Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

The Realpolitik of Iraqi WMD.

Why hasn't Bush put the recent discovery of what happened to Iraqi WMD on the frontburner of every aspect of his Iraq press releases? Steel Wolf, a poster, takes a swipe at expalining it. Interesting stuff and well thought out.

The American Angle

1. Iraqi WMD is a dead issue. Except in very small doses, we won't find any in Iraq. Neither the left nor the right really cares, at this point, because both sides already feel vindicated in their beliefs about the value of this war. Thus, neither side will make more than passing reference to Saddam's WMD.

2. Bush is willing to let himself and the intelligence agencies take the hit on the WMD issue. Why? Because WMD was a means to an end. So long as Bush can push for the results he wants, he'll let peripherial issues go.

3. The end result, which has not been stated, but is clear to anyone who cares to look, is this: Bush intends to remake the political and cultural landscape of the Middle East into a place where Islamic fanatacism and WMD are hard to come by, or at least, unable to colocate. This goal cannot be attained by military might alone.

4. Bush realizes that MAD is not a deterrent against religious fanatics. In choosing to attack the social structure of the Middle East as a means to keep WMD out of the hands of terrorists, Bush's strategy appears to be long term and visionary. If his sights are indeed on a different target, that would explain why he seems unconcerned about short term setbacks.

5. Bush's true interest is not in Iraqi WMD but Iraq itself. Iraq is soon going to change from being a political liability to a political weapon. It will soon be generating internal pressure against every dictator and theocrat in the Middle East. The example of a modern, prosperous Arab state with a relatively liberal government will be a better destabilizing force for the region than another 10 divisions of the U.S. Army.

6. If we fail to either remake Iraq, or remake the Middle East, then Saddam's WMD is a non issue. If we succeed, it's a non issue. It's only an issue to Bush's credibility. If he's willing to take the hit, which apparently he is, then it will be chalked up to 'weak intelligence' and 'overzealous advisors'. Bush appears to have made his choice, and is sticking to it.

The Syrian Angle

1. Syria had every reason to help Saddam hide his WMD. Knowing that he'd be stuck between Israel on one side, and the U.S. on the other, Assad had to realize that his regime was in danger. He also knew that he had no effective direct courses of action to take. Still, he had to do something. America and Israel were clearly hostile powers intent on destroying his regime. So, what would his best options for resistance be?

2. Simply put, Syria's best course of action would be to attack the legitimacy of the war itself. He could easily hide Saddams WMD in with his own, and doing so would rob us of our legitimate objective. It would be next to impossible for us to prove otherwise.

3. Assad's hope may have been to lay low and wait for the pressure to force us out. So long as he didn't do anything overtly provocative, he knew that we wouldn't risk going after Syria as well. No one at the time could have forseen how easily we would have won the war, or how much resove we would show against the Fedayeen (who's preparations for a Vietnam like guerilla war against the U.S. Assad almost certainly knew about) or against the foriegn fighters (who Assad still sends in against us).

4. At the time that the decisions would have been made, I think that it would have been both feasible and desirable for Syria to hide Saddam's WMDs. Going on the very reasonable assumptions that the war would be difficult, that U.S. public opinion would disintigrate in the face of no WMDs and Vietnam like high casualties, and that world pressure would mount against the 'illegitimate war', the potential benefits far outweighed the risks.

The Final Word

One day, at some point down the road, the truth may come out. Or, it may be dumped in the ocean and forgotten. Either way, that battle for Iraqi WMDs is over. Bush's actions reveal that he likely had other intents for Iraq than to simply purge it of WMDs. Those intents are reflected in his interest in the new government and the potential it holds for the region.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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