Thursday, December 05, 2002

Bush plays his hand

Earlier this week I asked what Bush wants or what he knows that we don't in response to his disapproval of Iraqi compliance with arms inspections. Today Bush played his card: he knows something we don't.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House said Thursday it possesses solid evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, and rejected Baghdad's denials, saying they have no credibility.

President Bush, asked if the United States was headed toward war, said: "That's a question you should ask to Saddam Hussein."

Full Text

One possibility is that Bush is only bluffing, hoping that Iraq will confess a weapons of mass destruction programme Saturday. That would a diplomatically risky but potentially rewarding bluff.

"The president of the United States and the secretary of defense would not assert as plainly and bluntly as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction if it was not true, and if they did not have a solid basis for saying it," Fleischer said. "The Iraqi government has proved time and time again to deceive, to mislead and to lie."

More likely, Bush has solid evidence of Iraqi possession of WMDs, and has known about this evidence for some time. He's probably held this evidence secret to force the UN into a stance against Iraq. Now that the UN has a new resolution on Iraq, if Iraq flouted this resolution then the UN would have to respond in order to retain its legitimacy--Bush has been very savvy in forcing the rest of the world into this position. So, if Bush has real evidence against Iraq, expect a war against Iraq regardless of the Iraqi response.

If the UN supports the war, then the UN will once again be under the thumb of the US as it was for the years after the fall of the Soviet Union.

If the UN continues to oppose war, it will become obsolete as the US will forego it, much as NATO has become obsolete in the past years. Whereas NATO was superceded in America's agenda by the UN, the UN will be superceded by a US-led coalition. If that politics might get ugly.


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