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War-or Folly-in the Gulf?
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Washington, D.C.
Author: Harwood, Richard
Date: Sep 2, 1990
Start Page: b.06
Section: OP/ED

The first substantive challenge to these assertions was made last week, not by the relentless inquisitors of the press, but by an energy economist, David R. Henderson, who served on President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers. If Iraq, he wrote in The Wall Street Journal, were to take over the oil fields of Saudi Arabia and the emirates as well as those of Kuwait, the economic impact would be minor: "The annual cost to the U.S. economy of doing nothing in the Gulf would be less than half of 1 percent of gross national product. The vaunted oil weapon is a dud." That is less than the present cost of doing something.

"The aim of American policy must be to deal a crippling blow to Iraq's military menace," says The New Republic. The National Review concurs: "Should the Iraqis give us the occasion, American air power should (as it can) reduce the Iraqi air force to twisted metal, Iraqi military factories to smoking rubble and Iraqi tank parts to scrap yards. We would be wise to be quick on the draw."

New York Times editorials scold Mr. [William Safire], Mr. [A. M. Rosenthal] and people of that ilk as "Hasty Hawks" but essentially agree with their central point: the destruction of Iraq's military potential is essential to our national interest. The Post reasons editorially along the same lines: "An enduring result cannot be achieved until the Iraqi threat is ... brought to an end. {That} threat consists of [Saddam Hussein] and his huge army and his gas-missile-nuclear complex."

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