1. Yes, it certainly could have been reached in my opinion. Saddam's game playing and our refusal to play ball made Bush look an insatiable madman to anyone that is capable of feeling boredom or impatience. Even I got sick of hearing about Saddam from GWB. But Bush was not insatiable rather he was fiercely persistent. For that, he has my respect and admiration. In the past, when Saddam played this game, the world sort of said "f' it" after a while, "I have other shit to worry about." Only Tony Blair really kept an eye on Saddam from I what I hear.
If Saddam actually (key word) handed over and Blix verified tons of the real bad stuff (not missles that exceed UN limits by 12 miles or whatever) like VX
, sarin, botulinum, and anthrax, I would bet money that the escalation would have stopped. If we had actual unconditional disarmament, the sanctions would have been lifted and Iraq (sans Saddam probably) would have been open for business. They could sell oil and natural gas and buy Starbucks and Blockbuster memberships.
But I think that the Bush Administration reasonably concluded that Saddam would never disarm...thus the goal became regime change. Given the importance of not showing any weakness in the tribal society that Saddam hails from, there was no way he could do it and not be overthrown.
2. I think that I might have answered two. I would bet we would have rolled it back signficantly but kept forces in Kuwait around...just in case. I do not think that we would or should ever trust Saddam completely even if he did surrender his WMD. That is being prudent in my opinion.
3. Assuming that Saddam grabbed the kids and left, (this is a huge and almost absurd assumption) how would the UN secure Iraq? Walking away in this situation could be really bad because of the uncertainty post Saddam. There is no one esle around but us to go in and make sure that the guy passed over for two promotions doesn't just step in and take over. Saddam's police state apparatus would not just disappear. The WMD would still be a threat. I see nothing ominous by the fact that the US would not just disappear from the scene.
Look, I consider myself a realist. I realize that guys like Perle and probably Cheney are dirty. But I do not see a war for oil or vindication for dad here. I understand that you hold very cynical views and that's just the way you view events. But I enjoy post and replies regardless. Good discussing with you.