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 Nov 15, 2002 12:15 PST 

James Roger Brown

“There are many great mysteries of the wondrous Universe to contemplate,
young ones. If an asshole and an idiot get into a pissing contest,
which will win? What will be the outcome if it is a fool and an idiot?
Who will clean up the mess? Such great mysteries we must contemplate
and understand the meaning in our daily lives.” Bubba Ramdas, statement
made during a visit to the Depleted Uranium Munitions Radiation and
Birth Defects Treatment Hospital, Ohmygawd, Kuwait, June 6, 2001.

What memorable and representative photographic images of the leaders of
Iraq and the United States we have seen recently; Saddam firing a rifle
in public as a demonstration of his manhood and George W. Bush watching
a military demonstration through binoculars which still have the lens
caps on. What clear symbolism and symmetry. What idiots. What
mismatched enemies; Saddam Hussein totally focused on sustaining his
personal power and President George W. Bush so caught up in his own
personal “visions” he cannot tell whether he is looking at the real
world or not. Even if face to face on the battle field, these two still
would not be fighting in the same war.

The reality of this mismatch, despite the undeniable armed superiority
of the United States, is that Saddam Hussein has the strategic,
tactical, and intellectual advantage. Despite his inferior military
position and the certainty that he cannot defeat and occupy the United
States itself, with cunning and some well placed pushes he can seriously
damage the US and very possibly defeat the military force sent against

This is not a repeat of the previous war where Saddam was blind-sided by
false assurances of US nonintervention from a quack US diplomat. Unless
Saddam has suddenly gone stupid and incompetent, and there is no
indication of that, while George Bush has been prepositioning US assets
for war, so has Saddam been prepositioning the assets he will use.

Saddam’s opportunities are newly enhanced by Israel’s recent descent
further into Zionist Imperialism and the beginning of new and greater
rampages in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. One of the hammers Saddam
will have available to smash things with is his ability to influence
Islamic perception and public reaction with successful portrayals of
Israeli and US outrages perpetrated against Islam. Currently, both the
US and Israel are blindly and incompetently aiding Saddam in this area,
contrary to their own individual and collective interests.

Iraq is bordered on all sides by nations with at least some sympathetic
Islamic populations: Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and
Syria. This may be of importance for one element noticeably absent from
US media coverage of war preparations, the call earlier this year for
the formation of an Islamic worldwide militia to destroy Israel and
defeat any military incursion by the United States. Only the BBC took
notice of this call.

The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers run the entire length of Iraq. The
denial of bases to US Iraq invasion forces in neighboring states would
require landings in the South, moving up in the area of Umm Qasr and Al
Bashra, and in through Kuwait. If Saddam destroyed bridges in advance
of US troops, movement would be slowed by a minimum of one bridging
operation and two for a direct line route to Baghdad. Securing a land
route would be necessary to ensure an all-weather supply line, either by
land or river. With the lack of access through neighboring States, a
secure land route is also a necessary contingency for a line of retreat
and evacuation. One of the greatest blunders in the Vietnam War turned
out to be the wilful absence of a military retreat and evacuation plan.
There was a considered and conscious decision that defeat would be
treated as unthinkable.

One of the decided advantages Saddam has over George W. Bush is that he
has to accomplish less to achieve victory, a point the Senior Bush
failed to grasp in the last war. All Saddam has to do is remain alive
and retain control over Iraq. Through his rhetoric, President Bush has
established three conditions that the United States must achieve to
declare victory. Iraq must be completely disarmed of “weapons of mass
destruction” (WMD). Saddam Hussein must be removed from power. An
identifiable battle against world terrorism must be fought and won.

Only one of these three declared goals has even a remote chance of
becoming a proven reality. It is possible the United States could
undeniably demonstrate the removal of Saddam Hussein by producing his
dead body and genetic mapping evidence that it was in fact Saddam. The
necessity for this level of proof is the known fact that Saddam has
several doubles to serve as bullet sponges on his behalf.

Declaring Iraq “weapons of mass destruction” free, requires proving the
negative proposition of fact, “There are no weapons of mass destruction
remaining in Iraq.” Proving this statement true is virtually
impossible. First, there is the problem of what constitutes a weapon of
mass destruction. As the Russians recently demonstrated to the world,
even “nonlethal” gases can be converted to weapons of mass destruction.
The Russian incident also raises the question of threshold, what is the
number of people a weapon must kill over what period of time to qualify
as a “weapon of mass destruction.” Are the US depleted uranium
munitions left in Kuwait and Iraq weapons of mass destruction? Does
Saddam have to declare them to the UN Inspectors, since he technically
has possession of some of them now? Are the UN Inspectors required
under the UN mandate to find and destroy the remnants of each spent
uranium shell to prevent Saddam using them to produce a “dirty bomb?”

