We know you’re a whore for war…now we’re just haggling over price
Charles Krauthammer has softened his approach to the coming war with Iraq (Operation Avenge Poppy), but he still in favor of it.
Preemption is the position of the Bush administration hawks. Deterrence is advanced by a small number of congressional Democratic doves. But, ah, there is a third way. It is the position of Democratic Party elders Al Gore, Ted Kennedy (both of whom delivered impassioned speeches attacking the president’s policy) and, as far as can be determined, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. This third way accepts all the premises of the antiwar camp. It gives us all the reasons why war could be catastrophic: chemical or bio-weapon attacks, door-to-door fighting in Baghdad, alienating allies, destroying the worldwide coalition of the war on terror, encouraging the recruitment of new terrorists, etc.
Moreover, they argue, deterrence works. “I have seen no persuasive evidence,” said Kennedy, “that Saddam would not be deterred from attacking U.S. interests by America’s overwhelming military superiority.” So far, so good. But then these senior Democratic critics, having eviscerated the president’s premises, proceed to enthusiastically endorse his conclusion — that Saddam Hussein’s weapons facilities must be subjected to the most intrusive and far-reaching inspection, and that if he cheats and refuses to cooperate, we must go to war against him.
More important, why are these critics insisting on inspection and disarmament anyway? They have elucidated all the various costs of attempting to disarm Iraq forcibly, and told us that deterrence has worked just fine to keep Saddam Hussein from doing us any harm. If deterrence works, by what logic does Kennedy insist that Saddam Hussein “must be disarmed”?
The enthusiasm of these senior Democrats for inspections is really nothing more than an argument for delay. Yet what advantage is there to delay? The war will be just as costly tomorrow as today [my emphasis]. Even assuming that delay gets us a few extra allies, how does that prevent Saddam Hussein from launching his awful weapons or resorting to urban warfare?
The virtue of delay is that it gives Democrats political cover
Well yes. that’s one reason, but one of the major reasons is that the Democrats who are part of this “third way” want the rest of the world involved, something that Krauthammer can’t seem to contenance, possibly due to his contempt for any goverment other than ours.
Count me among the “third way” folks. Besides the fact that I don’t want to see the US bombing the shit out of a city of 4 million people, I don’t want to have to pay the 9.5 billion a month to run the country and rebuild it. Like the Gulf War, I would rather have a international community involved and sharing in the costs if they agree Saddam is really a threat to them.
Krauthammer does eventually write:
Nonetheless, I can both understand and respect those few Democrats who make the principled argument against war with Iraq on the grounds of deterrence, believing that safety lies in reliance on a proven (if perilous) balance of terror rather than the risky innovation of forcible disarmament by preemption.
But this doesn’t keep him from going back to his same old argument.
Since day one, Krauthammer has taken the Administration at it’s word about Saddam, without questioning their motives (oil, ’02 elections, Poppy’s revenge, oil, keep attention off the economy, oil, Halliburton, Harken, oil, Enron, failure to capture bin Laden, oil, Noelle Bush crack whore, oil…). Yet he only ascribes political motivations to those who oppose war. Why is that?
Like Michael Kelly and Andrew Sullivan, Krauthammer is still suffering from 9/11 hysteria, and, goddamit, somebody has to pay in blood, just so long as it isn’t theirs…