As I write in early October, war may well lie before us in the Persian Gulf. Even the most sanguine administration officials concede that Iraq can probably withstand an embargo for six or twelve months. It is also clear that the coalition of nations opposing Iraq will not allow that embargo to starve their enemy even if it looked likely to do so. Furthermore, with increasing asperity our Arab allies have argued that Saddam Hussein and his regime must be dispatched, and some European allies—the British most notably—appear to agree, however reluctantly. Something on the order of 170,000 American servicemen and women are now in the Persian Gulf or on the way there: others will follow. By mid- or late November at least two mechanized divisions, one air-assault division, and one Marine division will be in place, plus additional independent units. Hundreds of aircraft have deployed to air bases well stocked with ammunition and spare parts.
At the same time, Saddam’s troops are systematically pillaging Kuwait and beginning the work of destroying it as a state. By obliterating official records and encouraging the flight of Kuwaitis and resident foreigners, Saddam is seeking to create facts—to make the resurrection of an independent nation impossible. Perhaps over a third of a million Iraqi troops are digging in, constructing an array of fortifications, supply dumps, and communications that will render the country a permanently fortified zone.
It is, of course, conceivable that either George Bush or Saddam Hussein will back down before war erupts, but each man has made it clear that his personal prestige and power rest on the outcome of this confrontation.
If, then, war comes, what might it look like? What kind of military power might we bring to bear in the Persian Gulf, and to what end?
Without detailed knowledge of operational conditions and deployments, both friendly and hostile, it is impossible to make a complete assessment of our options, much less to make sound recommendations. On the larger questions of war and peace, however, it is possible to sketch out the dimensions of the problems that we face, and the choices available to us. Understanding that in war, more than in most human affairs, “the devil is in the details,” the commentator on strategy—and his readers—must treat all conclusions as tentative.
The problem is compounded by the uncertainty of the present situation, which is greater than that of many other military standoffs. The greatest philosopher of war, Carl von Clausewitz, has observed:
The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish . . . the kind of war on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its nature. This is the first of all strategic questions and the most comprehensive.
In the present case it may be unusually difficult to judge correctly the nature of the war upon which we will embark. For one thing, it will be hard to assess correctly the solidity of the Iraqi state and the Iraqi armed forces. On the one hand, Iraq fought an eight-year-long war with Iran with remarkable consistency of purpose; on the other hand, the Baathist leadership of Iraq appears to have bought support with a program of material benefits impossible to sustain now that the Iraqi economy is under embargo. Saddam has created a Stalinist state, and such politics may, paradoxically, combine great strength with equally great fragility, as the example of the Soviet Union in June 1941 would suggest. Unlike Noriega’s kleptocracy in Panama, however, this regime may have considerable staying power in adversity. And although Baathist ideology may have stifled initiative and professional expertise in the past, it is not necessarily true that Iraqi generals will be incompetents or amateurs. During the course of the Iran-Iraq war they, like the armies they commanded, improved in the art of war. As scholars of the Wehrmacht have reluctantly come to understand, ideological fanaticism is in no way incompatible with fighting spirit. And the sheer bulk and sophistication of Iraqi forces—whose crack units alone equal in number the American ground forces opposite them, and who have in their hands some of the best aircraft, long-range artillery, and tanks modern industry can produce—make them a difficult opponent.
If it comes to a clash of arms, very different kinds of forces will be opposed to one another. The Iraqis have a large and battle-experienced army; ours, and those of most of our allies, are considerably smaller, technologically more advanced, and not accustomed to large-scale warfare. Particularly if the United States and its allies undertake to drive the Iraqis from Kuwait on the ground—an operation that will become increasingly difficult as they dig themselves in—the asymmetry between the two forces will become an important imponderable.
The conduct and outcome of the first battles will be of particular importance. First impressions of an opponent have a lasting effect on the fighting power of one’s own forces. The Yom Kippur war of 1973, for example, was probably made far more difficult for the Israelis by virtue of the purely psychological effects of the initial Arab surprise and successes. The Egyptians and Syrians continued to fight hard throughout the war, understanding that their enemies had been proven fallible mortals. If in the initial clashes with the Iraqis the American forces are roughly handled, the rest of the war will go that much harder; but if American prowess is clearly demonstrated in the first day or so, the second-rate Iraqi troops who have been put in the front lines may fight with less determination. Fighting ability, then, is not a constant to be measured with precision before the battle.
