U.S. Military Buildup

LIANE HANSON: Michael O’Hanlon is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution here in Washington and a regular guest on our program. He’s in the studio today. Good morning Michael.

Just as we heard a few minutes ago, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld insisting that large troop and equipment buildups around Iraq do not mean that war is inevitable. But how likely is the administration to back down from an armed conflict, when as many as 150,000 troops are expected in this region by middle of next month, mid-February?

MICHAEL O’HANLON: The administration clearly won’t back down. It has made up its mind and Rumsfeld of course is always very careful about his choice of words. Of course war is not inevitable. Saddam could die between now and mid-February or one of his generals could depose him. But short of something like that, there is going to be war. You don’t send 150,000 people halfway around the world just to do diplomacy. Or force of diplomacy. They’ve made up their mind.

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