I WROTE THIS in a fit of passion back in February of 2003, when the Bush administration was gearing up to invade Iraq and there was an outcry around the world against it, especially among my peers teaching English in Japan. At the time, I felt their rejection of the idea was too glib. I even labeled it “Anti-War Propaganda”.
Incensed at this knee-jerk dismissiveness and what seemed to me a lack of critical thought, not to mention the rampant anti-Americanism I was taking entirely too personally, I marched down to the biggest English bookstore in Tokyo and looked for ammunition I could use in arguments. What I found was The Threatening Storm by Kenneth M. Pollack, and upon finishing it about a week later, I was deeply swayed by his argument that, considering the last 10 years of history, going to war in Iraq was a less bad choice of many bad choices, and that if we had to do it alone, then so be it. Like my feelings about health care now, I felt strongly that no one I was talking to was considering the most important issues when they made their judgments, so I felt compelled to write out a summary and review of the book and share it with everyone I knew.
Pollack was no neo-con. At the time he wrote this, he was a director of research in Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, a D.C. think tank the media generally characterizes as ranging from liberal to centrist to independent (according to Wikipedia at the time of the writing of this introduction). The Threatening Storm also received a favorable review in the New York Review Of Books, that journal of those ‘intellectual elite’ who were always dogging folks like the people making decisions in the Bush administration, and which I read religiously throughout the middle of the decade. I figured I was on solid ideological and factual ground.
And looking back, I find myself swayed all over again by my summary of Pollack’s argument (although my tone here is definitely more strident and more confident than I would be able to muster for any position on this topic now). I still think whether or not there actually were WMD when the U.S. invaded is not as relevant as it’s made out to be. I still think it’s not that relevant that the invasion was largely actually about oil, even though no one would admit it. And I still think that if it had been done right, in the way Pollack recommends here, it might just barely have been the right thing to do. What actually happened of course is that it was done very poorly, by an administration who did not recognize the complexity or probably even the bare humanity of these foreigner people on the other side of the globe.
And, reading through, there are also places where I would like to argue with my younger self. I recognize that the anti-war argument was much better than I gave it credit for at the time. A lot of people recognized, and I did not, how truly unlikely it would be that any administration would be able to pull this off as well as it would need to be pulled off. Probably, anyone who was sensitive enough to know how to do it right would be too sensitive to do it in the first place.
I am overall not a supporter of the invasion now, in hindsight. I am deeply sorrowful of all the Iraqi and American lives it has ruined, in many cases needlessly, and I hope anyone who has experienced this tragedy firsthand won’t mistake my attempt to think about it objectively, safe and isolated out here in Tokyo, as an arrogant presumption to have answers about something I only know on paper. Our supposedly rational thought and our emotions are never separate.
Nonetheless, I received good feedback from people who were against the war at the time I wrote it, and re-reading it now it still seems relevant for how we think about the world today. Read this and think about where the world would be now if Saddam Hussein were still alive and in power. And while there is clearly a lot of hindsight bias in my rejection of the war now, it’s instructive to see how it could be thought of before the outcome was known, when it was still possible that everything would go right. Or maybe it’s just instructive to see how a reasonable person of good will can whip themselves into a frenzy for a bad idea.
AS MOST PEOPLE know by now, the Unites States intends to wage war on Iraq with the intention of overthrowing Saddam Hussein and his regime. Among my peers it is practically a foregone conclusion that the war is uncalled for, just another in a string of cynical imperialistic military actions with nothing more than the U.S.’s base greed and lust for power behind it, coupled with an ignorance of and disregard for the outside world. The arguments against America are strong, and while I do believe that the U.S. is culpable for its worldwide abuse of power in some regions and neglect in others since the end of WWII, I do not believe that this addresses the whole issue of this particular action. The world, not the U.S. alone, is in a precarious situation and has been since Saddam Hussein turned his attention away from Iran in 1988 and began to focus his peculiar megalomania on the rest of the planet, hitting at the heart of the international economy with Kuwait and its oil. My intention here is to discuss the issues that the anti-war propaganda ignores.
