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Reply to commenter Eric Withee

Reader comment on item: Korean Delusions [of Appeasement]

Submitted by Sammy Finkelman (United States), Oct 23, 2002 at 14:51

EW> "The Administration knew about the North Korean nuclear arms for 12 days before they released the information. Why did they wait? Answer: they were waiting for the vote on Iraq to get passed first."

I don't believe that: the real reason was that they were trying to process the information.

It should be clear anyway that what was new here was North Korea's admission. It had been suspected and should have been suspected by everyone, of cheating anyway.

It would have affected the debate, but not the outcome.

People might say what if North Korea gives its nuclear material to Iraq. They wer speculatimng about other kinds of sources in the debate but not North Korea.

> They knew that this knowledge would shift the dynamic of the vote in Congress.

No, just alter sopme of the speeches.

> Because all the arguments used to justify striking Iraq now apply doubly so for
> North Korea.

You have two arguments or three for dealing with Iraq first

1) It's too late with North Korea and/or China will protect it

2) North Korea is more deterrable (for now - remember one of the dangers of nuclear proliefartion is what will happen after a change of leadership) North Korea seriousl;y contemplated an invasion during the 1990s but didn't do it. Saddam Hussein is more likely to give the go-ahead decision sooner.

3) There is no reason to fight two wars at the same time if you can avoid it. Iraq is easier and will serve as an object lesson. But if we wait, North Korea and Iraq might strike up an alliance, and a war on two fronts together like Egyot and Syria did in 1973, for instance.

> The debates in Congress would have been much more interesting if this
> information had been widely spread prior to the debate.

That is true.

> I think the vote might not have even happened.

The only vote that might have been different was on the Graham amendment which wanted to authorize the president to go against other countries as well (he had in mind mostly Iran and Syria)

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