A further source of uncertainty stems from the possibility that this may be a “tightly coupled” war—a war in which second- and third-order consequences of its outbreak spread extremely rapidly. The Iran-Iraq war, by contrast, was “loosely coupled,” in that it took years for the war to embroil other actors or to affect in a drastic way the domestic politics of the combatants and of other countries. Here, however, things may be different. The repercussions of such a war may be felt very fast in Iraq itself, on the Arab street in countries like Jordan, and in the United States.
Finally, such a war is made more uncertain by the American objectives in waging it. For Saddam the issue is clear: he must hold Kuwait or risk forfeiting his rule and his life. By giving away all of the gains from the war with Iran he has made some kind of success here imperative. And his task is simplified by the fact that he is on the strategic defensive—that is, he hopes to retain all or some of his gains. Our goals, conversely, are strategically offensive and hence more difficult to achieve. They are ambitious enough in themselves—securing an unconditional Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait, restoring the Emirate, assuring the safety of all American citizens, and maintaining the security and stability of the gulf. The unstated objectives often bruited about in government circles—the destruction of Iraqi chemical and nuclear facilities, the permanent reduction of Iraqi military power, and the ejection of Saddam from power—are more ambitious yet. They are not necessarily harmonious with one another: the obliteration of Iraqi military power, for example, may breed new threats to Persian Gulf security from an Iran that has seen its traditional foe crushed without having to lift a finger.
Obviously, the United States cannot “lose” this war in the sense that Germany or Japan lost World War II. But it is entirely possible for us to lose in the sense that we lost in Vietnam—that is, we may fail to achieve our objectives and our enemies may succeed in achieving theirs. Saddam’s strategic predicament requires that he make the war costly, long, and politically difficult, hoping for a compromise peace that will leave him some gains when peace is finally concluded.
The Instruments of Force
More important than any weapon deployed in the Persian Gulf is the character of the American armed forces. Because of the absence of the draft and the general lack of interest that the American middle class has in its armed forces, this world remains terra incognita to many Americans. Such ignorance is unfortunate from many points of view, and not least because it may pave the way for civil-military conflicts of a kind not seen since the Vietnam war. What follows is a brief sketch of the temperament of the officer corps, and particularly of those in the field grades and general-officer ranks who set the tone for all who serve under them. Their understanding of what war is and how it should be fought will shape the conflict and the mixture of force and diplomacy that will bring it to a close.
This is, first and foremost, an operationally self-confident military. Nearly a decade of high budgets have given it a large array of new hardware, and provided for ample training at remarkable new facilities like the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. At that Mojave Desert outpost, which is larger than the state of Rhode Island, American mechanized and armored battalions wage simulated war against a numerically superior mock-Soviet force. With the aid of superb technical systems (including remote-control cameras, laser scoring systems, and automated firing ranges), units can simulate close combat about as well as can be done without engaging in a shooting war. The Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force have similar facilities, and, what is more important, they have dedicated noncommissioned officers and enlisted personnel who are in uniform because they want to be. Furthermore, the successful invasion of Panama, with its dazzling feats of logistical planning, the coordination of hundreds of aircraft flying at night in radio silence, and simultaneous attacks against multiple targets, bolstered military self-confidence. Indeed, the field commander in Panama, Lieutenant General Carl Stiner, is reported to have declared that “there are no [negative] lessons to be learned from ‘Just Cause,’” as the operation was code-named.
The flip side of this pride and self-confidence is, potentially, arrogance. No peacetime maneuvers can substitute for combat experience, and American history is replete with the story of units discovering that the first battles they fought bore little resemblance to prewar exercises, no matter how elaborate. Invariably the stresses of war will reveal that some commanders who excel in garrison, or on exercises, will crack up in combat. Nor should it be assumed that American technology will always perform as advertised (for that matter, it cannot be assumed that it will not). The danger here lies less in the final outcome than in the creation of false expectations of complete and nearly effortless victory, an illusion that may be fostered unwittingly by a military that is justifiably proud of its professional skills.
The American military believes that war should be both swift and violent; that a quick win heads off doubt at home and the recuperation of the enemy in the theater. In part because of its reading of American popular impatience, the military wishes to win while the public backs the war effort, for above all it fears the consequences of a fractured home front. The Army, which has provided operation “Desert Shield” with its senior commander, firmly believes that wars can only be won on the ground, and this bit of folk wisdom is widely shared in the government. The Army too, however, would like a fast, smashing victory.
