Iraqi Plan A Mirage

[email protected]

The Franco-German “Mirage” plan, for the disarmament of Iraq, recently madepublic in the German magazine Der Spiegel, calls for 2,000 additional U.N.weapons inspectors to be provided by Germany and France, as well as lowaltitude surveillance flights by German unmanned drones, middle altitudeflights by French Mirage fighters, and High Altitude flights by French U2spy planes. In addition, the plan calls for an occupying force of some10,000 or more U.N. troops, whose mandate would be to ensure the peace, asthe U.N. assumes “total control” of the country for a number of years,during which it would itself oversee the destruction of allchemical-biological-nuclear weapons in Iraqi possession.

On paper this appears to be a bold plan for averting a war thatnobody desires, least of all America and Britain (who would surely bear thebrunt of any attack on Iraq, in terms of casualties and costs). Butunfortunately the implementation of the Mirage plan hinges on a crucialvariable:

Would Saddam Hussein allow an occupying army into his countrywithout a fight?

What evidence do the Germans and French have that Hussein isprepared to magnanimously hand over the reigns of power to the worldcommunity and except some form of exile? As a rule, totalitarian dictatorsare not widely known for their largess. Saddam is no exception. That he hasengaged in every kind of dispicable cruelty against his own citizens,precisely in order to hold onto what power he has, is a matter of publicrecord.

And yet, there is some historical precedent behind the Mirage plan.After all, it should be noted that Jean “Baby Doc” Duvalier, former dictatorof Haiti, and Edi Amin of Uganda both excepted exile and lives of comfort inEurope, over death at the hands of an international coalition. So perhaps,like these terrible dictators of the recent past, Saddam will chose toquietly fade out of the world political scene.That is what the backers ofthis plan, including Russia, Belgium, and the Vatican, are countingon. But there are at least a few reasons to believe that this is not likelyto happen.

First, it should be noted that Iraq has a far larger and betterdeveloped military capability than either Haiti or Uganda. Haiti is one halfof a small island off the southern coast of the worlds largest, mostsophisticated, and deadliest naval power. Had Duvalier pushed war with theU.N. (and hence the U.S.), he would have been crushed hopelessly andswiftly, he knew that his only real option was cooperation and exile.Likewise Uganda lacked the military power, and exploitable geography, topose an serious obstacle to what would have ultimately been a U.S. andBritish led military campaign, and Amin knew this. But Saddam, if his recentvows to paint the desert red with American blood is any gauge, does notshare their timidness. He knows that any campaign against him can only beundertaken at great logistical expense (having to move an American armyhalfway around the world, to fight in the sand), and he has dotted hiscountry with networks of secret and secure bunkers, to ensure that, likeAdolf Hitler, he could continue to wage war from relative safety long afteran allied force lands. And he has reserves of the republican guard, who arewilling to put up a stinging fight should the war spill into the Saddam’sstronghold in Bhagdad.

Second, Saddam is in possession of large stores of chemical andbiological weapons. Nobody disputes this fact, even Saddams own son, inrecent appearences on Iraqi television, has made veiled threats to the useof such weapons in the event of an American led assault.

Finally, we must take into account Saddam’s relatively high standingin the Islamic world. He sees himself as a patron of the “Martyrs” inPalestine and a champion of the opressed peoples of Islam, and he is verypopular in many Islamic countries. To them, Hussein is a true brother, hecommands respect. This only adds to his delusions of grandeur, and hence tothe risk he poses. Until the Islamic world with a united and unwaveringvoice condemns him, and his terrorist ilk, there is no hope of himpeacefully stepping out of the way. To do so, would be considered an affront to Islam.

In the end, it seems that the Mirage plan is nothing more than anattempt on the part of the European powers to have their cake and eat ittoo. They want the effects of a robust military campaign (i.e..Iraqdisarmed, Saddam effectively neutralized, stability brought to theregion)with none of the unpopular risks of actually fighting.

History has made it painfully clear that “peace at any cost” while arepectable notion, is not a practical one. At some point, over theobjections of the masses, the unpopular war must be fought; lives must besacrificed, so that lives might be saved. I fear that if we fail to takedecisive and overwhelming action now, we may wake one day, to find, as theSecretary of Defense put it, “the smoking gun in the form of a mushroomcloud.”

Adam TaylorJunior German Major