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By Geoff Metcalf

August 11, 2002


"Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war." 

--William Shakespeare

Former CIA Director James Woolsey recently told the Institute of World Politics the U.S. ought to invade Iraq with a couple of hundred thousand troops.

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Thomas Moorer disagrees and says we need to prepare for any invasion with a strict embargo to cut them off now and make them starve.

Both men have vast experience and insights and both men are wrong.

Woolsey is suggesting too small an invasion force, and Moorer is suggesting sound doctrine but way too late.

Admiral Moorer wants to weaken Hussein with a draconian embargo.  THAT should have been done ten years ago and republicans and democrats share the blame in trying to exploit Saddam’s oil while allowing him to build strength.  Moorer still hopes for an indigenous coup to overthrow Saddam.  Sadly, it is too late for that.  It is too late because OUR policy has enabled Hussein to strengthen.

The time for starving Hussein was 1991 immediately following the Gulf War.  Instead our addiction to cheap oil has provided Saddam with a Pyrrhic victory.

The time to play the Moorer cards was when Hussein played games with inspectors.  Clinton allowed Saddam to basically flip us off and he didn’t do Jack.  THAT was when the Admirals strict embargo could have and should have been implemented.

An invasion (although infinitely more complex) is essentially a raid with increased multiples and logistics.  The textbook necessities for a successful raid or ambush are (and always has been): Surprise, Firepower, and Violence of Action.

Preparing the battlefield (which is what Moorer suggests with cutting off supply, logistics and communications) is both a necessity and, frankly, an opportunity missed.

The axiomatic reality is Hussein has been and will continue to develop weapons of mass destruction.  He is not doing so to put in a trophy room or to use in a saber rattling display of See what I have!  He is developing his arsenal to USE IT.  And he will use it unless or until we do what seems anathema to politicians and American public opinion.

We MUST strike preemptively. Sooner rather than later.

There are consequences (good and bad) to what we do and don’t do.  We have already permitted Iraq to score some $2-Billion a year which has fed the Saddam war machine.

Notwithstanding the strategic myopia of politics, here is what we MUST do.

*        Embargo/blockade Iraq immediately.  Seal it off tighter than a Tupperware lid.  It may be too late strategically but not tactically.

*        Marshall the troops LOTS of troops and hardware (three times what Woolsey suggests) immediately.

*        When Europe, the UN and the Mideast scream. let them.  They will get over it.

*        The consequences of delay are epic and could result in massive deaths when a frustrated madman looses weapons of mass destruction on Tel Aviv or Haifa.

A couple of years ago I interviewed Daniel McGrory, co-author of ‘Brighter than the Baghdad Sun’.  Hee clearly chronicled the Hussein quest for nukes.  Subsequently I had the occasion to interview a MIT-educated nuclear physicist, Dr. Khidhir Hamza, who was the director of the Iraqi Nuclear Program until 1994, when he defected from Iraq to the United States. He is now the president of the Council on Middle Eastern Affairs in New York City.

Saddam Hussein IS a madman.  He is not reasonable or even rational.  He has not, will not, and cannot be expected to respond to negotiation, argument, debate, or reason.

We cannot and should not expect some indigenous opposition faction to do what they have repeatedly failed to do.  Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. 

Past failures are just that past.  We can discuss them as lessons learned and hopefully correct repeating those failures in the future.  However the clock is ticking and to embrace some blind hope that we can avoid doing what must be done is absurd.

Critics will argue the potential negatives of collateral damage, trauma to oil prices, and geopolitical territorial imperatives mitigate swift preemptive action.  BULLFEATHERS!

Teddy Roosevelt once said, "It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena  We need to enter the arena not for the credit but for the necessity.

Iraq has had over a decade to fix the Saddam stain.  The Mideast has over a decade to fix the problem of their dangerous neighbor.  The posturing UN couldn’t find their collective backside with both hands.

At the risk of sounding too harsh, consider the options.  We have to balance assorted negative consequences.

  • Iraqi collateral damage
  • Temporary oil market crisis
  • The snit of the ‘New French’ dysfunctional spoiled rich misogynists in robes
  • Iraqi weapons of mass destruction deployed against
    • our friends in Israel,
    • our neighbors and
    • OUR cities

This SHOULD be a no brainer.  The consequences of not doing what desperately has to be done so are totally unacceptable.

  "Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war" 

--William Shakespeare

© 2002 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved

Geoff is a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers.  A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Metcalf has hosted his radio talk show on the ABC/Disney owned and operated KSFO and in worldwide syndication.