- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 29, 2002

If the administration wishes to overthrow Saddam Hussein, there are key elements to the process that must be attended to. A few of these are adumbrated below.

First the Congress must hold combined hearings in which of Saddam's crimes are documented. For instance, the slaughter of 100,000 Kurds. The use of outlawed weapons of mass destruction such as chemical weapons. The attempt to develop nuclear weapons. Cooperation with al Qaeda.

Secondly, a political rationale must be constructed. That would include Saddam's inability to build a state that includes all ethnic elements. The United States would need to obtain agreement among all exile ethnic elements on the general outline of a federal structure and on the sharing of oil revenues among the regions. The relationship with Turkey, including access to oil, would be crucial.

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These two elements would distinguish Iraq from every other case, thus limiting the precedential character of the American intervention.

Thirdly, a strategy would be needed that would induce defections and perhaps even a decision by Saddam to surrender, if he did so by a given date. To achieve this, there would have to be agreements on amnesty and on safe havens that would protect defectors guilty of crimes against humanity from the planned international criminal court. This might include generous bank accounts in the United States that would be protected by new American law.

Defecting organized divisions of the Iraqi army should have a guaranteed role in the new Iraq, and very generous payments for service, provided they help to root out forces loyal to Saddam. They should be supplied with the sinews of war and given air and technical support. Groups of civilians who wish to cooperate should be organized into militias and provided with weaponry and guidance. Their justified desire for revenge should be restrained.

Courts should be established to punish those who committed crimes and who do not surrender within specified time limits.

The campaign should be patient and a new government should be installed while that campaign is in progress, provided that its military forces can take the lead in the campaign. Our NATO allies should be pressed to recognize it. Elections should be planned to occur as soon as they can reasonably be organized, provided enough of the country is under control, even if fighting is going on and even if not all of Baghdad is under control.

Damage to civilians should be minimized. Food, water and medical attention, particularly for children, should be part of the campaign.

In short, the politics of the campaign will be even more important than its military aspects.

Morton A. Kaplan is editor and publisher of The World & I, a publication of The Washington Times Corp.

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