto an already deeply troubling situation.
posted by NortonDC at 12:31 PM on April 27, 2002


This is political, to be sure -- it isn't clear that the human costs of a possible terrorist act would outweigh the human costs of a military action against Saddam.

I think it is clear. It just isn't clear when, which is why a lot of people would prefer to sit around and hope things just somehow get better on their own. I think this is naive. If something isn't done about Iraq now, things are only going to get worse when Saddam dies and his son takes over, a man so psychotic he makes Saddam look like Gandhi.

We can either do something now, while Saddam is a threat that can be (relatively) easily taken care of, or wait 15 years for him or his son to do something, directly or indirectly, that makes 9/11 look like a fender-bender.
posted by aaron at 12:36 PM on April 27, 2002


Sorry I forgot that the president (god bless him) only has to justify the outbreak of hostilities to the american people, I mean the american electorate must constitute the necessary quorum of mankind.
posted by johnnyboy at 12:37 PM on April 27, 2002


I think the goal is to prevent another terrorist attack. It seems more than likely that Saddam would perpetrate one if he had the opportunity, and also that pretty much everyone agrees on that point.

I disagree with that point. Why would Saddam want to do that? He may be a bad guy, but I don't think he's insane enough to ensure the destruction of his own country.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:54 PM on April 27, 2002


insomnyuk, to understand that point you have to buy into the "All arabs will eventually attack the US in some way" conspiracy theory. Nice to see mefi isn't above that kind of thing.
posted by skallas at 1:16 PM on April 27, 2002


What I wonder about is why the Administration is releasing to the New York Times now information about what they might or might not do nine months from now.
posted by Rebis at 1:19 PM on April 27, 2002


The best way to get him to use those chemical and biological weapons which he has and we supplied him in the eighties, is to threaten to remove him from power at every opportunity. Well, to actually invade would be the best way to provoke retaliation with WMD.

I have yet to see an argument that we can't de-fang him with airstrikes, an assasination or a coup. It's a cost- benefit thing.

"There have been at least six coup attempts in the 1990's, and they consistently fail," said an administration official.

They have been busy beavers, but obviously haven't had much luck in that department. Wouldn't you start to wonder what is going wrong after oh, say the 4th time things failed? At least there seems to a neverending supply of dissaffected generals.
posted by euphorb at 1:20 PM on April 27, 2002


I understand, from a recent NPR piece (this links to a fascinating discussion with Youssef Ibrahim about Saudia Arabia pulling money out of the U.S. and putting it in Euros), that Saudi Arabia sits on the vast majority of oil in the world. No news there. But Iran and Iraq together sit on perhaps the second largest reserve in the world. If the US has Saudia Arabia, Iraq, and Russia in its oily pockets, we'll be in great economic shape for years to come. Israel, however, might not fare so well.
posted by boardman at 1:20 PM on April 27, 2002


nice trolling skallas...let's try again. Perhaps it's called preventative maintenance against despots. How many Muslim countries are democracies? How many democracies are we attacking?

While I am not suggesting that we attack Saddam, because I'm in no position to argue either way, how about we keep our conspiracy theories about alleged conspiracy theories at bay?
posted by BlueTrain at 1:24 PM on April 27, 2002


to understand that point you have to buy into the "All arabs will eventually attack the US in some way" conspiracy theory.

Give me a break, skallas. I didn't say anything about Arabs -- you're the one making dumb generalizations. The rest of the Arab world could be saints; all it takes is one small group of crazy terrorists to prove my point. Or have you forgotten already?

I don't think he's insane enough to ensure the destruction of his own country.

