There is one thing I simply don’t understand about the war party.
Suppose they are right, and Saddam Hussein has got access to nuclear and chemical weapons. Suppose he would like to cover Tel Aviv in anthrax spores. Why hasn’t he done so already?
It’s certainly not the goodness of his heart. The only answer anyone has suggested is fear of retaliation. Why, then, is it suddenly a mark of realism to advocate that we get our retaliation in first?
You might want to gamble that he will have no time to use his horrible weapons before the US troops are there. I wouldn’t, myself, if I lived in Tel Aviv, but clearly some people are prepared to do so. Or you might want to eliminate the possibility by simply nuking everywhere that might have a missile launcher in it. But no American president could do that without provocation, and after the provocation it would be too late.
Or you might treat him as we have treated every other evil, psychopathic dictator in possession of weapons of mass destruction — as someone who is concerned to preserve his own skin, and to enlarge his own power, no matter what the cost. Such people understand the language of deterrence. If it worked for Khruschev, why on earth shoudn’t it work for Saddam Hussein?
The only reason I can come up with is that he is an Arab. And there are simply too many powerful people, both in Israel and in America, who cannot believe that Arabs are members of the same species as we are, and susceptible to the same kinds of argument. Yet, if you cut them, do they not bleed?