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Focus on Iraq: 
"Inspections" and "Containment"

March 11, 2003
Jim Wrenn (James R. Wrenn, Jr.)

Self-evident flaws in contentions that "inspections can work" and Saddam Hussein can be "contained."

    The flaws in the "inspections can work" argument are so numerous that to expose them all would continue to obscure two fundamental flaws rarely, if ever, exposed by opponents of such argument.  Therefore, the sole purpose of this commentary is to expose those two flaws:  

     First, that forcibly disarming Iraq and removing Saddam Hussein's regime will create a "payback" motivation for terrorists to launch 9-11-type attacks against us-- the negative implication being that a continuation of inspections would minimize such "payback" motivation;

     Second, that the West's having "contained" the Soviet Union until its collapse is proof that continuation of "coercive inspections" could "contain" Saddam Hussein.

That these flaws ought to be self-evident, however, does not negate the emotional appeal of the "inspections can work" and "containment" arguments.  Exposure of these flaws will negate, if not reverse, such emotional appeal in the minds of all but the most ideologically blind.

Flawed premises of the
"inspections can work" argument.

     Many, although not most, "inspections can work" proponents concede the inspections they now consider to be so effective would not be occurring absent the presence of a massive U.S. military presence in the Gulf region in a hair-trigger state of readiness.  Some, although not many, also concede that for inspections to continue in a manner they would deem effective would require indefinite continuation of a major portion, if not all, of such military presence.

     However, even if one were to assume such arguments to be correct, they would not support the conclusion for which they are advanced-- i.e., that such "peaceful" disarmament of Iraq (leaving Saddam Hussein in power) would minimize "payback" motivations for more 9-11-type attacks on us.  To the contrary, to follow such "peaceful" method would create equally powerful "payback" motivations.  Ground Zero is conclusive proof that such assertion is not idle speculation regardless of whether there may, or may not, have been direct, indirect, or tenuous connections between Iraq and 9-11 or even none at all.

     Such self-evident proof is the undisputed fact that a prime motivating factor that enabled al Qaeda to induce its fanatic followers to commit the 9-11 attack was the deep resentment among fanatical Muslims against the presence of U.S. military facilities and personnel in Persian Gulf countries.  Those same fanatics would be no less resentful of continuation of such presence (especially one dwarfing the pre-9-11 presence) to maintain hair-trigger coercion of Iraq to continue "cooperating" with "inspections."  Not only would the "peaceful" disarmament route fail to reduce such risks, it would more likely increase them by leaving in place a terrorist regime able to use the powers of a state to covertly assist and encourage its natural allies (such as Hamas) as well as its natural adversaries (such as al Qaeda) to increase the tempo and scale of attacks against our troops, our military facilities, our allies and our country.

Flawed premises of the "containment" argument.

     Virtually all "containment" proponents recite the mantra that our having "contained" the Soviet Union with its "far more dangerous" weapons for nearly 50 years is proof that we could effectively "contain" Saddam Hussein even if he were to develop nuclear weapons (or were to have already them).  Like the "inspections can work" argument, the fact that the flawed nature of the "containment" argument ought to be self-evident to those willing to engage in critical analysis does not negate its emotional appeal (especially in the minds of entertainers.).

     Throughout almost the entirety of our 50 years of successful "containment" of the Soviet Union, the world of nuclear armament was a bipolar one:  Western democracies versus the Soviet Block.  Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) deterred the Soviet Union from using terrorist surrogates to strike us with a nuclear bomb because in that bipolar nuclear era, the Soviets knew that such action by them would result in our immediate, massive retaliation against them.  Thus, the bipolar nature of the Cold War era created a powerful deterrent that no longer exists in today's era of increasingly proliferating multi-polar nuclear armament.  

     In an era of increasingly multi-polar nuclear armament, it would be truly mad to assume that megalomaniacal, sociopathic tyrants (such as Saddam Hussein) possessing nuclear weapons would be "deterred" from using terrorist surrogates to deliver nuclear horror to the West.  Unlike the Soviet Union in the bipolar Cold War era, such tyrants could easily believe they could utilize such delivery-by-terrorist method without the West being certain enough about the source to be willing to retaliate automatically (or ever).

Morality of freedom versus evil of tyranny.

     It's not rocket science and but merely common sense that we must make moral distinctions (based on the morality of freedom versus the immorality of tyranny) between possession of weapons of mass destructions by sociopathic or fanatical tyrants and possession of such weapons by democratic countries disciplined by the morality of freedom.