To say a country’s leader is a bad man is to say almost nothing. There are so many different kinds of badness that one must have more details before passing any sort of judgement. Is he Richard Nixon bad, Ferdinand Marcos bad, Idi Amin bad, or Adolf Hitler bad? It is an important distinction, because no ‘good’ power in the world (whether that means to you the U.S., the U.N., or merely an unrealized hypothetical entity) can possibly deal with all of the bad powers and right all of the wrongs in the world, so the battles must be chosen carefully.
Though some deride the comparison as hyperbole, I think there are several characteristics Saddam shares with Hitler that put him in the category of most dangerous: his practical intelligence in maintaining power, his unpredictability resulting from brazen hubris and very grand ambitions, his ruthlessness, and his control over commodities that concern the larger world beyond the borders of his own country (the German people and economy in Hitler’s case, oil in Saddam’s case). And these characteristics can be tied together in a final one; Saddam should be deposed before he gets too powerful, just as Hitler should have been.
Let’s consider the first two factors in this section. Saddam is not necessarily brilliant, nor is he necessarily wise to the outside world. But he has managed to maintain his power over a vast stretch of time, a feat that few other dictators accomplish (and in this sense he is really closer to Stalin than Hitler, both of whom he emulates). Saddam has so consolidated power in his own country that it is unlikely he will go anywhere or die of anything but natural causes. In other words, if anything is going to happen to Saddam, it is going to have to come from outside of Iraq. There is proof enough of this in his own people’s failure to depose him at the end of the first Gulf war, when he was at a low point in power. It is now virtually out of the question.
The biggest thing that separates Saddam from other bad guys and makes him more dangerous, however, is his unpredictability. Before he invaded Kuwait in 1990, observers from all quarters were sure that he wouldn’t actually go through with it. Everyone watched as he mobilized most of his military and set them up right on the border, and then let them sit there for awhile. But everyone knew it must be a bluff, because everyone knew it would be suicide for him to actually invade Kuwait. As it turns out, it almost was; it was suicide for his military and many of his soldiers, though not for himself. But that was due to the miscalculation of the Bush administration at the time–they thought that certainly the Iraqi people would depose him after he was weakened. They were tragically wrong, of course.
As if to underscore his unpredictability, he did not take this humbling to heart, but instead focussed only on the part that proved the virility of his power: he was still around when the gunfire stopped and the dust settled. So when U.N. sanctions were really ticking him off in 1994, he gathered troops at the Kuwaiti border once again, preparing for an invasion. He did not invade this time, because of quick U.N. intervention. The thing to keep in mind is that there is no evidence indicating that he wouldn’t have invaded, that it was just a bluff. If the U.N. would have rolled over and ignored his antics, he just might have. Clearly this is no ordinary bad man here, just hoping to maintain his comfortable position as leader of his own country. In fact, entertaining speculations on what Saddam won’t do has become a bankrupt business in the U.S. government. So many were trying, asking the question “What would I do if I were in Saddam’s shoes?” and coming up with answers that proved to be wrong, that one top CIA official issued the decree “We will not predict what Saddam Hussein will not do.”
Saddam is a megalomaniac. Like Hitler, Saddam has grand designs on the world. He seeks political and military power more than wealth and security. He wants to go down in history as “the leader of the Arab nation” and the “leader of the days of Arab glory” (two names he self-applies), and as a restorer of Arab grandeur along the lines of Saladin, the Islamic general who defeated the Crusaders and retook Jerusalem. He has had a children’s book about Saladin produced, complete with his own picture on the front and his own life in the text.
One tack he is taking in this striving for immortality is his desire to be the one to expel the Israelis from Palestine. To this effect, it is known that if his life is under threat he will attempt to, as a last ditch effort, bomb Tel Aviv with whatever he has, be it conventional, chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. This was his plan in the first Gulf war, though at the time his worst weapons were biological. He instituted a crash program to try to build a nuclear weapon quick enough to have it ready for a possible invasion of Baghdad by the allied forces. He speaks about Israel so often that there is little doubt he will carry through with this plan if he can.
In spite of all I’ve said about Saddam’s unpredictability and delusions of grandeur, it is not so unreasonable to believe that even he wouldn’t just indiscriminately launch a nuclear weapon at Tel Aviv or Kuwait or New York City. The real crux of the issue here, though, and what separates Iraqi nuclear weapons from Pakistani nuclear weapons or even North Korean nuclear weapons, is oil.
