Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Desperate Baghdad tried to avoid war: "Four recent articles, in the New York Times, Knight-Ridder Newspapers, Guardian, and by ABC News, while containing some slightly contradictory information, inform us that the Bush administration was so hell-bent on attacking Iraq (for reasons bearing no relation to the stated casus belli) that it not only mislead the American people, but resisted the abjectly humiliating efforts of Iraqi authorities to comply with almost all stated U.S. demands. The only demands Baghdad did not and could not concede to were those for 'regime change' (which international law does not recognize as a grounds for war) and for the surrender of the Iraqi military to American forces even without a fight."

This is reminiscent of the situation in January 1991, when Saddam effectively capitulated to the demand to evacuate Kuwait in order to avert the US attack. The problem was, of course, then as now, that the US had predetermined to launch the war, and thus this diplomacy could only be an embarrassment if it received publicity, which it didnt, at least not until well after the war when it is of interest only to historians. The difference between 2003 and 1991 is that the aggression is far more blatant and the pretexts far thinner. Bush even made it clear earlier this year that the attack on Iraq would go ahead even if Saddam went into exile.

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