Thursday, September 12, 2002

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STOP, OR I'LL SAY "STOP" AGAIN: Nicholas D. Kristoff argues that we should learn from the Cuban Missile Crisis in dealing with Iraq. In particular, he asks, "why shouldn't war be a last resort instead of the first tool that President Bush grabs off the shelf?"

I'll discuss whether the Cuban Missile Crisis works as an analogy after a good night's sleep, but for now, it's worth asking whether Kristoff has amnesia. The U.S. government has already used its other tools. Comprehensive, U.N.-backed sanctions did not stop Iraqi progress towards developing weapons of mass destruction; Iraq rebuffed U.N. inspections just when they were starting to work; the U.S. tried and failed to create a "smart sanctions" regime; coercive bombing has not altered Iraq's course. I think that exhausts the other options. Kristoff's preference seems to be accepting the status quo, which is a humanitarian disaster that the Arab world believes is the fault of the U.S. There are good arguments out there for not invading, but Kristoff is not making them.

posted by Dan on 09.12.02 at 11:36 PM