Let me just digress here and say that I personally deplore the world’s dependance on oil, and I dream of taking every American who surrounds themselves with 3 tons of SUV steel to make the trek between home and the office every day, dragging them from their vehicles and putting them in a Yugo, as punishment, until such time as they can afford more reliable and economical transportation. I would also like to tear down all the suburbs of the world and build real communities with walking distance shopping, and connect these with quality public tranportation. And to put duct tape over the mouth of every American who complains about a 5 cent rise in the price of gas when the rest of the world is still paying twice as much due to lack of clout (or bullying). Not to mention our sluggishness in adopting alternative energy sources.
But, the fact remains that right now we are dependent on it. And, though the U.S. is the most flagrant, we are certainly not alone. The entire world is dependent on it. Most important to this discussion however, is the fact that we’re not just talking about convenient transportation when we talk about oil; we’re talking about industry and the world economy.
This is the hypothetical situation: Saddam gets some nuclear weapons. He aims a couple at Tel Aviv and just lets them sit there. Then, he invades Kuwait again. He thinks that his biggest mistake in the first Gulf war was not acquiring a nuclear weapon before he invaded, so this is plausible. What do we do? Perhaps we are too scared to do anything, and finally write Kuwait off as a loss. Then, bolstered by his victory, he takes the Saudi oil fields, right next door to Kuwait. With these two moves he now has 20% of the world’s oil supply. And he hasn’t launched a single WMD (weapon[s] of mass destruction: chemical, biological and nuclear). He still has those nukes pointed at Tel Aviv. He now has the money to really get his WMD programs going. And with 20% of the world’s oil supply, he now has the power to turn on and off the flow at his own whims, whenever anyone displeases him, and threaten worldwide depression. This would, of course, be bad enough for all of us; losing our jobs and our freedom to pursue our pleasures of vacationing halfway around the world and putting off real full time employment by piling college degree upon college degree in search of that indulgence peculiar to our generation and our countries: a personally satisfying career. However, the outlook for many developing countries would be much bleaker. With a decrease in trade with these countries and less money for humanitarian aid, the effects would be much more immediate and dire.
To give a man like Saddam Hussein that kind of power seems completely insane to me, regardless of your worldview on capitalism and the world economy. And while this is obviously a worst case scenario, the principle stands. Even if he stopped at Kuwait, he would have incredible economic power. At best the U.S. and U.N. would have to (and probably would) step in at some point long before Saddam gained control of so much oil. But the point is that we would have to actunder the threat of nuclear retaliation on us, on Israel, or on the world’s oil supply. With the combination of WMD and oil, Saddam would have the power to manipulate and blackmail the world, and his personality is uniquely suited to pursuing this course of action.
The issue of oil is a hot one. In principle, it seems criminal start a war, to kill and be killed, over a commodity, a substance. But the point is not oil; it’s Saddam having control over the world’s economy, money, and thus people. Oil is just the method from which he gains that control. Its easy to condone the use of violence to stop murder, whether its a single criminal or the leader of a nation. But if we cease the utilization of institutional violence for all crime less serious than murder, again on the personal or national level, then we still end up with anarchy. Stealing from a person is still taking his or her life, one hour at a time; the time they’ve put in to make the money or the loss of freedom that comes from poverty. If a man or nation wants to gain (not to mentionsteal) a commodity for the sole purpose of impoverishing others, then that is a thing worth fighting over as much as a man or nation killing another.
I certainly don’t make this statement as a blanket justification for violence. I think all peaceful measures should be exhausted before violence is contemplated. Non-violent resistance was a wonderful and revolutionary development of the 20th century. But violence can’t be out of the realm of contemplation in some situations.
PROTECTING THE INNOCENT
When I was growing up, it seemed like every history class I was ever in that dealt with the Holocaust always concluded with this sentiment: Never Again. Looking back, when you consider Uganda in the 70’s, Iraq and the Kurds (an ethnic minority in northern Iraq) in the 80’s, Rwanda in the 90’s, and so many other instances of genocide and massive systematic murders, the only thing that can be conlcuded is that, for all those years the phrase “never again” meant simply that never again would we allow white people to kill huge numbers of other white people (outside of the iron curtain, we must add). In fact, odds are that at the very moment in the spring of the 7th grade that some well meaning history teacher was telling me “never again”, Saddam Hussein’s right hand man, “Chemical” Ali-Hassan al-Majid, was busy killing Kurds by the thousands; 200,000 when all was said and done.