Two things: 1. Some people disagree with this; and 2. He could very well think he can get away with it without risking his country, especially if he covers his tracks well enough. It's likely that he's already funding terrorists; and he also has the greatest resources to support terrorism. But he might be able to maintain plausible deniability, while still being instrumental to a successful attack.
posted by mattpfeff at 1:31 PM on April 27, 2002


Rebis: Trial balloon, opinion polling - but of course the Bush administration doesn't do that.

but I don't think he's insane enough to ensure the destruction of his own country

George Bush's saving grace is that Saddam is ridiculously stupid: Saddam Pays $25K for Suicide Bombers
posted by owillis at 1:35 PM on April 27, 2002


The rest of the Arab world could be saints; all it takes is one small group of crazy terrorists to prove my point.

(Which, to clarify, only concerned Saddam -- a single individual. And I don't think his actions have anything to do with his being an Arab, but with his being a lunatic.)
posted by mattpfeff at 1:37 PM on April 27, 2002


Give me a break, skallas. I didn't say anything about Arabs -- you're the one making dumb generalizations. The rest of the Arab world could be saints; all it takes is one small group of crazy terrorists to prove my point. Or have you forgotten already?

Bush lists three countries he calls the axis of evil and even though they're staying within their borders you are seriously advocating starting a huge military campaign in the middle east for the sake of a few crazies who, if we learned anything from afghanistan, may make it out of the bombing zone just fine and continue their deeds in a different non-descript cave?

If replacing Saddam with some new US approved leader (deja vu) would end terrorism I'm sure a lot more people would be for it. But right now there is nothing to prove that statement and another war to hedge one's bets might cause more troubles than before.

My first comment was trollish, but so far the best argument for attacking Iraq is an the occult one: the pentagon MAY or MAY NOT know something we don't. Is worth getting into another war and perhap destabilizing an already shaky region?
posted by skallas at 1:53 PM on April 27, 2002


fascinating discussion with Youssef Ibrahim about Saudia Arabia pulling money out of the U.S. and putting it in Euros

wow, that's really interesting in light of the dollar's precarious perch! like the dollar is as high as it's been since the plaza accord. a decline could be very destabilizing. such economic warfare, if it is that, has been looked at before, although i have my doubts that any individual country has the ability to affect such an outcome. but then again, with a little luck, a little collusion..:) identify the tipping point and you could precipitate (if not engineer) the collapse of a key pillar of US economic policy.
posted by kliuless at 2:26 PM on April 27, 2002


What I worry about is that this is being timed to overlap precisely with campaign season. The president and republican congressional leadership have generally not hesistated to use the war on terror to push domestic unrelated domestic policy so far, and have denounced any democrat who dares ask for more information on the war as unpatiotic. I think political considerations were a major force in the decision to create these plans with this timing.
posted by gsteff at 3:18 PM on April 27, 2002


It's simple. The American government wants oil at cheap prices. They're going to go get it. It's just business. With friendly puppet governments in Irag and Afhanistan, North America will have all the oil it needs for the next few decades.
posted by Captain Ligntning at 3:20 PM on April 27, 2002


you are seriously advocating starting a huge military campaign in the middle east

Dude. Did you even read what I said? I'm not advocating any such thing; I'm just discussing what its objective would seem to be. I even agreed that its human costs could very well be greater than that of inaction.

That's pretty smooth, I have to say, trolling someone when you haven't even bothered to read what he says. Nice to see mefi isn't above that kind of thing, indeed.
posted by mattpfeff at 3:28 PM on April 27, 2002


"I believe the hunt for weapons of mass destruction to be a red herring" HMMM. First off. If Osama is alive, he's in Bagdad, the only place he'd be totally safe. he's probably there with Nidal planning his "trap" when we come. Starting a war is easy. we already have the pretext- weapons inspection. What makes it more effective is having a few armoured divisons, a few marine brigades, The med fleet, a few carrier- airwings, and Britney Spears going in to protect those inspectors instead of men in funny blue helmets. Britney will be in the 2nd wave. "The American government wants oil at cheap prices" This is not about oil (business) it's personal. The world is barking at BIG SAM again, they (they being critics and or enemies) didnt last september did they, they shut-the-fuck-up. This is evident. and then they come around now...blah...blah..blah...does anyone think it makes an Iotas diffference when the ships head out, the C-130s start flying? HeLLOOO. we have been attacked few countries in history have shown more restraint then ours (few have made more blunders either) between 1945-1949, we had the world be the balls, it was our for the taking. heres the big question-did we take it?
posted by clavdivs at 5:36 PM on April 27, 2002


