Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ominous Predictions for the future of Iraq: Burns and Baker

John Burn’s prediction, in an interview with Charlie Rose, for what to expect if/when the Americans leave Iraq, is frightening. Compare it with James A. Baker III’s explanation for why the first Bush administration did not try to capture Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War of 1991. Here is John Burns to Charlie Rose: “… a civil war on a scale with bloodshed that will absolutely dwarf what we’re seeing with all kinds of implications for the world’s flow of oil, for the state Israel. What happens to King Abdullah in Jordan if there’s complete chaos in the region?” Here is James A. Baker III, on the reasons the first Bush administration did not try to find Saddam Hussein in the First Gulf War: “… If Saddam were captured and his regime toppled, American forces would still have been confronted with the specter of a military occupation of indefinite duration to pacify a country and sustain a government in power. The ensuring urban warfare would surely have resulted in more casualties to American GIs than the war itself, thus creating a political firestorm at home. And as much as Saddam’s neighbors wanted to see him gone, they feared Iraq would fragment in unpredictable ways that would play into the hands of the mullahs in Iran, who could export their brand of Islamic fundamentalism with the help of Iraq’s Shiites and quickly transform themselves into a dominant regional power. Finally the Security Council resolution under which we were operating authorized us to use force only to kick Iraq out of Kuwait, nothing more. As events have amply demonstrated, these concerns were valid. I am no longer asked why we did not remove Saddam in 1991!”

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