The United States would have to identify and destroy every piece of
industrial or scientific equipment that could be used to produce a
chemical, biological or nuclear substance capable of killing large
numbers of people, regardless of what other uses the equipment might
have. Every building in Iraq would have to be successfully searched for
WMD and concealed spaces for hiding WMD. Every square millimeter of
soil down to the maximum depth Iraq has the technology to dig would have
to be sifted through a screen for containers of biological, chemical and
nuclear material. This would include every Iraqi embassy in the world
and every Iraqi business that might be prevailed upon to store unopened
containers in foreign subsidiaries as a favor to Saddam. It would be
necessary to locate and search any storage space Saddam might have
rented in Beijing, Moscow, North Korea or New York City, among other
possible hiding places. All these measures are technologically
feasible, but who will pay the monumental bill in blood and money to do

Like hunting snakes in Ireland, hunting Al Qaeda terrorists in parts of
Iraq controlled by Saddam appear to be a low risk endeavor. The only
documented Al Qaeda forces in Iraq are under the “no fly” zones
controlled on the ground by indigenous US “allies.”

The wording of the UN Resolution creates opportunities for Saddam to
produce confusion and substantiate claims to his Islamic audience that
the US is acting with malice against Islam. The resolution states the
deadline in terms of the number of days for various steps to be
accomplished. If the required events occur on the following specified
dates, the entire process will be completed by February 21, 2003.

November 18, 2002: Date inspectors currently plan to arrive in Iraq.
December 8, 2002: Deadline for Iraq to report all weapons programs,
production facilities and materials which could be used for weapons
December 23, 2002: Deadline for inspections to begin.
February 21, 2002: Deadline for inspectors to submit their report to the
UN Security Council.

The presumption behind implementation of this schedule is that Saddam
will delay responding until the last day for each step. What will
happen if he does not delay as expected? Saddam has already produced a
mild shock by agreeing to the return of inspectors two days before the
deadline. That shock can be amplified by clever maneuvering into
dissension back at the old UN Security Counsel. The Bush Administration
itself is already positioning to claim “whitewash” for any inspection
team report that Iraq has no WMD.

Saddam could deliver the report required not later than December 8
early, for example on November 18. The resolution simply requires that
weapons inspectors resume work within 45 days of passage of the
resolution and have 60 days to report their progress. If Saddam
delivers a list of every building and piece of machinery in Iraq (a
Bedouin tent is a “potential” weapons production site) on November 18,
he will be in compliance and may reasonably claim that the 60 days for
delivery of the Inspectors Report begin on the date he delivered the
list, whatever date that may be. If the inspectors cannot find the
needle or needles in the haystack within 60 days and report that they
have found nothing to indicate that Iraq possesses or is manufacturing
WMD, what then? Do the inspectors continue searching or declare that
Iraq is in full compliance and leave? If they continue searching, for
how long and on what justification?

President Bush, of course, would find this unacceptable and begin the
war he intends to conduct regardless of any reality contrary to his
desires. Perhaps future Presidential swearing-in ceremonies should
include reading the following warning:

“You have the right and obligation to perform your duties with
competence and integrity. Anything you say or do that reveals you to be
engaging in stupidity, reveal you to be a war monger or criminal, or
otherwise portray you in an unfavorable light, can and will be used
against you in the courts of world opinion and history.”

Asian cultures have a wonderful and rich library of illustrative
parables. One such story is about a conflict between the leaders of two
different martial arts philosophies. One was a passive philosophy, the
other aggressive. When the two masters met for combat, the passive
master simply laid down on the ground. The master of the aggressive
philosophy turned red with anger and shouted, “How can I fight you on
the ground, the purpose of all my techniques is to throw you to the

There are two tactics Saddam could use that would leave Bush in a
similar quandary in short order. One has been mentioned in the press
previously. Saddam could “retire” and let his son take control
(possibly to return after the dust of departing UN inspectors and any US
troops had settled). The second would be to cover the entrance to every
underground facility with a couple feet of cement and not go near them
until all the intruders are gone. Throw in a few harmless decoys for
the Inspectors to search and find nothing, and Bush would have to invade
without any pretext. Hatred for America increases in the Islamic world.
Saddam benefits from more support and survives yet another Bush

Knowing that as many as 500,000 Iraqis might die in an US invasion, a
devious Saddam could conclude that he should use their deaths to his
benefit. If Saddam does control chemical or biological agents, he could
create a spectacular atrocity in a manner that would be blamed on US
forces. For example, during a bombing attack on Baghdad, Saddam could
gas or dose the entire population of the city and accuse the Americans
of doing it. Gas would probably be the agent of choice because the
effect would be immediate. It is possible that Muslims would never
believe subsequent US denials and counter charges that Saddam was
responsible because no true Muslim would perpetrate such and act against
fellow Muslims. The truth would be pretty much irrelevant under these

Another tactical consideration is how Saddam might use any nuclear
weapons he actually has. After the start of any US invasion, he could
not rely upon air delivery of any nuclear devices. His optimum strategy
would be to use them as nuclear land mines or leave them to be detonated
remotely or by timer in areas in advance of US occupation of the areas.
One particularly ugly method would be to space several nuclear devices
out over a substantial area, say 50 square miles, then detonate them
simultaneously when American front line troops moved through the area.
The Bush Administration apparently has no comprehension of the disaster
this could turn into if Saddam actually has the weapons he is accused of

“War is the unfolding of miscalculations.” (Barbara Tuchman)
“No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.” (Field Marshall
Helmuth Carl Bernard von Moltke)

One of the inevitable consequences of war is the certainty that both
sides will take prisoners. President Bush has made a serious error in
declaring that “terrorists” are not subject to international accords
regarding the treatment of prisoners of war. It is a simultaneous
argument that “terrorists” are not bound by these same accords in the
treatment of American prisoners. This will come back to haunt America
any time the “terrorist” label is applied to any enemy.

