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Jim Henley on Pollack on Iraq
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Jim Henley has a long post on Kenneth Pollack's arguments for deposing Saddam with force.

Here's my blog from a couple of weeks ago on the topic.

Henley spends a lot of words impugning Pollack's conclusions and attempting to discredit his sources, but in the end it boils down to this:

Henley thinks Saddam is deterrable, no matter what weapons he develops. Pollack doesn't.

My point is this: I don't know, but do we want to roll those particular dice?

Maybe Henley's right; maybe Saddam is deterrable, in the sense that he wouldn't directly attack the U.S. with nuclear weaponry for fear of retaliation. But as I've mentioned here before, a direct nuclear attack is not the only threat that a nuclear-armed Iraq poses.

We're already witnessing the attempts at nuclear extortion by North Korea (and I agree with Henley on at least this much...Pollack's assessment of NK seems overly subdued). A nuclear-armed Iraq would be very likely to make demands other than those by a non-nuclear-armed Iraq (note that as we speak Iraq is making the destruction of its small stockpile of missiles contingent on American behavior...wasn't there an unconditional U.N. deadline of Saturday for all the missiles to be destroyed?). Do we want to find out how a country that has previously invaded two of its neighbors might behave once it's armed with nuclear weaponry?

And I agree that the links between Iraq and Al Qaeda have not been adequately demonstrated. But very few people refute that Saddam does have ties to terrorism, that he has supported suicide bombings against Israel with financial compensation (Iraq has been very public about this).

To be sure, these are insinuations. The simple fact is, nobody knows what Saddam might or might not do once he's acquired nuclear weaponry. Henley is willing to take the risk of finding out.

I'm not. Are you?

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