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Happy New Year. But wait a minute — is that Saddam Hussein standing
there
in the middle of the Iraqi desert giving us the double bird? Or is he
just
heralding 1999 in some traditional Iraqi way?

For eight years the U.S. has bombed and bad mouthed the Beast of
Baghdad.
We’ve virtually closed down his imports and oil business. Yet, like
herpes,
he just won’t go away.

Our frustrated troops, who’ve now put more time in the Gulf than an
Iraqi
date farmer, don’t call Bill Clinton’s latest attempt to erase Saddam
Operation Desert Fox. Nope — to them it’s Operation Desert Flop.

A former B-1 bomber pilot gave this latest military floparooty of the

Clinton administration another title: Operation Free Willy.

Regardless of what you call it and its underlying purpose, the bottom
line
is that it was a military disaster. Little was accomplished except
wasting
a lot of money on what turned out to be the most expensive demolition
job
in history.

Saddam, last seen on TV ranting and railing while wading through the
rubble, appears to have put it over on us kind of like the way Rodney
King
did with the billy-club swinging LAPD.

This latest disaster wasn’t our troops fault. They deployed
flawlessly and
then executed a difficult high risk operation with precision and
professionalism.

The problem was that once again Clinton sent American warriors into
danger
on a flawed military operation that didn’t have a prayer of
accomplishing
its mission.

I don’t give the top brass high marks either. They should have
challenged
the President’s harebrained plan, told him it wouldn’t accomplish zilch
and
that in the end things would only be worse. If Clinton then insisted on
launching, the Chiefs should have done the right thing and resigned en
masse.

When was the last time a general or admiral resigned over principle?

Nothing would get a draft dodger’s attention during a military
heat-up
like stars being slapped down on a desk and the words “I quit” echoing
through the White House halls.

Now as the New Year jumps off, Saddam’s warned Clinton that if U.S.
planes
enter Iraqi airspace — in accordance with the 1991 peace arrangement
paid
for by American blood, gold and sacrifice — he’ll blow them out of the
sky.

Saddam’s also said the UN weapons inspectors are persona non grata.

Once he’s cleared the decks, Saddam can merrily begin 1999 doing a
few of
his favorite things — by rebuilding his weapons plants and his military

machine.

He could be back making germ and chemical weapons of mass destruction
in a
few months and be up to his old neighbor-menacing tricks within a year.

Clinton told the nation last year that the weapons inspection program
did
more to reduce Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction than the 88,000 tons
of
bombs dropped during Operation Desert Storm. And now his ineptness has
closed down the very same inspection program he praised.

Just before Operation Desert Fox, Clinton told the nation, “Their
mission
is to attack Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs
and
its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.” But according to
Defense
Secretary William Cohen, no plants manufacturing weapons of mass
destruction were attacked.

What gives?

Maybe, as was the case during the Vietnam War, the White House and
Pentagon are singing off different sheets of music while the Joint Staff

generals and admirals are humming their time-honored
Go-Along-To-Get-Along
backup chorus.

Bombs alone — even smart ones — can’t destabilize an Evil Empire.
Massive bombing campaigns alone failed to prevail over the Nazis, North
Koreas and Communists Vietnamese. The only bombs that ever brought a war
to
an end were the two A-bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

After the religious holiday Ramadan — mid January — expect our
bombs to
rain down on Iraq once again. Except that to win this time around, it
shouldn’t be another light shower but a sustained bombing storm coupled
with a multidivisional ground attack.

Again the timing will be excellent for Clinton. The Senate will be
doing
their impeachment show and tell, and the high tech aerial Atari game
will
provide welcome relief for this nation’s TV addicts and ever-hungry news

channels.

I sometimes wonder if Saddam Hussein hasn’t joined James Carville on
the
Clinton payroll.

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