It may already have come back to haunt us. There are reports that a
40-man special operations team disappeared in Afghanistan without a
trace in September. Because of Bush’s declaration, if they were taken
prisoner by Al Qaeda “terrorists,” they have no obligation to report the
American soldiers as prisoners of war, no obligation not to torture or
execute them, no obligation not to subject them to tribunals for war
crimes or crimes against humanity. Exempting Al Qaeda from the
protection of international law, exempts it from the obligations of
international law.

Labeling a nation a “terrorist” state may also be an argument that
nation is not subject to these same international accords. If Bush now
argues American soldiers taken prisoner by “terrorists” or a “terrorist
state” must be treated under these international accords regarding the
treatment of prisoners of war, it will be correctly viewed in the
Islamic world as applying a double standard, further inflaming hatred of

There are long range political and economic consequences overlooked by
the Bush Administration that have already begun. Blindly stoking the
fires of anti-American passion with arrogance and policy blunders will
lead to the installation of Islamic extremist controlled governments
throughout the Middle East and to a renaissance of Islamic science
scholarship, technological advancement, development of sophisticated
Islamic arms manufacturing capacity and the development of advanced
business and economic operations. In the aftermath of September 11,
2001, Islamic businessmen openly discussed in the media the need to
create centers of power in the Islamic communities that would reduce or
end the control clerics had over all aspects of Islamic life. This
domination by clerics was viewed as a major block to Islam developing it
own military equipment and industrial base that would allow it to defend
itself against the United States and European nations in the future

In nations, like Turkey, where democracy has a foothold, Islamic
candidates will sweep aside other parties over the next few election
cycles as hatred generated by the continued abuse of the Palestinians
and war on Iraq increase their support. The last election in Turkey
resulted in an increase in the number of Islamic candidates holding

Among the great ironies of current events are lame Bush Administration’s
efforts to link Iraq and Saddam to September 11 and other subsequent
terrorist acts against the United States.   The one legitimate and
investigative reporter (Jayna Davis) documented case of Iraqi
involvement in a terrorist act against the US cannot be used now because
the Government lied to cover up the involvement at the time. It was the
Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building.

One of George Bush’s limitations is that he does not grasp that Saddam
is more experienced, more cunning and more intelligent than himself.
Other deficiencies center around his insistence on imposing his
pro-Israeli and other personal ideological beliefs about reality on an
objective reality that is operating otherwise. An apt analogy would be
to compare the United States’ situation under Bush to a fire department
attempting to deal with a building fire by using tweezers to capture the
individual smoke particles (terrorists) rather than putting out the fire
producing the smoke particles (Israel-Palestine conflict). The end
result of this approach is a building with substantial, avoidable, and
ongoing fire damage. Of course, damage will not stop accumulating until
the fire is put out.

By the next presidential election, the scope and magnitude of disaster
arising from the discrepancy between reality as it exists in George
Bush’s mind and reality as it actually operates in the world should be
manifestly clear. Who knows, perhaps President Bush and his War Counsel
Wonder Boys might produce a convincing explanation for exactly what
reason it was necessary to sacrifice the lives of as much as two-thirds
of the current US population. If the disaster produced from current
events by his arrogance, incompetence and blindly destructive political
ideology is the worst it could possibly be, one would hope at this point
in time that it would at least be the end of his political career.
Hopefully, it would also lead to a full historical inventory of the evil
machinations of the last three generations of the Bush Clan that helped
produce this situation.

It would be nice to see a sudden burst of brilliant and competent
national leadership engage in some dazzling acts of diplomacy and put
out the fire driving this terrorist madness. I am skeptical of that
outcome. The current Washington vacuum of competent decision making too
closely resemble that existing in the Roman Empire when it fell. Like
in Rome, the entire government and political party leadership are too
involved in self-absorption and self-indulgence to bother with effective
management and problem solving. Political party leadership must sustain
the existence of problems rather than see them solved to ensure there
are issues to exploit for the next election. God forbid there are no
problems to incite voters with.

I hope everyone reading this is still here in two years to tell me I was
wrong in my assessment and to point out to me what I overlooked. God be
with you in the coming weeks.

1. CIA World Fact Book - Iraq:
2. Compliance timetable:
3. View National Geographic Map of Iraq under various selected formats:

© Copyright November 15, 2002 by James Roger Brown. All rights
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