Time for another quick Iraq rundown.
Bush’s promise to unveil a Middle East peace plan (despite what some in his administration think of it) may have been another favor to Tony Blair, as it seems that promise is helping Tony Blair keep Claire Short from resigning. On the flip side, a poll of Labor backbenchers showed 95 out of 129 MPs refusing to support military action without a second resolution.
Still, any talk of peace is simply avoiding reality. US bombers took out Iraqi radar systems last night — specifically, those systems which would give warning of a US attack. The Azores meeting is not a diplomatic summit, it’s a planning session for the attack.
Not so long ago, Bush said there’d be a Security Council vote “no matter what.” Apparently he lied. Chile circulated a compromise proposal that adopted Britain’s five steps — five things Saddam must do or face war — but gave him 30 days to get it done. Bush said no. I don’t think Bush can allow that resolution to get to the floor, because it would get the nine yes votes Blair needs to head off any revolt. Unfortunately for Blair, ignoring a resolution with nine yes votes is far worse than skipping another resolution altogether, so Blair and Bush have to get the war in gear before anything happens. See what trying to reach a compromise gets you?
Along those lines, if France really wanted to embarass the hell out of the US, it’d pick up the Chilean proposal and champion it. Imagine the fun if Bush found himself forced to veto a resolution that included a trigger for war? I don’t really think that’ll happen, but man it’d be interesting.
Anyhow, I’m still predicting March 21st, this coming Friday. (Doh. Was off by three.) Launching the war mid-week would pummel the markets; better to give Wall Street a couple of days to watch before they can panic. If the Security Council winds up bringing other resolutions to the floor, that might speed things up.