Saturday, June 09, 2007


That would be Haim Saban, funder and namesake of the Brookings' Saban Center for Middle East Policy and home to the dangerously credulous Kenneth Pollack, the man who made the good liberal case for war so popular. case anyone still buys that "reluctant hawk" crap, here's kenny boy from January 2003:

What's the president to do?

First, he and his spokesmen must make clear that "cooperation" is not the same as compliance. Iraq's mendacious 12,000-page initial declaration was proof that Saddam Hussein has no intention of taking the United Nations up on what the Security Council unanimously agreed was his last chance to avoid war. As he did throughout the 1990's, he will give us cooperation without doing anything to comply with the demands of the Security Council to give up his weapons programs. And that is the only standard that counts.

The Bush administration should put much less emphasis on the weapons inspectors' futile hunt for a "smoking gun." Every inspection of an Iraqi site that finds nothing reinforces the misimpression that Iraq has complied. Moreover, as we experienced in the 1990's, every time the inspectors did find smoking-gun evidence of Iraqi cheating — be it the information supplied by the defector Hussein Kamel al-Majid (Saddam Hussein's son-in-law), the Russian missile gyroscopes that Iraq had imported after the Persian Gulf War, or the traces of VX nerve gas on Iraqi Scud warhead fragments — the Security Council still took no action to force Iraq to comply.

In addition, the administration should quickly share whatever intelligence it has with its allies in what Mr. Bush calls the "coalition of the willing," so that these countries will understand we have good reason for using force to do what Saddam Hussein will not do and the inspectors cannot do. And it should immediately publish, even in sanitized form, the large amount of information we have already gained from earlier defections of Iraqi scientists, which was always the most valuable intelligence we could get our hands on.

Last, after Mr. Blix reports today that Iraq has not explained the yawning gaps in the November document that was supposed to have been its "full, final and complete" declaration, Washington should press the Security Council to give Iraq an ultimatum. It must be made to account for the thousands of tons of chemical precursors, the thousands of liters of biological warfare agents, the thousands of missing chemical munitions, the unaccounted-for Scuds missiles, and the weaponized VX poison that the United Nations has itself declared missing. If it does so, the inspectors can verify. If it does not do so, we will have a plausible justification for war.

Back in 1998, Bill Clinton called off the strikes only to call them forth again a month later, launching Operation Desert Fox after Richard Butler, then the chief United Nations inspector, reported to the Security Council that Iraq was neither cooperating nor complying. Today, with 150,000 troops flowing to the region, our regional allies much more exposed, and Hans Blix about to report Iraq's "cooperation" to the Security Council, President Bush does not have the same maneuvering room. And it will grow even narrower the closer we come to war because Saddam Hussein undoubtedly has more mock cooperation tricks up his sleeve designed to play to the European Union-United Nations coalition of the unwilling.

With an iron will and some skillful diplomacy, President Bush can find a way out of this inspections trap. But he must do it quickly.