All this implies that the armed forces will be inclined to sit tight until they have enough men and machines on the ground to do the job thoroughly, and then to do the job fast. But these sensible wishes may cause problems because war sooner rather than later may be in our interest. Winston Churchill once observed:
I have often tried to set down the strategic truths I have comprehended in the form of simple anecdotes, and they rank this way in my mind. One of them is the celebrated tale of the man who gave the powder to the bear. He mixed the powder with the greatest care, making sure that not only the ingredients but the proportions were absolutely correct. He rolled it up in a large paper spill, and was about to blow it down the bear’s throat. But the bear blew first.
Saddam will not sit still waiting for us to choose the best moment to dispatch him. And the preference for the well-prepared blitzkrieg—in fact, the certainty that it is the only feasible strategy for impatient Americans—may produce bewilderment if it turns out not to work.
The preference for the quick blitz has other roots as well, among them a desire to avoid excessive political interference in the conduct of military operations. Convinced that civilian micro-management ruined us in Vietnam, and that a willingness to give wide discretion to the military in Panama made that operation a success, the officer corps fears close supervision by its political masters. Needless to say, it will submit to such controls, and it understands that war must serve the ends of policy. But the officer corps fears that sound military logic will go by the board if politicians begin to take too close an interest in the conduct of operations.
This reading of both Vietnam and Just Cause is at the very least grossly oversimplified. All great war leaders—Lincoln, Clemenceau, Churchill, Roosevelt, Ben-Gurion, to name but a few—“meddled,” and their meddling stemmed not from ignorance of war but from an understanding of its political character and an awareness of the limits of professional expertise. The formulation of strategy is, invariably, a messy business, not subject to purely military reasoning or indeed to elaborate preplanning for more than the opening stages of conflict. Luckily, because of the personalities of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, and his civilian superiors, many disputes may be solved amicably. But the potential will exist for paralyzing discord if things do not go well.
Civilian command errors may compound the problem. The abrupt dismissal in September of General Michael Dugan, chief of staff of the Air Force, for discussing possible bombing targets in Iraq raises a question mark in this regard. Dugan was foolish to speak as he did, but he revealed no secrets. The decision to sack the able and intelligent leader of the main service that would be thrown into the front line may come back to haunt those who took it. Should the sacking of other prominent generals be required (and it often is), old patterns of civil-military mistrust may recur. A statesman once observed that it is better to have to rein in the eager stallion than spur the reluctant plow horse. The message sent by this firing will surely reverberate in the minds of other generals, and not necessarily for the good.
This is, finally, a military that will fight looking over its shoulder. The generous budgets, and more importantly the public approbation of the Reagan years, have healed the wounds inflicted by Vietnam, but the scars still ache and the tissue is tender. The armed forces fear that once again they will be made the scapegoat for foolish policy, and that once again the uniform their members wear with pride will become an object of derision or even loathing. Unlike their British counterparts of Kipling’s day, American officers find unbearable the thought of a population “making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep.” This concern will lead the military to search instinctively for popular strategies as well as quick ones. Yet, as has often been said, “war is an option of difficulties,” and a time may come when the military will have to think more about the battle before it than about popular support.
None of this should be taken to suggest that the American military is either incompetent or pathologically unsuited for the tasks that lie before it. It is, rather, to suggest the lines along which civil-military unity may be strained or even come undone. To ensure that these tensions are minimized (they cannot be avoided) is the task of statecraft.
Which raises perhaps the most important question of all: what is the quality of American political leadership as it confronts the prospect of war? George Bush has two great virtues as a potential war President, and one glaring flaw. His first-hand experience of war may count for relatively little—Jefferson Davis, a hero of the Mexican-American War, was much worse as a war President than Abraham Lincoln, who had trivial experience as a militia officer. No, this President’s strengths have more to do with innate character. First and foremost, Bush can make decisions, including the decision to go to war. Panama demonstrated that quality, and it is of cardinal importance in war. And unlike Jimmy Carter, he will not let his concern for hostages paralyze him. Secondly, Bush knows the importance of secrecy: as Churchill remarked during World War II, “in wartime truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” Democracies, which inspire contempt among dictators for their incessant parleying and squabbling, can exploit the surprise that resides in their capacity for swift decision if a leader wishes it.
