Letter to the Editor: Plan hinges on crucial variable

The Franco-German “Mirage” plan, for the disarmament of Iraq, recently made public in the German magazine Der Spiegel, calls for an occupying force of some 10,000 or more U.N. troops and 2000 additional inspectors whose mandate would be to ensure the peace, as the U.N. assumes “total control” of the country for a number of years, during which it would itself oversee the destruction of all chemical-biological-nuclear weapons in Iraqi possession.

On paper this appears to be a bold plan for averting a war. But unfortunately the implementation of the Mirage plan hinges on a crucial variable: Would Saddam Hussein allow an occupying army into his country without a fight?

What evidence do the Germans and French have that Hussein is prepared to magnanimously hand over the reigns of power to the world community and except some form of exile?

And yet, there is some historical precedent behind the Mirage plan.

After all, it should be noted that Jean “Baby Doc” Duvalier, former dictator of Haiti, and Edi Amin of Uganda both excepted exile and lives of comfort in Europe.

But there are at least a couple of reasons to believe that this is not likely to happen.

First, it should be noted that Iraq has a far larger and better developed military capability than either Haiti or Uganda. Second, Saddam is in possession of large stores of chemical and biological weapons.

Nobody disputes this fact.

In the end, it seems that the Mirage plan is nothing more than an attempt on the part of the European powers to have their cake and eat it too.

History has made it painfully clear that “peace at any cost,” while a respectable notion, is not always practical one.

At some point, over the objections of the masses, the unpopular war must be fought; lives must be sacrificed, so that lives might be saved.

I fear that if we fail to take decisive and overwhelming action now, we may wake one day to find, as the Secretary of Defense put it, “the smoking gun, in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

Adam TaylorJunior German Major