This is not your father's George Bush. As he prepared to throw the most-telegraphed punch in American military history, George W. was calm and determined. Unlike his father, this president will not be deterred by Saudi blandishments or U.N. pleas to stop short of removing Saddam once and for all. Dubya is going downtown. Decisive action is what is required to win the war against terror. Thank heaven we have a president who understands this.
Monday will be remembered as the day the French killed the United Nations. The U.N. had been dying since it was born, its basic premise a false one. Any organization that makes Burkina Faso the equal of the United Kingdom is, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, a theater of the absurd.
As Monday dawned, Libya took over as chairman of the U.N.'s Human Rights Commission and Wacky Jacky Chirac -- thinking hard about the President's Monday deadline for the U.N. to act -- called for a meeting on Tuesday to talk about continuing the absurd U.N. inspections. The Human Rights Commission began its session by considering sanctions against the U.S. for our treatment of Taliban prisoners held at Camp X-Ray in Cuba. At about 10 a.m., Colin Powell announced that the time for diplomacy had passed, and that we wouldn't even seek a U.N. vote on the 18th U.N. "disarm Saddam" resolution. We will speak no more of the French, except to exclude them from the global conversation, or to boycott their goods. Their day has passed.
The President gave Saddam and his sons, Qusay and Uday, 48 hours to get out of Dodge. By the time you read this, the clock will have run down to about 36. No one really expects them to go. It is possible that Saddam will, as my Brit pals would say, "cop a runner." But to go anywhere, he'd have to get immunity from war crimes prosecution, which just can't be given. Milosevic is on trial for the war crimes equivalent of petty larceny compared to Saddam's record of torture and murder. His sons' records are about the same, less only in numbers of victims. We'll have to kill Saddam and his boys or dig them out of some bunker. One MOAB -- the new "massive ordnance air burst" weapon -- on each of his 100 palaces should be enough. If it isn't, one or more will be captured and suffer the same fate as Ugarte. No matter.
By the time this column appears again next Tuesday, the war will have begun, and may even be over. The President's direct call to Iraq's military to surrender will be heeded by many. Our Commando Solo aircraft -- an airliner stuffed with more electronics than NASA had when it put a man on the moon -- will be dialing the cell phones and ground lines of individual Iraqi officers, telling them when and how to surrender. Those who do may find a bright future, provided they are not guilty of crimes against the Iraqi people. Those who don't accept the offer will face the most intense application of military power the world has yet seen. And the most humane.
Our fly-guys have spent the past two months or more planning the use of precision munitions against Iraqi military targets. They figure the power needed to knock out each target, the blast radius of each weapon, and the method of delivery. From that, they have tailored the most organized air war in history, and can carry it out. Not without error, but pretty close. The "collateral damage" should be very small, unless Saddam fills the military targets with civilian hostages. That is very possible, and can result in thousands of innocent deaths. Prepare to see the carnage on Al Jazeera TV as part of Saddam's never-ending campaign to get fellow Arabs to fight for him. And be prepared for John Kerry, Martin Sheen, and Yassir Arafat to blame it all on Dubya. The air battle will be only a part of the action.
At about the same time as the first Buffs, B-1s and B-2s are wheels-up, the special forces guys will be attacking in dozens of small actions, trying to take out Saddam's missiles in the "Scud Box." This area, in western Iraq, is the only place from which Saddam can launch missiles at Israel in relative safety from Israeli air attack. By now, the area is crawling with Brit, American, Aussie and Israeli spec ops guys. They will do their damnedest -- which oughta be good enough -- to knock out those missiles before they can be launched. If it isn't good enough, Israel may suffer huge numbers of casualties.
It's less than even money that Tommy Franks can slow the First Marine Division sufficiently for the Army to get to Baghdad before Chesty Puller's old outfit does. In the 1991 Gulf War, the Marines were supposed to run an elaborate decoy operation while the Army threw the big punch to dislodge the Iraqis from Kuwait City. The concession stands in the Kuwait City Zoo were out of popcorn by the time the Army caught up with the gyrenes. Look for a repeat performance. There are 35,000 Marines in staging areas around Iraq, probably enough to do the job alone. But they are far from alone, part of a force of about 250,000 poised to take on whatever Iraq puts in the field.
It's a sobering thought: we have been talking about war in Iraq so long, commencement of the final campaign will seem anticlimactic to those of us not on the job. But now the real fighting -- and dying -- are about to begin. We should all take a moment to say a prayer for our warriors, in the hope God's grace will grant that few of ours and our allies will pay the full price for Iraq's liberation. It will be up to the free Iraqis to make their sacrifice worthwhile. We will destroy all the weapons of mass destruction in the country. But there is more, far more, necessary to make this war a real success.
The Iraqi opposition is ready to take over the civil government of a free Iraq. They promise much, and probably can deliver. My friend, Entifadh Qanbar of the Iraqi National Congress, came on the air yesterday in my broadcast of the Oliver North "Common Sense Radio" show. Entifadh praised Mr. Bush in almost embarrassing terms. This, from one of the men who have fought for years -- not with guns, but ideas and words -- for Iraq's freedom. It has been a brave fight, with threats of real violence against them from Saddam. A committee on which Entifadh serves will draft a constitution for a new, free Iraqi nation. They can and will act quickly to establish a free and democratic state. As the President told them last night, Iraq can set an example for all the Middle East. And so they must if our sacrifice for their freedom is to be worthwhile. Because on that freedom we can build the demise of Islamic terrorism. Saddam delendus est. Soon. Very soon.
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