Bush’s great weakness is his tin ear for the greater issues of democratic politics—the poverty of his rhetoric, using that overworked term in its ancient and proper sense. His willingness to send his National Security Adviser to bandy words with the butchers of Tiananmen Square soon after they had slaughtered protesting students; his failure to find ringing words to celebrate the liberation of Eastern Europe; his hesitation thus far in describing Saddam’s grisly cruelties in vivid terms—all bespeak an inability to portray the great themes of politics. Charming and gracious in personal encounters, he relies on the telephone and intimate conversation to conduct business, but these will not enable him to mobilize a nation for war. Fundamentally a moderate, he instinctively prefers the pastels of diplomacy to the bolder hues of grand policy. More sophisticated and probably more intelligent than his predecessor, he lacks Ronald Reagan’s grasp of the politics of passion—and yet war is above all a matter of passion. Notably, Bush’s one real stab at “vision” consisted of praise for “points of light,” an array of details, not a comprehensive vista of the American present and future.
Bush may well rise to the challenge. Even if he does not, so long as the war goes reasonably well, this flaw will not prove crucial. Bush and his advisers are competent and energetic, and that may turn out to be enough. It is fortunate that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the solid and politically savvy General Colin Powell, since the prominence assigned that post since the reorganization of the Department of Defense in 1986 makes it uniquely, indeed excessively, important. Congress has, thus far, supported the President generously. That too may change if the war goes poorly.
All this suggests, then, that the United States’ seemingly overwhelming military advantages in a war with Iraq are not quite as invincible as they may seem. Leadership at the highest levels, and not merely the quality of our weapons and tactics, will decide the outcome of the war. If President Bush can explain to the American people the necessity of this war, and if he can make them and their military understand that it may not be short and almost assuredly will not be easy, he will have gone a long way toward securing victory.
America’s Strategic Options
There are four operational patterns a war between Saddam Hussein and the American-led coalition might take. Conceivably, Saddam might lunge at Saudi Arabia, although it is hard to see why he would do that now, having failed to do it before substantial American forces were present on the ground. Saddam could perhaps be provoked to such action by intolerable pressure brought to bear through air power, but that would only play into our hands. For an armored battle along the Kuwait-Saudi border would favor the United States, with its superiority in the air, its more sophisticated command and control, and the flexibility of its tactical style.
But it is far more likely that the United States will have to take the initiative. If so, we will need a pretext, although a particular incident may be less necessary than a clear articulation of Saddam’s acts of war against us—i.e., the seizure of our nationals as hostages and the attempt to annihilate a small country aligned with us. But if a triggering event is required, it will easily be found, in the death or mistreatment of American hostages, a clash in the skies near the Saudi-Kuwait border brought about either by loose rules of engagement, or by more aggressive moves, like an invitation by the Emir of Kuwait for the United States to patrol Kuwaiti air space.
Should such incidents not be forthcoming, or should they appear unworthy of the United States and its allies, a simple ultimatum would suffice. It would be neither unjust nor (in the United States, at any rate) unpopular to tell Saddam that he had forty-eight hours to begin returning hostages and to pledge himself to withdraw from the gulf. But in any event, and however large-scale hostilities might start, it is imperative that Bush ask Congress for a declaration of war from the outset. Among other things, this would ward off some of the recriminations that would inevitably follow an attempt to wage war without the explicit consent of the American people and their elected representatives.
Our first offensive strategy would be that of siege. After several months of embargo the Iraqis may not—probably will not—be feeling economic effects so severe as to make them surrender on American terms. But military force could be used with the aim of creating in a few months the effects that would otherwise take a year or more to appear. This would entail more ruthless enforcement by mining and interdiction of a blockade by land, sea, and air, as well as limited raids against economic targets like power plants and oil-storage sites to accelerate the collapse of the Iraqi economy. Such a strategy would have the merit of relative cheapness (at least initially) in terms of human life. Presumably American allies would favor this, the least violent, military option, although the front-line Arab states might regard it as a mere half-measure likely to produce the adverse consequences of a more aggressive campaign but few of the benefits. Nonetheless, this option would allow the United States to begin working toward at least one unstated objective—namely, the reduction of Iraq’s long-term military potential.
