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Defense Experts Challenge Arguments Against Attack On Iraq ^ | 8/15/02 | Patrick Goodenough

Posted on 08/15/2002 5:29:42 AM PDT by kattracks

Pacific Rim Bureau ( - As debate rages about the wisdom of launching a military strike against Iraq, a leading defense publication Thursday called into question some of the key arguments against an attack, saying that many of the critics had been proven wrong in the past.

Jane's Foreign Report said its access to Bush administration thinking had led it to the view that opponents of an attack may be exaggerating the dangers while underestimating the advantages of a successful operation for the wider Middle East.

That assessment comes at a time politicians in the U.S. and key allies including Britain, Germany and Australia ponder the advisability of mounting a campaign to topple Saddam Hussein.

Arab governments have also expressed reservations about - and in many cases firm opposition to - any such move. Media opinion in the Western and Islamic worlds has been largely negative.

Iraq is accused of violating numerous U.N. resolutions and breaking undertakings to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction program as a condition of peace at the end of the 1991 Gulf War, which followed its occupation of Kuwait.

The authoritative UK-based publication's authors listed the main arguments used by Western media commentators and "armchair generals" who say any war would be disastrous.

These include a detrimental effect on world markets and oil prices; the potential for heavy casualties among American ground troops; disintegration of Iraq, threatening regional instability; a future regime that is worse than the present one; a backlash that could topple pro-Western regimes in the region; and even the possibility that - like Osama bin Laden - Saddam may disappear.

Jane's authors pointed out that the same critics had been wrong before - in their predictions about the Gulf War, the conflict in Yugoslavia and the recent campaign in Afghanistan.

Ahead of the Gulf War, they claimed it would last "for decades," that large numbers of Western personnel would be killed, that Saddam's Republican Guards would fight until the end, and that pro-Western regional governments would be toppled.

None of these predictions came true, Jane's said.

Neither did the critics' dire warnings that a war in Afghanistan would last for years and necessitate a lengthy deployment of U.S. troops

"In fact, most American troops are to be withdrawn from Afghanistan and the Taliban have run away," it observed.

"The doomsters were proven wrong in Iraq in 1991-1992, in Yugoslavia in 1999 and in Afghanistan in 2002. Could the critics be wrong again?"

Saddam 'will be finished'

The oil price will rise, Jane's conceded, but said the U.S. was hugely expanding its strategic oil reserves and OPEC could do little to block it. It also noted that Russia wanted to sell more oil to the U.S.

Unlike bin Laden who had spent years operating effectively from hiding, Saddam was a despised dictator propped up by security forces who would be "finished" once his regime began to collapse.

"Dictatorial regimes are brittle: as long as the population fears them, they appear strong; but when the fear dissolves, they collapse."

With Western support - which had been missing last time -anti-Baghdad rebellions, once they start, may well prove fatal for Saddam, Jane's predicted.

It also doubted that Iraq would disintegrate into a Kurdish state in the north, a Sunni entity in the middle and a Shi'ite one in the south. "In similar circumstances in Afghanistan, the country held together."

Regional benefits

As far as the nature of any future government goes, Jane's acknowledged that the anti-Saddam opposition was "divided and ineffective." But the situation in Afghanistan had been worse, "yet a government of sorts was put together very quickly, and it is still holding together."

A new government may lack stability, but it would be pro-Western and "infinitely better than the present one." Oil wealth would make economic reconstruction much easier to achieve than in Yugoslavia or Afghanistan.

Jane's also dismissed the view that Islamic extremists could assume power, saying the chance of that happening was virtually nil.

"The population of Iraq is highly educated and resourceful ... a reborn Iraq will show it is possible to avoid the trap of Islamic fundamentalism, while reforming from inside."

This, in turn, would have a beneficial effect on the wider region.

Other dictators, like those leading Syria and Libya, would have been severely warned; Kuwait would emerge from the threat of a belligerent Baghdad; Jordan's stability would be assured; Iran would be kept in check by a pro-Western Iraq; and Saudi Arabia would be "cut down to size."

Taking into account these arguments, Jane's concluded, it "might be a suitable moment for the critics to take a second look at President Bush's ideas."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters Tuesday that Iraqi opposition groups had agreed in talks last weekend that a post-Saddam Iraq should not be divided, should not have weapons of mass destruction, should be under the rule of law, and should "not impose its will on its neighbors" - thought to be a reference to the longstanding territorial claim to Kuwait.

The Administration has made it clear no decision has been taken on attacking Iraq.

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll released this week, 69 per cent of respondents said they approved of military action to overthrow Saddam.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.


TOPICS: Breaking News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: islamakazis; islamakazisatrisk; killingislamakazis; saddamistoast

1 posted on 08/15/2002 5:29:42 AM PDT by kattracks
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To: kattracks; dubyaismypresident
Key Phrase...
Oil wealth would make economic reconstruction much easier to achieve

One is beginning to wonder if X41, did not promise the Saudis that we wouldnt go to Baghdad, since keeping a hostile Iraqi government from exporting is the only thing propping up that corrupt little fiefdom.

2 posted on 08/15/2002 6:41:15 AM PDT by hobbes1
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To: kattracks; hchutch; Miss Marple; rintense; He Rides A White Horse
A great article to bookmark and repost when the two sides of the Axis of Whining Weasels start their doomsday predictions to save Saddam's a$$!

Kick Saddam's A$$ and seize his Gas!
3 posted on 08/15/2002 8:49:27 AM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: kattracks
["The doomsters were proven wrong in Iraq in 1991-1992, in Yugoslavia in 1999 and in Afghanistan in 2002. Could the critics be wrong again?"]

A more appropriate question might be: "Have they ever been right?"

4 posted on 08/15/2002 9:50:43 AM PDT by Mad_Tom_Rackham
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To: Mad_Tom_Rackham
"A more appropriate question might be: "Have they ever been right?"

Well, they sure did forecast the olympic figure skating competition results. I mean, how could they have known?

5 posted on 08/15/2002 1:54:37 PM PDT by Cobra Scott
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To: Big Steve; deport; blackie; Deb; Howlin; Miss Marple
6 posted on 08/15/2002 8:33:44 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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