Thursday, January 16, 2003
The Inpection Trap.
According to this article, the Bush Administration is privately reassuring Republicans that it will produce the necessary evidence to marshall public support for a war against Iraq.
Many skeptics have been complaining that Bush has failed to demonstrate a connection between September 11th and Saddam Hussein, but they are totally missing the politics of the situation. Whether or not it exists, why would they ever expect Bush to provide such a connection at this point in the process?
What Bush is doing is creating an "inspection trap".
U.N. inspectors are busy running around in Iraq, but so far haven't uncovered "smoking gun" evidence of WMDs. Rumsfield is saying that "the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." So anti-war activists are jumping on that. They are asking how Iraq can be required to prove a negative. They are more and more building their case around the failure of the Bush Administration to come up with concrete proof of either Iraqi WMDs or Iraqi-terrorist links. On the surface it seems like an effective anti-war strategy. It has had a limited amount of resonance with the American public, and it has had strong resonance with public opinion in other countries.
It is, as I said, a public relations trap.
Troops and material are still being moved into position for the upcoming war, and the pace is picking up rapidly, as indicated by all the recent reports about troop embarkments and other deployments. In a matter of weeks everything will be in place. Why would the Bush Administration want to prematurely reveal "smoking gun" evidence until the very day it was ready to flip the switch and start the actual aerial bombardment?
When the time comes, I guarantee you that Bush will make a major speech to the nation laying out his arguments for going to war in highly persuasive terms. He'll reveal previously-secret intelligence evidence which (true or not) will appear extremely convincing with regard to WMDs and terrorist ties. In effect the Administration is suckering its anti-war foes into putting all their eggs in one "straw man" basket, which Bush will conveniently knock down at the time of his own choosing. Public support for a war against Iraq will spike upward. Then, before Bush's opponents can assimilate the newly-revealed data and try to rebut it, the war will have started (and probably ended).
Those who think otherwise are again misunderestimating Bush.