On the other hand, it is hard to see why such a strategy would work quickly. Saddam would retain the initiative, and could react by lashing out at Israel, at Saudi Arabia and the other Arab gulf states, or by unleashing terrorism in the United States. Nor can the Bush administration assume that so constrained a use of military power would find favor either with the American public or with the American military, which would detect in this approach shades of the “signaling” strategy that failed so dismally against Ho Chi Minh in the first years of the Vietnam war. Finally, the siege strategy would undoubtedly bring about some discord in the alliance, for not all allies (particularly the Europeans) would go along with it.
The second offensive strategy might be termed “Victory Through Air Power.” It would involve launching a massive aerial-bombardment campaign against Iraq of the kind outlined by the ill-fated General Dugan. Dugan, an extremely able if indiscreet officer who paid for his loose tongue with his job, told newspapermen that the United States would first win command of the air and then go not only after air fields and other conventional military targets, but after Saddam himself, as well as his family and the Takriti clan that dominates the Iraqi regime.
This strategy would take as its point of departure the argument that Iraq would make an ideal target for such a campaign. Unlike Vietnam, Iraq has no triple canopy jungle to impede targeting, and no superpower patron to resupply it. In the absence of other major threats to American security, particularly in Europe, the United States would be free to concentrate its attention and its resources on a single campaign. Improved munitions would allow far greater precision in the conduct of air strikes than at any time in military history, and the lack of Iraqi experience in air defense would make it difficult for them to react directly. American losses could be kept relatively low—say, in the hundreds at most—and many of our objectives could be achieved directly, possibly including the elimination of Saddam, but also the damaging of his nuclear, chemical, and conventional-arms industries. It is true that they could not be completely eliminated, but Iraqi progress in these areas could be set back years if not decades. Just as important, a valuable lesson could be administered to Iraq and to other potential outlaw states about the penalties of a drive to power of this kind. The “Victory Through Air Power” strategy has the further merits of speed and of allowing for allied participation, including substantial Saudi involvement, that of the British Royal Air Force, and of the air detachments of Canada, France, and other countries that may arrive in the theater.
But such a scheme has its drawbacks as well. No air campaign by itself is likely to turn the Iraqis out of Kuwait, nor could the destruction of particular targets, Saddam included, be assured. It is virtually certain that thousands of hostages and Iraqi civilians would perish in a campaign of this kind, creating domestic revulsion in the West and in the region. Barring some major Iraqi provocation, one would have to assume that this strategy would fracture the anti-Iraq coalition, and possibly allow some of its more reluctant members to declare their neutrality between the two sides.
To be sure, given time and an absence of restrictions, an air campaign might be as effective as it proved in late 1944 and in 1945 against Germany and Japan. (Contrary to a commonly heard view, the leveling of Dresden and Tokyo did not build up the Axis will to resist; nor is it the case that economic life could persist in the face of such an onslaught.) But neither time nor the willingness to wage war à l’outrance may exist in this instance: 1990 is not 1945, and although Saddam’s regime may be as evil in some sense as those of Tojo or Hitler, the United States does not yet see him as an enemy of the same class.
An Air Strategy would be hard to maintain for months without action on the ground as well. If the Iraqis held out, the urge to finish the job once and for all would become too strong to resist. This leads us to our third and final offensive option, which one might call “Normandy Revisited”—an attempt to liberate Kuwait after an air campaign as intense as, but briefer than, that which preceded the invasion of France in June 1944.
Here we have a strategy that would achieve America’s openly stated objectives, although most of the unstated ones would require a larger air campaign not directly in support of the liberation of Kuwait. Depending on their reading of the terrain, Iraqi deployments, and the morale of their enemy, the American commanders might try to encircle Kuwait by swinging around the Iraqi right flank or by amphibious landings near the Iraq-Kuwait border. They could, just as well, feint these maneuvers and try to break into the fortified region of Kuwait City. But in any event, they would attempt to settle the issue by main force.
This strategy, even if pursued through indirect operations and clever maneuvers, would be a head-on approach to the problem of war with Iraq. But unless the Iraqis prove a fragile opponent, the strategy would have many costs. It could actually meet with failure, the kind of rebuff that American forces have often suffered in their first clashes with an enemy, and this could have incalculable consequences at home and abroad. Barring a quick Iraqi collapse it could cost thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of American casualties. Although some Egyptians and Saudi units might take heavy losses, the grim fact would be that the United States would probably bear the brunt. And the President would have to explain to the American people why there were thousands of American widows and orphans, but no grieving German or Japanese wives and children, in a war fought in part on their behalf.
