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Response to malaise (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 01:00 PM

15. TIME's CIA guy is helping rewrite the history of the Iraq thing.



President Kill by Carl Oxley III.



What Bush Got Right on Iraq — and What Obama Can Learn from It

By Massimo Calabresi
TIME Viewpoint March 20, 2013

When George W. Bush became President in January 2001, American policy towards Iraq was in free fall and the United Nations sanctions against Saddam’s regime, in place since the first Gulf War, were in tatters. By early 2003, Bush had achieved something most analysts had thought impossible: sanctions on Iraq were tighter than ever and inspectors were back in the country. Most surprising, Saddam Hussein had reportedly offered to go into exile, as long as he could take $1 billion with him.

And then Bush threw that diplomatic progress aside and committed the U.S. to a war that would cost thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi ones, and more than $700 billion in American treasure. If you factor in veterans care and other costs, the price runs to the trillions. As President Obama heads down his own path to war over Iran’s nuclear program, it’s worth reviewing not only what Bush did wrong as he confronted Iraq ten years ago–but what he did right.

In Jan. 2001 the collapse of the Iraq sanctions regime was obvious. Passed in the wake of the Gulf War, the sanctions were intended to enforce provisions of Iraq’s 1991 surrender requiring the destruction of all of its chemical and biological weapons and prohibiting its pursuit of a nuclear program. All Iraqi oil sales were to be controlled by the U.N. But throughout the Clinton administration, Saddam violated the surrender terms and the U.N. sanctions regime. In Oct. 1998 he permanently kicked out U.N. inspectors. By November 2000, Syria had opened an unauthorized pipeline from Iraq. Oil and refined petroleum were flowing across the Turkish border in long convoys of tanker trucks. International flights, also banned under the sanctions, were starting up again. “The U.S. position is deteriorating by the day,” Ken Katzman, the long-time Middle East analyst for the Congressional Research Service, told TIME late in 2000.

By Jan. 22, 2003, things could hardly have looked more different. The year before, the U.S. had won a replacement sanctions regime at the United Nations allowing civilian supplies into Iraq while cracking down on material that could be used for WMD programs. These so-called smart sanctions brought renewed international cooperation and opened the way for more aggressive U.S. enforcement of the embargo. Soon the New York Times reported that the U.S. Navy was “taking a very, very energetic posture” on the enforcement of sanctions in the Gulf, at the same time that U.S. forces were patrolling borders from the air.

After mounting threats of war from the Bush administration in the summer of 2002, Saddam agreed to let U.N. inspectors back into Iraq for the first time in nearly four years. Congress authorized Bush in Oct. 2002 to go to war to disarm Iraq, and the following month the United Nations unanimously adopted a resolution threatening “serious consequences” if Iraq did not allow inspectors full access to all suspected weapons sites. When U.N. and IAEA inspectors returned to Iraq, their access was not complete: in testimony in Jan. 2003, the inspection leaders said weapons inspectors had been harassed and prevented from viewing some sites. But Bush had put Saddam under new scrutiny, and inspectors were learning more about his activities every day.

CONTINUED...

http://swampland.time.com/2013/03/20/what-bush-got-right-on-iraq-and-what-obama-can-learn-from-it/#comments



And to add to the, uh, plausibility of it all, TIME reports Saddam would have survived the Arab Spring. I'd laugh, were it not for the all the death and suffering.

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malaise Mar 2013 #1
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