Marc Perkel reports: Here's What Time Magazine Doesn't Want You to Know
Mr. Perkel says: "Fairly recently, Time pulled the essay off of their site... If you go to the table of contents for the issue in which the essay appeared (2 March 1998), "Why We Didn't Remove Saddam" is conspicuously absent."
Here it is:
"Why We Didn't Remove Saddam"
George Bush and Brent Scowcroft
Time (2 March 1998)
The end of effective Iraqi resistance came with a rapidity which surprised us all, and we were perhaps psychologically unprepared for the sudden transition from fighting to peacemaking. True to the guidelines we had established, when we had achieved our strategic objectives (ejecting Iraqi forces from Kuwait and eroding Saddam's threat to the region) we stopped the fighting. But the necessary limitations placed on our objectives, the fog of war, and the lack of "battleship Missouri" surrender unfortunately left unresolved problems, and new ones arose.
We were disappointed that Saddam's defeat did not break his hold on power, as many of our Arab allies had predicted and we had come to expect. President Bush repeatedly declared that the fate of Saddam Hussein was up to the Iraqi people. Occasionally, he indicated that removal of Saddam would be welcome, but for very practical reasons there was never a promise to aid an uprising
. While we hoped that popular revolt or coup would topple Saddam, neither the U.S. nor the countries of the region wished to see the breakup of the Iraqi state. We were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf. Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in "mission creep," and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs
. Apprehending him was probably impossible
. We had been unable to find Noriega in Panama, which we knew intimately. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad
and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed
, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.'s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land
. It would have been a dramatically different--and perhaps barren--outcome.