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Statesman Response #2
Thursday, February 20, 2003
I want to begin this article by thanking the Stony Brook Statesman for finally including editorials on their web site. Now that their commentary is on the web for all to read, I can remark on it, and people will be able to read both sides of the story.
Today, I'll be fisking the most recent editorial, linked above.
What's most interesting about this opening (apart from the author admitting to getting her information from the BBC, not the most unbiased of sources) is that it tries to pin responsibility for an Iraq war only on America. The article doesn't mention Saddam or any of the hundreds of thousands of people he has had murdered.
When President Bush went to the UN last year, he asked for and received a UN resolution (1441). This was passed by the Security Council. Iraq has failed to comply with it by disarming, or even by fully disclosing its weapons programs. Despite this, it looks like the US and UK may be going back to the UN for another resolution, the eighteenth since the Iraq crisis began in 1990.
The President has been giving the UN every opportunity to act. It's up to the Security Council to decide if it is a body that stands behind its words, or a debating society that's worthy of our contempt.
...except for a congressional resolution, a UNSC resolution or two, and to build a coalition of over twenty nations...
Let's see here.
Yes, the US is currently engaged in a year-long rush to war. I don't know where her ten month figure comes from. The first gulf war took under seven months to come to a head.
Oh, I should point out that the rest of the globe was so alienated, they wrote us a letter about it.
A recent (as in, published today) poll in the Daily Telegraph (registration required) reports that 84% of Britons support a war with Iraq. While most of those would like another security council resolution, only 16% say "an attack on Iraq would be unjustified".
To be more accurate, French, German, and Belgian opposition. Most European countries support the US stand, especially those who have most recently suffered under totalitarian rule.
Yes, and that's unfortunate. But how many Iraqi lives will be lost if we do nothing, and allow Saddam's reign of terror to continue? How many will be lost if we wait until after he acquires nuclear weapons, and he then invades his neighbors again?
They're weapons inspectors, not detectives. Their job is to verify Iraq's disarmament, not to disarm Iraq. We tried the latter for years, and the result was total failure.
Resolution 1441 clearly puts the burden of disarmament on Iraq, and Iraq has failed to comply.
France and Germany are proposing to extend the inspection regime. While the inspectors search the country for weapons that Saddam will not exist, the Iraqi people will be forced to suffer at the hand of prolonged sanctions and the secret police.
And it's not even clear that continued inspections of an uncooperative country will accomplish anything. During the last inspection regime, Iraq continued running its biological weapons program despite the presence of inspectors. Why would they desist this time around?
Before the Security Council, Colin Powell presented strong circumstantial evidence of Iraqi deception. There's also the matter of tons of nerve gas Iraq will not account for.
Saddam's regime has, on two occasions, invaded its neighbors. It used chemical weapons against both Iran and the Kurds. During the Gulf War, after invading Kuwait it attacked several other countries in the region with missiles, and was finally defeated by a US-led coalition and forced to sign a cease-fire. That placed the burden on Saddam to disarm, a task he has repeatedly refused to do.
It's interesting to note that the other security council member was left off that list. That's because the UK supports us.
I searched Google for this quote, but found only this article containing it. I also do not recall that quote from any major speech.
The war on terror is bigger than one man. That being said, before the war, Bin Laden once openly ran terrorist training camps. Now, the only evidence we have that he's alive consists of low-quality audio tapes.
The war on terrorism, and against the forces that back it, needs to be fought on many fronts. In this case, we don't have the luxury of waiting.
Does the author believe that allowing Saddam to develop even worse weapons of mass destruction is a more appropriate way to begin the new century?
The US is assembling a coalition. It's hard to call an action unilateral when it's backed by twenty nations, but still some try. We're even trying to secure yet another UN resolution, but countries concerned about their position in the EU or their oil interests in Iraq may block that.
Saddam's regime seems to. Unlike the US, Saddam routinely flouts UN resolutions. That's just one of the smaller crimes in the long litany of offenses he has committed against the international community, his own people, and humanity.
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