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The New York Times: The Annotated Edition
by Threehegemons
30 September 2002 03:23 UTC
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<<Firing Back From Iraq

September 29, 2002

Always recall that newspapers work on a strict vertical principle.  The 
Headline, and the tone it sets, is most important, followed by the first 
paragraph, the second, etc.
Below I offer some comments on this story, along with translations of 
particularly obscure passages.

<<WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 - Iraq's rejection of any new United
Nations resolution that toughens the terms of disarmament
appeared calculated to widen the gap dividing the United
States and Britain from the other big powers at the United
Nations as they were struggling to find a common approach
to confront Saddam Hussein.>>

Translation:  Iraq has already surrendered to the principle of UN weapons 
inspectors.  It hopes France, Russia, and China will understand this. 

<<But if it stands as Iraq's last word, this refusal could
also mark the beginning of the transition from diplomacy to
war in the Persian Gulf, as President Bush and Prime
Minister Tony Blair were already wheeling their military
forces to higher states of readiness.>>

Trans:  The Bush administration is praying both that France, Russia and China 
will agree to what amounts to demanding that Iraq completely surrender its 
sovereignty, and that, should this actually occur, Iraq does not  foil their 
plan by going along with the new resolution. The Bushies undoubtedly recall 
that this strategy worked (more or less) when the US wanted to wage war against 

<<The verbal blast from two of Mr. Hussein's top aides, Vice
President Taha Yassin Ramadan and Deputy Prime Minister
Tariq Aziz, made it apparent that Mr. Hussein was seeking
to disrupt the Bush administration's diplomacy as American
and British diplomats were engaging in urgent consultations
with France, Russia and China. >>

Trans:  Iraq insisting that it be held to the terms the UN has already defined 
amounts to a ‘verbal blast’ and disruption.

<<But the tactic could backfire. The fiery statements from
Baghdad may actually please the Bush administration because
Iraqi intransigence will make it easier to argue the case
for military action. At the same time, the Iraqi defiance
may make it more difficult for critics here and abroad to
question the Bush administration's unrelenting campaign to
bring the Iraq situation to a head. >>

Trans:  Bush wants to go to war.  So would everyone just shut up already?

 <<And Mr. Aziz's sober warning that "the assault against Iraq
will not be a cakewalk" but rather "a fierce war during
which the United States will suffer losses they have never
sustained for decades," was timed to exploit the concerns
expressed by American political and military figures that
the task of removing Mr. Hussein's government could devolve
into punishing urban warfare and thousands of American
casualties. >>

Iraq plans to resist the US when Bush would like an easy win to weaken domestic 
opposition and justify more wars of conquest: the nerve of some governments!

<<The draft resolution was regarded as provocative by a
number of European governments, Western diplomats said, and
the hope of opposition within the Security Council may have
prompted Baghdad's effort to pre-empt the diplomacy before
Washington could win over the other permanent members of
the Security Council.  "That can never fly," a German diplomat said after he 
learned from the French the basic outline of the draft. Germany joins the 
Security Council as a non-veto member in January and has strongly opposed war 
with Iraq. 
"Even the British have informed the Europeans that they
were clearly insisting on a real option for Saddam
Hussein," the German diplomat said. "Either there are to be
inspections and the destruction of weapons of mass
destruction, if they are found, or the destruction of the
regime. "But any text," the diplomat said, "must clearly give the impression 
that there is a real option, not a zero option
or something so narrow, in order to take as quickly as
possible a decision on military action." >>

this quote from a German diplomat appears even further down in the text than 
you may realize—I’ve  edited some of the article out.

<<The Iraqis could not have missed the testimony of three
retired four-star American generals who issued a series of
cautions in testimony to Congress this week.>>

Trans:  Criticism by retired generals, who one might believe are concerned 
about the best interests of the US army and government, is giving solace to 
Saddam.  The Bush lackeys who fed this stuff to the Times are pissed. 

<<Among them was Gen. John P. Hoar, who noted that Mr.
Hussein appeared to be preparing for a defense of Baghdad.
General Hoar said he feared a "nightmare scenario" of six
Iraqi Republican Guard divisions and six additional tank
divisions ringed by several thousand antiaircraft guns. 
"The result would be high casualties on both sides, as well
as in the civilian community," he told the Senate Armed
Services Committee. "U.S. forces will certainly prevail,
but at what cost? And at what cost as the rest of the world
watches while we win and have military rounds exploding in
densely populated Iraqi neighborhoods?" he asked. >>

Also note—the opinions of retired US generals are even less important than 
those of German diplomats.  

<<Separately today, Mr. Hussein dispatched his foreign
minister, Naji Sabri, to the capital of his old enemy,
Iran, seeking an 11th-hour alliance against the United
States. Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi of Iran met Mr. Sabri at the airport and 
told reporters, "It is absolutely imperative we make serious efforts to prevent 
a new war in the region, because the region cannot support a new war" that would
touch off "insecurity and instability."  Saudi officials have signaled the Bush 
administration that
they would join an American-led campaign to topple Mr.
Hussein as long as it is conducted under the mandate of the
United Nations. But one adviser to the Saudi leadership asked after hearing a 
description of the resolution, "Are they just trying to intimidate him to say 
no?" >>

And of course, Iranians and Arabs are least important, although that quote from 
an ‘adviser to the Saudi leadership’ is particularly cogent.
Steven Sherman


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