The rationale for launching a war on Iraq ought to determine how it would be waged. If the goal is a change of regime, the options range from sending assassination squads to target key individuals, to amassing a vast invasion force to take over the country. If the idea is to persuade the Iraqi military to perform a coup d’état, the ofﬁcer corps would have to be persuaded that the only way to save their own skins would be to take out the government themselves. Heavy handed use of air power would be counterproductive if it killed the very people expected to assume power, or turned the public against the invading forces.
Iraq: Regime Change, Regional Change
Despite Iraq’s sudden invitation to renew UN weapons inspections, American hardliners will keep up the pressure for war. Regime change might be achieved under cover of disarming Baghdad. But without a serious debate on the objectives of force, there will be no opportunity to consider what could go wrong or how to handle the competing interests.