Well, we might as well invade. It would certanly be better to kill some soldures rather then small children do to economic embargo.
posted by delmoi at 5:57 PM on April 27, 2002


...small children do to economic embargo
Check out the second link in the post...
posted by owillis at 6:42 PM on April 27, 2002


ah. Then I suppose we shouldn't invade iraq.
posted by delmoi at 7:15 PM on April 27, 2002


What we should do is stay the hell out of Iraq and lift the sanctions. The sanctions aren't hurting Saddam's piggy bank, but they sure are hurting his people.
posted by insomnyuk at 8:04 PM on April 27, 2002


Hey, go easy on the guy - It's his birthday!

There's one good reason to invade Iraq and one good reason not to. Pro: Iraq is developing nasty weapons and these threaten our people. Con: We have no idea what to put in Saddams place (he's run the country since 1968). We can invade, overthrow and just hope things work out - but this runs the risk of installing another Ayatollah - or worse. In all the pages of analysis on Iraq I can't see that this problem is addressed, let alone resolved.
posted by grahamwell at 3:33 AM on April 28, 2002


i was just watching enterprise last night and the tandaran solution was to detain the suliban (a weak and conquered people, but with a militant arm: the cabal!) and place them in refugee camps for their own good. it seemed to be working okay until 22nd century human do-gooders came along and meddled in their internal affairs :)
posted by kliuless at 6:16 AM on April 28, 2002


I hope this invasion plan doesn't rely heavily upon the element of surprise.
posted by mikewas at 4:34 PM on April 28, 2002


hard to hide an amoured division.
posted by clavdivs at 6:28 PM on April 28, 2002


We did it once to them, but that does not make me eager to repeat it.
posted by NortonDC at 6:59 PM on April 28, 2002


no ones eager, but it must be done...its pretty much academic, the tanks start rolling into Iraq, the Iraqi people say: 'not again' and whack out the mustache petes.
posted by clavdivs at 7:05 PM on April 28, 2002


... and then Rumsfeld will get to "regret any collateral damage" again. I find it hard to believe that so many Americans have been duped to believe that any country would risk attacking the US. When we say that Saddam is a murderous lunatic it does not equate to Saddam is a suicidal lunatic because 1. Saddam is not a crazed fundamentalist hoping for a reward in heaven and 2. He has shown that he is superbly (and murderously) rational when it comes to his own survival. Although I'm sure no one in the US gives a damn about the destabilization of the entire region that would ensue from a US invasion, it would make life miserable not just for Iraqis (which will have at least the consolation that they would be rid of Saddam- only for a US friendly despot to take his place of course) but for the rest of us unlucky enough to live near that region.
See this analysis for a rational analysis of the situation.
posted by talos at 2:02 AM on April 29, 2002


...nice try.
posted by clavdivs at 9:11 AM on April 29, 2002


and whack out the mustache petes

and WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU SAYING!?
posted by y2karl at 11:02 AM on April 29, 2002


the pressure of having the U.S. army barreling down on...who ever, (we are using sadddammm as an example karl) seems to be a good incentive to remove those in power. mustache petes are referent to the old gang of mafiaiso who beheld the "old ways". It fits to a degree cause of sssadmanns mustache and his role as a dictator who is unwilling to bend to new ways. i thought it was kinda funny.
posted by clavdivs at 12:24 PM on April 29, 2002


I thought it was a competitor to Dapper Dan. I'm a Dapper Dan man.
posted by NortonDC at 12:43 PM on April 29, 2002


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