Memo To: John McLaughlin
From: Jude Wanniski
Pat Buchanan and Fred Barnes want to bomb Saddam Hussein. Mort Kondracke merely wants to "scare" him. You really made your panelists look bad yesterday, by asking questions that had never occurred to them. What happens if we bomb Iraq without the support of our coalition and the Islamic world? Really, what does bombing accomplish anyway? How easy it is to be an armchair general, pulling triggers and spilling blood without having any responsibility for the consequences. I'm really surprised at Buchanan for his shallow analysis. He has usually been able to think a step ahead of the pack, but on this he seems to have done no thinking at all. It's all glandular. I was especially impressed with your focus on the fact that Saddam was only kicking out American inspectors. I was amused when Buchanan insisted that the inspectors are on the verge of finding some big deal biological weapon after six years of looking, and that the "Americans are the best inspectors," (which is a lame argument that he got from Frank Gaffney, a mad bomber, on a "Crossfire" show last week). When you suggested doubling the number of inspectors, in order to offset the loss of expertise, they clearly did not want to hear that kind of logic. Notice how they all began shouting, unhappy that you had trumped them. None of your panelists want to face the fact that Saddam is kicking out the Americans only because — as Tom Friedman of The New York Times points out — we will not approve a lifting of the sanctions no matter what Saddam does or does not do. The Times this morning quotes Saddam as saying: "We made sacrifices and later found that the promises they gave us went with the wind, and the Iraqis' plight remained as it is." Saddam is exactly right. We've promised the lifting of sanctions again and again over the last six years if he does X, Y and Z, and when he does, we add new requirements, A, B and C. This does not seem to bother Tom Friedman, who advocates assassinating Saddam, although he acknowledges we have no intention of lifting sanctions, be he a good boy or a bad boy.
Did you see President Clinton on "Meet the Press"? He said the only thing Saddam had to do to have the sanctions lifted was to cooperate with the monitors. He then emphasized "The Only Thing." I agree with you completely that it would be a major mistake for us to take unilateral military action. I think Clinton has not been able to find a way to have the sanctions lifted without having Republicans way to have the sanctions lifted without having Republicans condemn him for caving in to Saddam. A week ago, I advised my clients that I believed Saddam had undertaken this initiative in order to exploit the weakness in the coalition, which is tired of the charade that we are really trying to find weapons, when we are really trying to starve Iraq to a point that brings about Saddam's downfall. My hope is that the UN mission to Baghdad brought back an offer of a deal that Clinton may have known about when he taped "Meet the Press." The six-year embargo on oil sales has extracted enough penalty from Iraq, which seems to be the consensus of the coalition. There has to be a way of doing it, and it looks like this may be it. I hope we get a straight story out of the Times on the case Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi deputy premier, makes before the Security Council. Anyway, I tip my hat to you once again.