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Good Questions

November 22nd, 2002 - 11:41 am

Mark Steyn worries over the pace of the war:

Oh, to be sure, there’ve been some useful bits of intelligence co-operation, and London and Washington have frozen the bank accounts of the dodgier Canadian charities. Two weeks ago, President Bush scored remarkable double victories over Tom Daschle’s Senate Democrats and the French Security Council veto. But Senator Daschle and the French are not the enemy; they’re just speed bumps on the way to the enemy, and both ought to have been receding into the distance in the rear-view mirror a long time ago. Instead, it’s the war that keeps getting deferred, to the point where it’s beginning to look like the Bush version of the Soviets’ endlessly rolled-over Five Year Plans.

Sitzkrieg anyone?

Okay, I’m not that worried. Not yet, anyway. But the troublesome question is, where are the troops? I figured by this point, we’d have three divisions of armor, mechanized infantry, and Marines in Kuwait. The 101st, I figured, would be poised at Incirlik. Instead, we have reports that a mere 8,000 troops are in Kuwait — and most of the increase (from the usual 4,000) is in headquarters and support, not in combat forces. If we need to be ready to go shortly after December 8 and these numbers are true, then we simply can’t be ready in time.

If the deadline slips, Saddam and his terror cronies will be emboldened, what little international support we have will erode, and the period of good fighting weather will be over.

It’s true that we have much equipment pre-positioned around the Middle East. It’s also true that we won’t need nearly as large a force. But neither fact changes the third fact that inspections minus the threat of immediate reatliation make war more likely, not less, and also puts some doubt into the outcome.

So I ask: Where are the soldiers, sailors, and airmen to win this war?

And I ask another question: Is Bush II making the same mistake as Bush I, hoping Saddam will be killed in an uprising?

I haven’t given up faith yet, but I am starting to wonder.

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