The facts of the case are that Saddam Hussein is not some slightly evil dictator with a couple of political prisoners and his own TV station. He is guilty of genocide. And he has killed so many political dissenters that there are virtually none left in the country. 200,000 Iraqi citizens have dissapeared into the prisons and never returned. In addition to his extensive layers of police, military, and intelligence protecting his regime, Saddam has convinced everyone in the populace that everyone else will report them to the authorities immediately if they exude even the slightest whiff of subversive talk or behaviour. To quote veteran BBC foreign correspondent John Sweeney: “I have been to Baghdad a number of times. Being in Iraq is like creeping around inside someone else’s migraine. The fear is so omnipresent you could almost eat it. No one talks.”
Much of the anti-war propaganda is focussed on the horrors of war. I do not wish to diminish the legitimacy of pointing this out, nor do I wish to descend into histrionics, but I think if you’re going to listen to that hype, then you ought to listen to the hype from the other side as well. Here is a profile of the horrors of Saddam Hussein’s regime:
“This is a regime that will gouge out the eyes of children to force a confession from their parents and grandparents. This is a regime that will crush all the bones of the feet of a two-year old girl to force her mother to divulge her father’s whereabouts. This is a regime that will hold a nursing baby at arm’s length from its mother and allow the child to starve to death to force the mother to confess. This is a regime that practices systematic rape against its female victims. This is a regime that will behead a young mother in the street in front of her house and children because her husband was suspected of opposing the regime.” The list goes on.
Oil is indeed the primary reason that the U.S. and the world are looking at Iraq right now. That is fortunate, because without it the Iraqi people might be left to their suffering alone.
GEORGE W. BUSH
George W. Bush, probably somewhat justly, is reviled around the world and in the U.S. for his aggressiveness and lack of tact in diplomacy. However, I think focussing too much on Bush is a hinderance to seeing the Iraq issue clearly. It is hard to distance him from it because not only is he leading it right now, but his father was embroiled in it from the beginning. He may indeed be the wrong man with the wrong cabinet and the wrong ideas about international policy for these times, but I think a lot of the broad issues of Iraq should be discussed without him.
However, there are two things I can say about him. One, he is sincere when he says he wants to liberate the Iraqi people from the oppression of Saddam Hussein. Upon reading about all of the human rights violations and genocides that the U.S. had turned its back on over the years (as detailed in a New York Review article from which I got the idea for the first part of the last section), George Bush penned a memo in the margins and sent it back to the author: “Not on my watch.” Meaning that he would not allow this to happen during hisadministration. I don’t think he is being disingenuous when he says he wants to liberate the Iraqi people.
The second thing I can say about Bush is that he hasn’t levelled with America or the world about the real reasons for going to war. This is an error, to be sure, but I can’t fault him too much for this. It could be political suicide to admit that the Gulf war(s) has anything to do with oil. But that is only because so many voters don’t think beyond the first sentence of any statement a leader makes. The problem occurs when thinking citizens hear the sales pitch given by our leaders and assume that those leaders are unaware of or not fessing up to the reality. There has always been and always will be much more behind the words that the politicians feed to us, so we can’t spend our days arguing against the half truths that they spew forth rather than arguing about the truth behind the decisions. And this whole back story I’ve given you is some of the truth behind the decision to go to war in Iraq.
THE TRUTH IS that deposing Saddam has been needed for a long time. The Al-qaeda attacks were merely an opportune moment to bring it back to the table. America, most American leaders, and the world never would have supported a war during the peaceful 90’s. So it comes out now. But it’s not new. Iraq has not been out of the minds of any nation since the end of the Gulf war in 1991, least of all the U.S.’s. In fact, Saddam Hussein has been the most consistent concern of U.S. foreign policy and in the U.N. for the past 11 years. Worrying about Saddam Hussein has taken time and resources away from working on other long term problems, such as North Korea and AIDS in Africa. One Brazillian foreign minister, in a U.N. meeting where once again Saddam and his latest violation of weapons inspection was brought up, was quoted as saying “(do) we really need to have the Iraq problem on the table every six months…we’ve all become very tired of the Iraq problem. Isn’t there some way of getting rid of it, once and for all?”
Well, of course there is. But first let’s consider what exasperated this official in the first place.
