Conventional Wisdom is that the error made by George Bush Sr. during the Persian Gulf War of 1991 was to not finish off Saddam when he had the momentum. I think a bigger error was finishing the war well before the next election, thereby allowing other issues like the economy, the environment, civil rights, etc. to become election issues.

George Bush Jr. has no doubt learned this lesson. Knowing that there is an election scheduled for November 2004, the administration would be out of its mind to start hostilities soon. And goodness knows that with the looting of Enron, a squeezing of civil rights, the economy in the dumps, natural resources being pillaged, tax cuts that benefit the rich and the reemergence of Tyrannosaurus Debt, there’s plenty of platform for a Democrat challenger to run with.

So the ideal schedule (for Bush) would be to have a military victory fresh on the minds of Americans as the election approaches. Preferably, there would be plenty of those patriotic homecomings where the brave sailors disembark from the aircraft carriers and hug their families in the first week of November. That would mean the war would finish up in May or June of 2004. Conveniently, Ramadan 2003 ends in November, and Ramadan 2004 begins in mid-October, and the war will likely be conducted in the interim. I’m guessing that a war would take about six to eight months. In the Persian Gulf War of 1991, hostilities ( not including the invasion of Kuwait ) lasted about six weeks. There will be less of an immediate target this time, so each phase of the operation will take longer.

So, if the Administration is planning the war around the election ( no reason to make me think that they wouldn’t ), expect the bombs to start falling Nov 23 or Nov 30, 2003 ( the Sunday before or after Thanksgiving ) . Until then, there will be huffing and puffing and the House and Senate may blow down, and inspectors will visit Iraq again and again, and France and Germany will convulse in indecision and minor countries will be bribed to get on board the war wagon and the hat will be passed around and again Saudi Arabia and Japan will be paying more than their share.

And, yes, your taxes will go up.

And, yes, a lot of innocents will be killed.

And, yes, America would probably elect Bush again.

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