Re: *** Most Americans favor bombing Iraq - poll

Robert S. Thau (
Wed, 19 Nov 1997 12:52:16 -0500 (EST) writes:
> At 8:26 AM -0800 11/19/97, Robert S. Thau wrote:
> Well I still stand behind my statement. I don't think the other Arab's give
> a rats ass. They just don't want to be a part of the U.S. beating up on
> another arab nation. It's the language of state. We don't condone the U.S.
> action. That way they get to keep their hands clean.

Hmmm... the public Arab League resolution declaring "complete
rejection" of military action

goes well past "not condone" in at least my understanding of
diplomaspeak, but I'm not an expert. (It was my choice of words, and
a poor one --- I'm also a bit embarassed to note, looking at the date,
that my own gripes about the American media seem to have been a bit
over-broad, though I can't recall hearing much about this on NPR at
the time).

On the other hand, the Kuwaiti minister's statements of opposition do
seem to be weasel-worded...

"We have not supported any military action against Iraq,"

``Any military action will cause considerable damage to the people
of Iraq and its neighbors.''

but no straightforward "it should not happen".

> They aren't stupid
> enough not to think this wacko would use nerve gas on their people if he
> thought he could get away witih it.

Perhaps, but nobody's talking about lifting the no-fly zones or
terminating the inspection program entirely (which is what would let
him get away with it) --- just easing or lifting the sanctions
conditionally on continued Iraqi cooperation with inspections and
no-fly-zones (which is what both the Iraqis and our erstwhile Gulf War
allies say they want).

Also, the Arab governments are severely torqued about what they
perceive, perhaps correctly, as American failure to put any pressure
at all on Israel to live up to its own commitments as part of the
peace process, which was what they supposedly got from the U.S. in
return for their participation in the last Gulf War coalition. And
they have their own populations to keep happy; those populations are
well aware of the rather drastic consequences that the sanctions
regime has had for the Iraqi populace (severe malnutrition among

It certainly seems to me that if the U.S. launched its own strike,
they could expect a protest from the Arab governments, and they could
also expect it to put a serious monkey wrench into any possible
cooperation on other fronts (not that much of that is happening anyway
these days, with the U.S. sponsored regional trade conference in Qatar
being effectively boycotted by most Arabs, again due to their
dissatisfaction with Amercian policy).