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Friday, July 19, 2002
Me, July 17, 2002:

"We're coming, Saddam. With or without anyone else, we are coming. We are coming for you, this time. There will be no deals. There will be no games with weapons inspectors. We won't stop because Kofi Annan has a conniption at the UN. We won't stop because massive casualties in the Republican Guard will look bad on TV. We won't stop when (not if) you start dropping Scuds on Israel. We will stop only when we get to Baghdad or in the extremely unlikely event that you can stop us before that.

"... We won't stop even if there are riots in the streets in every capital of Europe and the Middle East."

The Spectator, July 20, 2002:

"This is one of the least guileful Presidents in American history; what he says, he means. When he announced that the US would deal with al-Qa’eda in Afghanistan and then move on to Iraq, that was what he intended to do... Mr Bush’s phase two is now beginning.

"The Americans will not be deflected by the absence of support from continental Europe. A few months ago, William Hague asked George Bush how he would deal with European objections to ballistic missile defence. ‘I’ve got a secret plan,’ Mr Bush replied. ‘What is it?’ ‘I’ll go ahead anyway.’ So he will on Iraq."

Via Tim Blayah, intrepid Ozblogger.

So, do I have a wider audience than I thought?

Nah. Common sense is still common sense, even if it isn't very common. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Iraq is toast. The more interesting speculation concerns not whether we will go into Saddam's oil soaked fantasy land, but when and how.

The how part I leave to the people we pay to knock heads and break things. They have been doing a real good job so far, as indicated by the fact that the only political criticism now being voiced about the Afghan war is that the Secretary of the Army used to work for Enron.

As to when, I've heard everything from "soon" to "at a time calculated to effect the 2004 Presidential election." My money is on "soon" for two reasons, one blatantly political and the other practical. Waiting for the 2004 election risks losing domestic support for the wider war on terror because of interim events, so the invasion is unlikely to be postponed that long. Since Bush clearly intends to invade Iraq anyway, I assume that he will try to use the timing of the invasion to his advantage. Certainly there is no reason he should not do so. Therefore, I think the timing of an invasion will be used to effect an election, but not the 2004 Presidential contest. This year's midterm elections are also important to Bush, with the Senate evenly split and the Democrats attempting to use the accounting scandals to take back the House.

Frankly, if the only political affect of an October invasion is to get rid of Cynthia McKinney, it will be worth it.
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