Cut back on patrols over Iraq.
March 13, 2001 4:23 PM   Subscribe

Cut back on patrols over Iraq. One day we are told by Gen Powell that we will increase pressure on Iraq. Now we are told that patrols in no flight zones to be cut back. Do we have a policy or is it made up weekly?
posted by Postroad (4 comments total)
Sounds more like it's made up postroad. I was watching Powell in a hearing about this last week. He was visibly backpedaling, although with the tact and deftness of a gymnast. When asked if there had been an easing of sanctions, he responded (really rough paraphrase) "No, absolutely not. There is now a need for us to... not to ease sanctions, which has been happening somewhat. What we need to do now is refocus the efforts to make sure that we hurt the regime, and not the average citizen of Iraq."

He started out with a "no", made it into a "yes", then buttered it up with explanations. Whatta politician. (take that as insult or compliment, it may be either).
posted by kokogiak at 5:25 PM on March 13, 2001

Kokogiak: I had read somewhere this week that Powell was sort of out of the loop and that others are prevailing with their views. What I found interesting in this link is that all the nations that went along with sanctions have now pretty much abandoned them. The Brits had, till now, stayed with us. Now it is the Brits that say they are in jepardy if the flights continue. Then too in NY Rev of Books there is a piece saying that Serbs supplied fibre optic radar that the Chinese technicians installing for Iraq and that is what our bombing was all about when we went close to Baghad. I am not being critical of a position taken but there ought to be a clear-cut policy that can be judged by our Congress, one way or the other.
posted by Postroad at 6:17 PM on March 13, 2001

A clear-cut policy that can be judged by Congress? (Muffled, Dirty Dog-like laughter ensues.) That would be nice. On whose planet?
posted by raysmj at 6:37 PM on March 13, 2001

Postroad, that knowledge (of the fiber optics) did get reported several places, just not with much fanfare in the US media (which was busy salivating over Pardon My Pardon). In fact quite a bit of the detail about the bombs that went (slightly) astray was available if you went looking for it.

Notably China has now backed down, showing they know that Bush can do more for them on a good day than Saddam can do all year.

Powell has actually been gaining support for his position; he trial-ballooned it under fire but by this week was largely in step with the administration, who seem to have been swayed by Tony Blair's visit; he is a proponent of "smart sanctions".

Emerging policy seems to be predicated on the same principle that led us to cut off the war after trouncing the Iraqi army: we didn't want to have American soldiers patrolling Baghdad. The no-fly zones are a piece of the puzzle, but they were ostensibly instituted in support of the Kurds and other Iraqi minorities, who we clearly abandoned a long time ago -- they really have very little to do with the arms inspections. If anything, some of the schizophrenia that marked Clinton-era policy is being cleared up. I'm not sure how this pragmatism will sit with some hawkish elements in the GOP, though.
posted by dhartung at 9:42 PM on March 13, 2001

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