War on Iraq: Comments from the Symposium(2)

December 11, 2002 Topic: Security

War on Iraq: Comments from the Symposium(2)

Fritz W.

Fritz W. Ermarth:

The first task of a military occupation will be to restore physical order. It will need to locate Iraqis who are willing and able to collaborate in this process. From the restoration of basic, physical order, we can move to the establishment of law and order, and begin to develop the elements of a decently governed state--one based on pluralism, the rule of law, and privatization of the economy. It may be impossible to create Switzerland out of Iraq, but not to make Iraq a better place than it is today.

What do we mean by democracy? We ought to be clear. We are speaking about the rule of law, limits on the power of the state, economic access, genuine participation of the population in the selection of leaders and policies. … The notion that you implant a voting machine and everyone pushes the radical Islam button is not what we mean by democracy.


Fritz W. Ermarth is Director of National Security Programs at the Nixon Center. He is also a part-time Senior Analyst in the Strategies Group of Science Applications International Corporation. He served several tours on the NSC staff, served as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (1988-93,) and retired from the CIA in 1998.


Joseph C. Wilson:


What might Saddam do, in the event of war? On August 6, 1990, I met with Tariq Aziz, who told me that Iraq reserved the right to use any weapon in its arsenal if attacked. When I met with Saddam Hussein, he was vaguer, but said he was prepared to use everything if invaded.

Two things to keep in mind. First, Saddam is a classic survivalist. In his mind, as long as he survives, the nation-state of Iraq survives; the state is embodied in him. Second, Saddam wants to survive with weapons of mass destruction. He wants to continue his efforts to dominate the region. He would like to create one single Arab state under his leadership or at least dominate the Arab world.

Can you deter him? … Regime decapitation is the ultimate sanction if he uses a weapon of mass destruction or tries to embroil Israel in this conflict. …

Operation Desert Fox [1998] roiled the political climate in Iraq. It weakened the pillars of the regime--tribal support and clan support. An aggressive campaign on weapons of mass destruction may have the intended or unintended consequences of leading to a coup, causing Saddam's generals to move. We may want to therefore focus on high value targets. For example, right now, when an American or allied aircraft patrolling the no-fly zone is "painted", we go after the air defense site, the sergeants and the corporals manning the post. Instead, we should go after the headquarters issuing the order--this affects colonels and generals. …

We need to focus on global public opinion. We need to present evidence that Iraq does have weapons of mass destruction, not that we are overthrowing an Arab regime because we don't like it.

I don't believe Saddam will go quietly. He will use every weapon in his arsenal, and he will cause trouble for us wherever possible.


The Honorable Joseph Wilson was deputy chief of the U.S. mission to Iraq from 1988 to 1991 and in that capacity was the last American official to meet with Saddam Hussein. He currently heads J. C. Wilson International Ventures.


L. Paul Bremer:

In presenting the evidence against Saddam, we cannot use the Stevenson model [referring to the public presentation made by Aldai Stevenson to the UN Security Council in October 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis].

During the Reagan Administration, prior to the cruise missile deployments, we sent high level emissaries to Europe accompanied by intelligence officers bearing classified material on the Soviet threat to share directly with decision-makers in Europe. This is the approach that ought to be taken.


The Hon. L. Paul Bremer, chairman and chief executive of Marsh Crisis Consulting, served as chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism and is a member of the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council.


Zeyno Baran:

President Bush has not yet decided whether he will continue to work within the UN process or take a more unilateral position, and go to war in Iraq. The preferred policy would be for Saddam to be convinced that the United States would indeed go to war, and back down.


To convince Saddam of a likely attack, the administration is preparing militarily and diplomatically for a war that may start late January or February. The United States would ideally want to be able to attack from all angles, but Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria are non-starters. Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Jordan have all provided very good cooperation. However, they all prefer to see a second UN resolution prior to the war.

Turkey is the key country for an attack from the north. There has been a lot of back-and-forth with Turkey. Paul Wolfowitz visited Ankara last week, and the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is in Washington this week. There are a number of steps that will require parliamentary approval in Turkey, and it would make things quicker and cheaper for the United States to have Turkey on board.

The Turks find themselves in a difficult position. The United States wants the Turks to provide full use of its bases and ports for the deployment of American planes and soldiers, along with a whole set of other military logistical support items. The new ruling party, the AKP, however, has an Islamic element. They do not want to be allied only with the United States and the United Kingdom against Iraq. They do not want to take part in something that smacks of neo-imperialism.

There is also a great deal of concern about "the day after." What kind of Iraq is going to emerge? Is a federal structure in Iraq going to be based on geographic or ethnic factors? If based on ethnic factors, it is likely to benefit Massoud Barzani and raise the specter of Kurdish separatism. If based on geographic factors, however, then the Turcomans will have some degree of control. Control of the Mosul-Kirkuk oil fields is another area of importance.

In the event of war, the Turks are likely to go into northern Iraq in the event of war to create a zone for humanitarian relief, to prevent large refugee flows into Turkey. The signals appear to be that Washington is likely to turn a blind eye as long as the Turkish presence is for strictly humanitarian purposes, and not as an attempt to seize the oil fields in the north.

The Turkish economy is very fragile and could be destabilized with the war. The United States will have to come up with significant aid and trade incentives to get Turkey fully on board. An eventual war in Iraq will not only chance the map of the Middle East, but potentially the strategic Turkish-American relationship as well.

Zeyno Baran is director of the Caucasus Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (http://www.csis.org/ruseura/caucasus/).





Larry C. Johnson


When you allow terrorists and their sponsors to go unchallenged, terrorists are able to mount an even deadlier threat to us. When you disrupt their bases, it affects their ability to carry out attacks. …

An attack on Iraq may not itself be a part of the war on terrorism, but it does affect American credibility. A successful campaign will cause other states to reassess the support they render to terrorism.

Larry C. Johnson is Chief Executive Officer of BERG Associates and served as deputy director of the U.S. State Department Office of Counterterrorism (1989-1993).


James R. Schlesinger:

Hans Blix is an old colleague of mine. He once remarked that aggressiveness is a virtue that is appreciated in the United States, but not in Europe. They prefer that something be "dynamic." I must relate something from the previous experience of the inspectors. David Kay was embroiled in a controversy with an Iraqi minister, and Hans Blix stopped the conversation, saying, "You must never argue with a minister." Hans is a diplomat, he is a lawyer, and he is a Swede who wants to be able to go back to Stockholm, and not as the person who precipitated an American war with Iraq. …

I count on Saddam Hussein to blunder. I think that the probability is between eighty and ninety percent. …

We have staked a great deal on the departure of Saddam Hussein. If he is still there two years from now, there will be a lot of questions as to the seriousness of our intentions. …

With regard to realism: some of the previous conversations took place along the lines of whether we should or should not go to war. The realistic answer is that we are going to do it, and to proceed to do it this winter. Therefore, we ought to have in mind that this is the almost certain outcome. Having alerted our forces, I don't foresee that we will allow the window to close.