Wednesday, March 19, 2003

That depends on what the meaning of "48 hours" is

US ambassador to the UN John Negroponte, back when Resolution 1441 was passed: “There's no 'automaticity' and this is a two-stage process, and in that regard we have met the principal concerns that have been expressed for the resolution. Whatever violation there is, or is judged to exist, will be dealt with in the council, and the council will have an opportunity to consider the matter before any other action is taken.”

So they lied. They always lie. Or just change the rules so many times even they don’t know that they are. After giving a 48-hour ultimatum, they still had time in the next 24 hours to change the rules again. Twice. 1) We might invade in less than 48 hours if Hussein refuses to leave (here’s Ari Fleischer on that: “Saddam Hussein has to figure out what this means.” So Ari doesn’t know either). 2) We’ll invade even if he does leave. The latter flabbergasts me, it really does. I can’t figure out if they literally changed the policy after putting the figurehead-in-chief on tv in prime time to announce a different policy, or if they meant to say that troops were going in no matter what, and just phrased it in such a way that no one in the world knew that’s what they meant. And I don’t know which of those options would show greater incompetence.

My theory: I think what happened is that they’ve got a preconception that is so clear to them they didn’t think it needed to be said out loud, which is that the Iraqi military is only there to defend Hussein, not the country, and that Iraqis would be so happy to be “liberated” that if Hussein was around, there would be literally not a single hand raised against an American occupying army. Well good luck with that.

Still haven’t found out which insurance company pulled the rug out from the inspectors. I suppose we can’t blame them, a private company isn’t designed to act in the public interest. Which makes you wonder about all those companies lining up to provide services to the Iraqis. The US is going to be contracting out the Iraqi school and health systems to the lowest bidder.

Here’s a cute piece on various ways Iraq will be made more like the US (Hussein winning by 100% v. Florida; right hand cut off for theft v. 50 years in California for stealing videos, etc). My favorite: 6. Saddam has been universally seen firing his gun indiscriminately and menacingly. Under the second amendment, this right would be extended to everyone.

Moo: Colin Powell issues his list of 30 COW countries, and what an odd coalition it is. Even one of the biggest allies, Spain, is unwilling to send the much-feared Spanish army into fight, but basically any country willing to say that it might offer a paperclip at some point during the war gets on the list. Hey, the Philippines gave us overflight rights, isn’t that helpful? No, really, I’m asking, is it?

The US gave permission to Turkey to invade Iraq, by the way.

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