The past 11 years have seen a policy of containment that has resulted in endless work and frustration for the U.S. and the U.N. and abject poverty and countless deaths among the Iraqi populace. The frustrations have come from the constant vigilance that must be paid to Saddam and from the cat and mouse game of weapons inspection and dismantling; the deaths have come from sanctions.
I do not buy the rhetoric that blames the U.N. and particularly the U.S. for the deaths of Iraqi civilians under the sanctions (the U.N. controlling goods that flow in and out of Iraq to encourage Saddam’s compliance with U.N. resolutions). It was a bad course of action to be sure. A better course of action would have been to depose Saddam in 1991. That course was not taken because the U.S. didn’t want to be responsible for setting up another government in Iraq at the time; they wanted to leave it to the people. There was no decision maker in the U.S. at the time that expected Saddam to still be in power in 1992 and therefore there was no thought given to a contigency plan for how to deal with him if he was. When the time came that it was obvious he had to be dealt with, the world’s hands were somewhat tied. There was no way to wage another war. The choice was made to curtail Saddam’s power with weapons inspections and sanctions.
Saddam was able to control the sanctions by turning them on his own people. When international relief came in the form of food and medicine, he stole it and sold it on the black market to neighboring countries. Since he personally didn’t care what happened to the Iraqi citizenry but knew that the rest of the world would, he used this for political clout, reporting any suffering that took place within Iraq that could be blamed on the sanctions, and additionally making up many things that never actually happened. Many ate it up, including the World Health Organization, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, and the press. They essentially took Saddam’s propaganda at face value and dutifully reported it. Moreover, this suffering wasn’t unprecedented. In 1987, Saddam’s neglect of the people in order to focus on the war with Iran led to similar though lesser suffering, but he hid it to make Iraq look like a strong country to the outside world. The chief difference in 1997 was that he could profit from advertising it rather than hiding it.
Of course, the sanctions were aimed clearly and distinctly at the Iraqi government and their attempts to build WMD, and many efforts were made to protect the Iraqi people from the negative effects. It was doomed to failure, with someone as ruthless and uncaring as Saddam. The U.S. and the U.N. gave Saddam a weapon and he used it; the sanctions actually put more of the economy in Saddam’s hands than he’d ever had before. For that they should be blamed. But it is twising the issue to speak of it as if the U.S. or the U.N. murdered those people. Saddam Hussein killed those innocent Iraqi’s, by starving them while he and his cronies had plenty. His personal wealth was estimated at $6 billion by Forbes in 1999. He has something like 50 palaces, many built within the last 10 years.
At any rate, the sanctions have been roundly criticized by many people on all sides, and efforts have been made to improve them. It would be best to abandon them altogether. Bringing them up in the polemics of deciding whether to go to war in 2003 serves no purpose but to cloud the issue. In fact, decrying the sanctions is as poweful an argument for war as it is against it.
The leading argument for the way to avoid war with Iraq is to continue weapons inspection (trying to find and destroy all of the WMD and the facilities Saddam is using to build them). Though it surely deserves a lot more space because of that, I’m going to dispose of it rather quickly by making a conjecture and leaving you to seek out the full argument: I’m guessing that most people who think that weapons inspection should continue and be the alternative to war don’t fully grasp the extent to which the U.N. has been trying to carry them out for the past 11 years. Saddam is Lucy perennially pulling the football away from Charlie Brown. He blocks inspections, then offers to start them up again a few months later when force is threatened or applied, only to block them again when the threatening force backs down. Each time, a great deal of money and energy must be spent to accomplish nothing. It is convenient for him that the public at large has such a short memory, and keeps crying out “Wait, give him another chance, you oaf!” every time world leaders try to apply force.
That is what is happening now. If this were the case of just two people acting alone, we would call the one who kept forgiving and forgetting a colossal, monumental, amazing fool. But, being that this involves the world, with every new trick and subsequent repenting by Saddam comes a whole slew of people new to the story who think the U.S., the U.N., or the U.K. are being evil war mongers by not seeking the peaceful solution of weapons inspection that Saddam is so ‘magnanimously’ offering to reinstate. There is much history and solid reasoning behind the U.S.’s current position of not even taking the newest round of weapons inspections as a serious alternative to war.
