Here’s another Guardian column well worth throwing into the Iraqi mix. Could a war now be on the back burner for a year, thanks to Karl Rove’s desire not to repeat the mistakes of the first Bush regime and win a war a year too early for a presidential election? On the surface of things, it might seem improbable — bombings in the no-fly zone, for instance, have not only increased, but the ordnance being dropped is ever more powerful and the claim that this is all to protect Iraqi Shiites, not to destroy Iraq’s air defense system, no longer even mentioned. But let’s just say it caught my attention. The fact that powerful people are thinking such thoughts is in itself significant. Tom
Why war is now on the back burner
Bush is waiting until the 2004 elections are nearer to attack Iraq
By Dan Plesch, December 4, 2002, The Guardian
President Bush may have put an invasion of Iraq on hold until it can best help his 2004 re-election campaign. The administration would prefer to see change in Iraq by subtler means than 300,000 troops and mass bombing. He does not want to relive his father’s experience of winning a war a year too early and finding that come the election the victory was forgotten or, worse, the post-war peace was turning sour.
Most observers focus on the perceived role of the Pentagon hawks versus State Department doves in the battle for influence over Bush. But his political advisers in the White House – especially Karl Rove – are far more influential. It was Rove who, in June, gave a presentation explaining that the war should be central to the Republicans’ successful campaign to win control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.