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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'No good options'

Describing three scenarios that might keep President Bush awake at night, Mitchell M. Zais said of the war with Iraq, “The sad truth is: There were no good options.” The scenarios: 20 suitcases loaded with a deadly nerve gas exploding in a U.S. city’s subway, a truck driving from Lower Manhattan to Upper Manhattan discharging 1,000 pounds of anthrax spores, or a truck loaded with dirty bomb material driven to within 200 yards of the Pentagon and set off.

“Those scenarios are easy [to pull off] compared with what happened Sept. 11, 2001,” said Zais, a retired U.S. Army brigadier general who was, among other things, commanding general of U.S. and Allied forces in Kuwait. He now serves as president of Newberry [S.C.] College.

Zais said Bush had two choices, neither of which was good—pre-emptive action now or wait and respond when something disastrous occurs, whether in six months, two years or whenever. “Either choice entailed risk and uncertainty,” he said. America hasn’t the resources or the will to be “the world’s police,” he added, but it must respond to threats to its well-being.


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