Yglesias Gets the Game

This is why Matthew Yglesias will end up going places- he refuses to deny the obvious, whereas others in his ideological realm continue to spin, spin, spin. I’ll let Matthew speak for himself:

If Saddam woke up one morning, had a sudden change of heart, and decided to abandon his WMD programs because he was all the sudden a good guy, then of course it would be absurd for us to invade. That, however, is not going to happen. Insofar as Saddam might make concessions to the UN, he’d be doing it because he felt threatened by American policy and was trying to save his ass. Thus he might really open up to the inspectors and let his entire program get destroyed. And then the inspectors would leave. And the US troops built up in the Gulf would leave. And the sanctions on Iraq would be lifted. And the attention of the world community would drift elsewhere.
And then Saddam would start his program up again.

And then some hawkish American president would start making noises about war again. And folks would say that war must be the last resort. And that the US has to proceed multilaterally. And so we would go to the UN again. And there’d be a new resolution. And Saddam would obstruct the new inspections team. And we’d threaten to go to war. And some would call to give the inspectors more time. And there’d be talk of a new resolution. And talk about how the president was determined to have a war one way or another.

And thus the cycle would proceed, over and over again until either Saddam dies (but maybe not even then if he just hands off power to a successor) or else without the inspections and the no-fly zones Saddam builds a nuke before US intelligence can figure out what he’s up to.

Osama Returns

Osama is back, just in time for the Oscars, releasing a new collection of his greatest hits:

An audio tape purported to carry the voice of Osama bin Laden called on Iraqis to carry out suicide attacks against Americans and defend themselves against a U.S. attack.

The tape was broadcast on the Al-Jazeera Arab satellite station on Tuesday, the first day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha. The speaker also urged Iraqis to dig trenches and engage in urban warfare to fend off U.S. troops.

“We stress the importance of martyrdom operations against the enemy, these attacks that have scared Americans and Israelis like never before,” the speaker said, using a term often used by militants for suicide attacks.

Before the broacast, Secretary of State Colin Powell told a Senate panel Tuesday that he had read a transcript of the statement and that it shows why the world needs to be concerned about Iraqi ties to terrorism.

This will no doubt fluster the Democrats, who have been whining for months that there is no connection between Al Qaeda and Osama. Well, is this tape is real, there is now a connection. In short, loudmouths, here are your options:

1.) Claim the tapes are fake, and quit claiming Osama is alive. This will upset the anti-war crowd a great deal, as one of their favorite responses to the Bush Iraq policy has been to wail “What About Osama?”

2.) Claim the tapes are real, and endorse an attack on Iraq.

I am betting they will go for the third option, which is to sputter incoherently, call Bush the ‘selected’ President, scream something about unilateralism, and then go write domestic spending projects while yelling at Bush for ruining the deficit. Daschle and Kerry, of course, will have some more serious questions.

*** UPDATE ***

I was just reading Atrios (need to check in daily to find out who is a racist, you know), and I found that the Democrats have chosen option #4, which goes something like this:

The tape is a fake, planted by the CIA to prove a link between Osama and Saddam. Despite the fake nature of the tape, however, do not assume that we think bin Laden is dead. On the contrary, this tape shows that BUSH has failed to kill Osama and is a unilateralist bully who will do anything to go to war with Iraq.

My head hurts.

Goodbye, Saddam

When the anti-war (at all costs) movement and Saddam have lost the entire WaPo editorial board, including Mary McGrory (“I’m Persuaded“), your time is limited.

When you have lost the NY Times editorial board, it is time for Hussein to start thinking about exile. Or, as Matt Yglesias puts it:

As America’s slow-motion rush to war appears to be reaching it’s final steps, the Times editorial board shows up, limping about one step behind.

My Favorite Headline

Today’s best headline:

Saddam Says He’s Against War

No, seriously. That is the headline. Go check the link.

Col. Bacevich Speaks

Col. A. James Bacevich, one of the finest officers the military has ever seen (and I can say this, because he was my Regimental Commander in Germany) writes in the National Review online:

Those opposed to the prospect of a U.S.-led intervention in Iraq are unlikely to change their minds based on Secretary Powell’s remarkably detailed report to the U.N. Security Council. Indeed, anti-warriors will cite the specifics provided regarding Baghdad’s deception and obstructionism to support their own conviction that inspections will, if given sufficient time, succeed in disarming the regime. Given the breadth and depth of the intelligence available, they will ask, what chance does Saddam Hussein have of keeping the weapons inspectors at bay?

But Powell’s true purpose was not to turn around public opinion, either at home or abroad. His purpose was to provide the so-called international community with one last chance to join Washington in doing what the Bush administration has long since concluded that the United States must do.

That is, Powell’s purpose was to make unmistakably clear that the United States intends to proceed with plans to forcibly disarm Iraq and of equal, if not greater importance make an end to the Baathist regime. The countdown to war is well underway and will soon reach zero.

In that regard, the identity of the messenger was at least as important as the words he spoke. The announcement that war is now all but unavoidable came not from the cowboy in the White House or his surly secretary of defense but from the senior official widely seen as this administration’s voice of reason, moderation, and prudence.

Go read the entire thing.

Also, John Hawkins presents some interesting poll numbers.

Afghan Attack

Does anyone know anything else about this:

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan intelligence officers said Sunday they had foiled a plan to launch rocket attacks on the U.S. Embassy, international peacekeepers and Kabul airport at the weekend.

Engineer Amin, head of intelligence for Kabul, told Reuters his men had found 30 BM-21 rockets in the Tara Khail area near Bagrami on the eastern outskirts of Kabul Saturday morning.

He said five were primed to fire while the rest lay ready nearby.

He said a map found at the scene identified three targets — the U.S. embassy, the headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for Kabul and Kabul airport.

All the locations would be within operational range of the BM-21, a rocket designed in the former Soviet Union.

The Post Gets It

The whole editorial is worthy, but here is an important snippet:

The French and Germans are right about war: It is always terrible, it can have unpredictable results, and democracies can embrace it only as a last resort. Yet their posturing, combined with the waffling of Mr. Blix, has made war more rather than less likely. Saddam Hussein can draw only one message from the current debate: that the Security Council no more has the will to force disarmament on him now than it did in the 1990s. Mr. Blix’s report and the European reactions will encourage him to cooperate not more, but less. He might be contained for a while, but in the post-Sept. 11, 2001, world, another failure by the world’s powers to enforce Iraqi disarmament would be a disaster even worse than war: It would touch off a rush by rogue states for nuclear weapons. Consequently, the absence of firmness by the council will only force the Bush administration to conclude that it has no choice other than to bypass the United Nations and lead a “coalition of the willing” into Iraq. That coalition likely would include half or more of the members of the NATO alliance; France and Germany, more than the United States, would risk isolation.

One more time now- appeasement and weakness is a recipe for disaster. Go read the rest.

*** Update ***

From the comments, we find this excellent link to the Tocqueville Connection stating that when push comes to shove, the French will be with us.