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Jack Straw at the UN

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Everyone today has probably seen Colin Powell's presentation to the UN, in which he lays out a damning case against the Iraqi regime. But I don't think that as many people have seen the statement by Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary.

This Council will have further reports from the inspectors on Friday week 14 February. If non-cooperation continues, this Council must meet its responsibilities.

I think that this is the setting of a timetable. It makes sense that a country other than the US would make the threat, as it emphasizes that the action we will take will be multilateral.

I don't think the attack will take place on that day. I think it will probably take place in early March, but I've been quite wrong about this before.

Finally, just to push the point home, Secretary Straw says the following:

This is a moment of choice for Saddam and for the Iraqi regime. But it is also a moment of choice for this institution, the United Nations. The UN's pre-war predecessor, the League of Nations, had the same fine ideals as the UN. But the League failed because it could not create actions from its words; it could not back diplomacy with the credible threat and where necessary the use of force; so small evils went unchecked, tyrants became emboldened, then greater evils were unleashed. At each stage good men said wait; the evil is not big enough to challenge: then before their eyes, the evil became too big to challenge. We had slipped slowly down a slope, never noticing how far we had gone until it was too late. We owe it to our history as well as to our future not to make the same mistake again.

- Tom | permalink | changelog | Last updated: 2003-02-05 16:50

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