Former Secretary of State Baker says U.S. should not act alone against Iraq
Former Secretary of State, James Baker said Sunday the political and economic cost of ousting Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein could be great if the United States acts alone and urged the Bush administration to first seek to build a wide international coalition.
Baker, who published his views in an opinion piece in The New York Times, is the latest in a series of public figures and former U.S. officials voicing reservations about unilateral U.S. military action to topple Saddam.
"If we are to change the regime in Iraq, we will have to occupy the country militarily. The costs of doing so politically, economically and in terms of casualties, could be great," Baker wrote. "They will be lessened if the president brings together an international coalition behind the effort."
Baker, as secretary of state under Bush's father, former President George Bush, played a key role in building a coalition of some 40 states that backed the U.S.-led Gulf War in 1991 to kick Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.
Recalling that 500,000 Americans and many more soldiers from allied countries were marshaled for the Gulf War, and that the war cost some $60 billion, Baker said nevertheless that the U.S. could "certainly succeed" in overthrowing Saddam. But he immediately added, "we should try our best not to go it alone, and the president should reject the advice of those who counsel doing so."
Baker said the U.S. should press for a UN Security Council resolution "requiring that Iraq submit to intrusive inspections anytime, anywhere, with no exceptions, and authorizing all necessary means to enforce it."
Even if Washington fails in this effort, he said, it is still free "to weigh the costs versus the benefit of going forward alone." (Albawaba.com)
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