“Normandy Revisited” thus could easily bring us face to face with horrors that we have successfully avoided thus far, including the death or mutilation of soldiers who are also the mothers of young children, or their rape at the hands of an enemy soldiery. Such a war could also be seen as a “rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight”—the poor in this situation being those upwardly mobile lower-income youths who fill the enlisted ranks, while their college-bred, more affluent peers shun service in what is, after all, a volunteer military. Under all these circumstances, the Bush administration could soon find itself caught between the pressure either to end the war quickly, with an unsatisfactory compromise, or to escalate, even to the point of using nuclear weapons.
In all three offensive scenarios, a number of difficulties lurk. First among these is managing the cumbersome alliance that Bush has so proudly assembled. Even if, as is reasonable, the administration decides that it must wage war with a core coalition of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Britain, it faces tremendous problems of command and control. The histories of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam suggest that—with the best will in the world—there can be no substitute for a unified command in the field. Yet no Arab state will openly place its forces under American command, and vice versa. This may be unavoidable, but we must understand that it will exact a price in terms of military effectiveness.
Moreover, a persistent deployment in the Persian Gulf, much less a war there, will have a pernicious long-term impact on American defense planning. Even if the Arab states, the Europeans, and the Japanese pick up the tab (another way in which this could be seen as “a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight”), there will be indirect costs which the United States will have to bear. Barring a decision to stop the decline in the defense budget, a prolonged commitment in the gulf will come at the expense of large-scale development of new military technologies. In other words, a Persian Gulf war will consume some of our defense seed corn. Congress has squelched the administration’s efforts to pour $20 billion in new arms into Saudi Arabia in one shot; it has similarly put paid to an effort to allow the Defense Department to accept and spend as it saw fit any amount of money donated by a foreign government to the Pentagon. These moves by the Pentagon bespeak a thoughtless focus on immediate concerns in making decisions about how best to defend the Persian Gulf over the long haul. Loose talk by administration officials about using the Persian Gulf crisis as an opportunity to create enduring alliances in that region, and possibly even a comprehensive Arab-Israeli settlement, have a similar quality. Only after a war will the United States be in a position to figure out how much freedom it will have to reshape the Middle East, let alone to what extent it will wish to reshape it.
All of the options outlined above, then, have their drawbacks. On balance, however, we would be well-advised to move sooner rather than later, and to do so with a prolonged and intensive air campaign followed up some time—weeks or even months later—by advances on the ground. For not only are the uncertainties of an early ground operation enormous, the domestic political consequences could be catastrophic. The reason the United States should strike sooner rather than later is that Saddam is a dangerous man to whom to concede the initiative. By attacking Israel, destabilizing Jordan, or concluding a treaty of convenience with Iran (shades of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, save that this would follow rather than precede a bloody war between the two), Saddam can redefine the conflict in terms unfavorable to us. Nor are his military preparations to be dismissed. The longer he has to fortify Kuwait, to prepare his armies and people for war, and to lay the groundwork for a campaign of terror and subversion overseas, the harder he will make it for us. The crest of peacetime popular support for intervention in the gulf is near or even past. As time wears on, fears for the hostages, confusion about the worth of our objectives, recriminations about America’s prewar policy toward Iraq will sap our will to fight.
Without a war we will probably not turn Saddam out of Kuwait, and we will certainly fail to set back his programs of chemical and nuclear armament. Unless we crush him and batter his war machine we will open the way to schemes of Iraqi hegemony in the Arab world fed by vast financial resources, a surprisingly sophisticated technological base, and absolute ruthlessness. The stakes are not merely politically unimpeded access to oil, or the life of an independent Kuwait, or even the stability of the global economy, but the very nature of the world our children and grandchildren will inhabit. A world safe for Saddam Hussein is a world safe, ultimately, for nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare waged to feed or, in defensive desperation, to thwart the ambitions of Saddam and his ilk. That world looms less than ten years ahead of us. The Hitler analogy may be overdone, but at the end of the day there is a good bit to be said for it. Saddam Hussein is a man who must be stopped, his sword broken, and his plunder wrested from him. Other nations must play their part, but only the United States can lead the fight.