Nations’ memories are often little better than individuals when it comes to prudent Iraq policy. From a review by Brian Urquhart that appeared in The New York Review: “Pollack’s book makes it embarassingly clear that the determining factor in the reaction of governments to Saddam Hussein has always been their own interests.” Every major nation on earth, U.S. included, is culpable for turning a blind eye to Saddam’s antics when it suited their own, but not everyone else’s, best interests.
Saddam is determined to get nuclear weapons and it is certain that he already has chemical and biological weapons. Left unchecked, he willacquire all three, of that there is no question to anyone who has dealt with him. Given his 11 year history of reneging on his agreement to allow inspections it borders on absurd to demand that weapons inspection be given another chance. And given his 11 year history of hiding weapons and facilities it is patently absurd to place the burden of proof on the U.N. to show that he has or might acquire what we think he has. Saddam lost the benefit of the doubt a long long time ago. He is smart enough to keep this game up indefinitely so long as we continue to play by his rules.
Weapons inspection has so far severely hindered, though not nearly stopped, Saddam’s acquisition of WMD. However, the effectiveness of this program is diminished every time Saddam violates the inspection protocol and the U.N. doesn’t punish him in any way. The threat of violence is the only way to force Saddam to let inspectors into the country in the first place. Eventually, if Saddam continues to violate the rules set out, violence has to be applied or it is no longer a real threat. And without that threat weapons inspections are an impossibility. This cycle of inaction must, unfortunately for all involved, be broken at some point.
WAR ON IRAQ
“Through our own mistakes, the perfidy of others, and Saddam’s cunning, the Unites States is left with few good policy options toward Iraq, and increasingly, the option that makes the most sense is for the United States to launch a full-scale invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam, eradicate his weapons of mass destruction, and rebuild Iraq as a prosperous and stable society….”
The most important thing to remember when contemplating a move as serious as war is that not just any war will do. In addition to commitments to rebuilding the country and the government and countless other considerations, a war waged on Iraq at this point must be big and powerful–victory must be all but certain. Failure would be catastrophic. And the U.S. has hemmed and hawed for so long with Iraq that the surest way to get no support for a war effort is to keep hemming and hawing. Granted, a large and decisive attack would still have plenty of detractors, but not nearly as many as another half-hearted attack.
Bombing alone will not work. The bombing in Kosovo and Afghanistan was intended as an aid to the native opposition groups to carry out the overthrow the of the government themselves. But there is no organized native opposition in Iraq. Saddam’s reign of terror has been too pervasive. And the autonomous Kurds in the north can’t be counted on because the U.S. and the U.N. have stood by while Baghdad massacred Kurds on four occassions since 1970, and the U.S. has backed out of several joint operations with them in the past. The U.S. and the U.N. owe them an apology and owe them the decency of committing to an operation to the extent that they’re willing to use their own ground forces. Only then will the Kurds follow.
So there are many caveats to war. Many people that support a war argue passionately against a half-hearted war effort. It would be ugly, costly, and pointless. The U.S. may do that anyway, as a ‘compromise’ between those who want war and those who don’t. This course of action will likely have the worst of all possible outcomes.
WHETHER THE ARGUMENT has led you to the conclusion that war is inevitable or not, I at least wanted to give it its proper hearing. I don’t wish to imply that this decision is clear cut or easy. But the decision must be made, and we can only hope that it is an educated decision. If a catasrophic mistake is made, I hope that it would be made with the best of intentions and the most complete knowledge rather than from selfishness, laziness, and ignorance. And I believe that either the pro-war or the anti-war position could be catastrophic and can be reached from selfishness, laziness, and ignorance. Both options must be considered without bias.
Like a samurai trained in Zen, it is time for decisive action. Either the U.S. and hopefully the U.N. should commit “the forces necessary to ensure success and the resources necessary to rebuild a stable, prosperous Iraq”, or it should let Saddam be. If you choose the latter, then you must do so with understanding and a willingness to accept the potential consequences.
I think that either way many more innocent people will die and much suffering will occur; it seems that war is the lesser of two evils.
Kenneth M. Pollack has functioned as a specialist on Iraq as a member of the National Security Council under President Clinton, as well as a junior military analyst in the CIA duiring the Iran/Iraq war, the Gulf war, and after. At the time of this writing in 2003, he was a director of research in Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute.