Brookings Institution analyst says war might be necessary


Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow in the foreign policy studies program at the Brookings Institution, told an audience at Bates College on Sept. 19 that war with Iraq might be the only way to forestall Saddam Hussein’s employment of weapons of mass destruction. But O’Hanlon also said during a Great Falls Forum event that such a war would likely be bloodier than the 1991 Gulf War and could lead to a prolonged and costly U.S. occupation of Iraq.

“I don’t think Saddam is a monster,” O’Hanlon told an audience at Bates’ Edmund S. Muskie Archives, according to an article in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

“He’s contained in a box that pretty much hasn’t changed in size or shape for a decade,” O’Hanlon said. “He’s probably not going to become a worse threat in the future than he is already.” But, O’Hanlon continued, President Bush “has put his credibility and our national credibility on the line. And there is a serious argument for changing the status quo, so I do support the president’s effort to reintroduce weapons inspections into Iraq and, failing that, to use force.”

O’Hanlon, who spoke at Bates in October 2001 about U.S. national security following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has been a senior fellow at Brookings since 1994, specializing in defense strategy and budget, military technology, use of military force, humanitarian intervention and security issues in Northeast Asia. His publications include Defense Policy Choices for the Bush Administration (2002) and Winning Ugly: NATO’s War to Save Kosovo (with Ivo Daalder, 2000). He was a contributor to this year’s volume Protecting the American Homeland.

O’Hanlon has testified three times before Congress, appeared on the major U.S. television networks and written numerous opinion pieces for The New York Times and Washington Post.

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