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WHAT SHOULD THE UNITED STATES DO IN REGUARDS TO IRAQ IN NEXT 12 MONTHS Commentators from right to left as well as senior US military officials have expressed concerns the risks of extended combat and significant loss of American soldiers the possibility of Saddam Hussein using weapons of mass destruction the costs of a large-scale campaign A possible Baghdad first attack strategy as reported the New York Times seems designed to minimize concerns about scale but says little about the deeper political questions over war with Iraq War supporters respond to doubters with a seemingly irresistible argument What is the alternative Do you really want Mr Hussein to get weapons of mass destruction and give them to terrorists or threaten his neighbors This objection is far less overwhelming than it may appear Most commentators seem too cowed by the array of politicians and pundits favoring war to make the obvious response Do nothing Does Iraq really pose such an urgent threat Its neighbors Turkey Jordan even Kuwait seem unconcerned as they publicly decline a role in the war While they would probably go along with a US war in the end they fervently hope it does not come to that In their eyes the urgency comes from Washington not Baghdad Weapons of mass destruction The final report of the UN Special Commission UNSCOM in 1999 states that Iraq did try to acquire weapons of mass destruction and worked hard to frustrate UNSCOMs disarmament mission The report also makes clear that UNSCOM succeeded to a remarkable degree in finding and destroying Iraqi nuclear and chemical weapons programs The one area of doubt is biological weapons Perhaps Iraq has reconstituted its weapons programs as the war partisans claim But if the Bush administration had any evidence beyond the shadowy defectors desperate to be useful to the US it would have been leaked by now Is the war on terrorism a good reason to take on Iraq
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