Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Glaspie affair

One of the really irritating things about the Michael Moore faction (who I consider to be a great example of the shrill, hysterical and half-educated left who could easily show up next year as conservatives since they do all the things the Nixonians do; lie, tell half-truths, don't bother to research things, spin things as best they can)

is present the Glaspie Affair, as it is called, as some kind of damning evidence of an American conspiracy. The funny thing is that no one is ever able to really explain why we did it. The idea goes like this; in the conversations with Hussein, Glaspie gave Hussein the "green light" (grrrrr) to invade Kuwait.

Now, in order to believe this, you have to think of a rationale. You have to believe the US would want to risk stabilizing the mideast and then put bases there along with half a million soldiers and then just unilaterally withdraw them, leaving only 5000 men. The bellicose idiots who rant about American imperialism become ominously quiet when confronted with this simple fact. Did we withdraw because we were afraid of the "arab street"? Alternately we are portrayed as imperalist nazi dogs and cowards. I"m not sure how we can be both.
Q: What was April Glaspie telling Saddam?

Atkinson: Well, April Glaspie our Ambassador to Iraq was telling Saddam fundamentally that we were concerned about his bellicose attitude and the various statements that he had issued regarding his intentions toward Kuwait, regarding his disgruntlement with the way he was being treated by the Arab world in general. But it was hardly tantamount to a warning shot across the bow. She had a meeting with Saddam on July 25, 1990 in which she basically said, the United States has no direct vested interest in Arab disputes including the border dispute that Saddam had with the Kuwaitis. In retrospect this was a clear mistake. I think if taken within the context of the time you have to first of all appreciate that she was more or less executing orders that came to her from the State Department. Secondly, again, this was a continuation of a long policy of tough love with Saddam. Warning him that we were watching him and yet telling him that we would continue to be his friend as long as he remained within certain parameters. It was a continuation of basically a tough love policy that the United States had adopted towards Saddam in which we periodically wagged our finger under his nose, but at the same time said, we will continue to be your friend. We'll make it worth your while if you will simply conform to certain standards of behavior. Saddam took this I think in retrospect as if not a green light -- a yellow light and one that he could safely run without consequence.

Q: Why wasn't she or Bush or the Administration firing a stronger warning shot?

Atkinson: Part of it was they were preoccupied with other events. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the emergence of Germany. This occurred two months before -- German unification which was certainly higher on the agenda of world events in terms of American interests then what seemed to be a relatively minor border dispute which had cropped up periodically over the years between Iraq and Kuwait. I think that it can fundamentally be explained just in terms of inattention and a belief that Saddam had for the previous ten years in which we've been courting him adhered to this policy of carrot and stick that we had used toward him where we swaggered a bit, threatened, and then did nothing that we really found offensive. So in retrospect, clearly they misjudged. They misjudged his intentions. It was a bad read on Saddam's character and intentions at the time.

7/17/2005 2:38 PM 66 out of 66

Here was a man who came to believe that the United States first of all would turn a blind eye to control the forty percent of the world's oil supply. He was a man who believed that he could hunker down and ride out an attack by what was clearly the most formidable coalition of military powers since World War II. He was a man who believed that the West lacked a political will to carry through on its threats. He was a man who miscalculated in taking hostages and then compounded his miscalculations and made Schwarzkopf's military efforts much easier by letting them go in December. Every time he had to make a major strategic decision, Sadam guessed wrong until the end of the war when he guessed right.

Sadam made many strategic miscalculations. He failed to recognize that the world was awash with oil. That Iraqi oil was not critical to the functioning of the Western democracies. There was plenty of oil. He failed to recognize that Arab unity would hold even in the face of attacks on Israel and the potential for Israel to come into the war. He failed to reassure King Fahd of his benign intentions toward Saudi Arabia thereby driving the Saudis into the arms of Washington. Perhaps most importantly, he failed to calculate that the United States was serious about this. That there had been a decision made in Washington that they would go to war. I think he believed that the United States would fold as it had after the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 and simply leave. He made one strategic miscalculation after another.


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