President Bush's Holy War
Jude Wanniski
July 24, 2002


Memo To: Arnaud de Borchgrave, editor-at-large, Washington Times
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Your Iraq Scenario

Very few men I know have the background and experience you have in foreign affairs, Arnaud which is why I was so happy to see you lay out the scenario of what will happen after Labor Day if the scuttlebutt is correct and our Commander-in-Chief decides on a reign of terror in Iraq. Unless the maniacs at the Pentagon are just bluffing, hoping to invite an assassination of Saddam Hussein by someone close enough to pull the trigger, we may have the very ugly scenario on our hands that you outlined in Monday's Washington Times. President Clinton was lucky when his first real use of force was at Waco, so he saw the unintended consequences of the use of force early in his administration. Casualties were few, even counting McVeigh and Oklahoma City as collateral damage. If President Bush starts at the other end of the scale, it could get as bad as you describe. Global depression would be a distinct probability.

I'm still hoping that wiser heads at the State Department and in the White House will make a serious effort to resolving the issue of weapons inspections. Iraq has clearly been willing to negotiate terms for a return of U.N. inspectors, and U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan was getting close to a deal, only to have it blow up when someone leaked a story to the NYTimes about the plans for an invasion of Iraq, whether a deal on inspections was done or not. I'd sent a letter to the editor of the NYTimes last week, when it ran an op-ed on how to deal with "Dictators," including Saddam. But the editors chose not to run it. I'm encouraging my audience to read your scenario. And here is the letter to the NYT editor:

To the editor:

Wendy R. Sherman's "Dealing With Dictators", (July 18), says the problem with Iraq is that "Faced with an offer of United Nations inspectors rather than probable extinction, Saddam Hussein , even after the urging of Arab states, cannot take yes for an answer." The "yes" that Mr. Hussein has sought since November 1991, when he believed Iraq had demonstrated compliance with UN resolutions on nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, is a lifting of the U.N. sanctions. The sanctions deny the government sales receipts of state-owned oil exports. Iraq had been negotiating on this issue with the U.N., walking out of the talks early this month only when the Times reported on its front page that the Bush administration is planning a three-pronged invasion of Iraq whether it allows inspectors in or not.

U.N. records support Iraq's assertion that in seven years of inspections no weapons were found that Baghdad had not identified. In 1998, UN General Secretary persuaded Saddam to allow inspectors to look anywhere they wished, including the presidential palaces, and when they found nothing they insisted Iraq was hiding weapons and it was his responsibility to show them the hiding places. They were not "kicked out," but left to avoid the bombing attacks by the U.S. and British that followed. Since 1994, it has been clear the United States had no intention of ending the sanctions no matter how many times Iraq said "Yes" to the ever-escalating demands of the U.N. inspectors.

Jude Wanniski
Chairman, Polyconomics, Inc.
Parsippany, N.J.