By Ian Shapiro
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Extra resources for Containment: Rebuilding a Strategy against Global Terror
47 Supposing, perhaps, that the implied comparison between George W. Bush and Winston Churchill would collapse of its own weight, Democrats never seriously engaged the appeasement charge. The obvious answer—though it never became part of the debate—was to invoke the doctrine of containment. Because it is geared to stopping those who seek domination, containment lives at irreconcilable odds with appeasement. The early Allied response to Nazi Germany is usually held out as the classic illustration of appeasement’s folly, as indeed it was.
Policy toward Iraq had been a model of successful containment since 1991—with the ignoble exception of our mixed signals toward, and eventual betrayal of, the democratic insurgency that erupted in southern Iraq in the wake of the Iraqi army’s expulsion from Kuwait. The disciplined use of only sufﬁcient force to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait, the destruction of Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs at the end of the war, the exclusion of his air force from no-ﬂy zones in the Kurdish north and Shiite south all combined to ensure that Iraq posed no threat to any country—let alone to the United States.
Ofﬁcials lost few opportunities—including conjuring up images of mushroom clouds over American cities—to insinuate that the threat was indeed imminent. 26 Not so the rest of the administration. When it transpired that there were no WMD or nuclear programs in Iraq, the administration responded partly by insisting that theirs was a reasonable mistake inasmuch as the Clinton administration, Democrats on the Hill who saw the intelligence estimates, and America’s allies had all been persuaded that the WMD and nuclear programs existed.
Containment: Rebuilding a Strategy against Global Terror by Ian Shapiro