A House Divided
Vol: 16 Issue: 26 Sunday, January 26, 2003
Secretary of State Colin Powell, widely seen as the calming ‘voice of reason’ within the Bush administration for his reticence in moving against Saddam Hussein, said yesterday at the Davos Conference that Saddam’s time is up.
Powell said that the United States will oppose giving more time to inspectors. More significantly, Powell said that HE opposes giving more time to inspectors. Powell has to this point, championed the development of a UN coalition and cautioned against going without one. This morning, Powell said in no uncertain terms that the United States will go it alone if necessary.
That sentiment was echoed by Britain’s Tony Blair, who told his government that there is no need to seek UN permission and no need to find the so-called ‘smoking gun’ first.
Like everything that involves the United Nations, what began as a straight-forward, cut-and-dried ultimatum has morphed into a kid’s game of hide and seek. The UN Security Council that started out setting down the terms has allowed Saddam Hussein to dictate UN policy toward Iraq from the moment the inspectors returned to the country following the passage of UN Res 1441.
The Americans ARE coming, together with the British, whether the United Nations agrees or not.
Iraq has been in the driver’s seat from the start. The Security Council demanded a ‘full and complete accounting’ of Iraq’s weapons program as the first step in the inspection process. The second step was to be ‘inspection and verification’.
When South Africa admitted several years ago that it possessed nuclear weapons, it provided the United Nations with a full and complete written declaration of its arsenal.
Granted, the South Africans did so voluntarily, since it decided on its own after the fall of the Botha government that it no longer wanted to BE nuclear.
But the protocol was the same as that envisioned for Iraq. First, the South Africans provided a list, and then UN inspectors came in, list in hand, inspected them to ensure that the list was full and complete and oversaw the destruction/dismantling operation.
Afterwards, it was able to issue a full report to the world body about how many weapons there were, and exactly what happened to them.
That is the way it is supposed to work. No ‘smoking gun’ was ever required. The inspectors are supposed to INSPECT the weapons on the list. Since the Iraqi list was incomplete, the inspection process was immediately null and void. Without weapons to inspect, there is no need for inspection.
Instead, the UN ignored its own mandate and revised it on the fly, turning the inspection regime into a game of ‘catch me if you can’ knowing full well that it could NOT catch Saddam by finding hidden weapons. The country is too big and the inspection team too small.
It would take hundreds of years to search all of Iraq and that search would, of necessity, have to be completed before ‘inspections’ could even BEGIN.
How could there be an inspection without knowing if they were inspecting everything?
For some reason unfathomable to me, the assemblage of the allegedly most brilliant diplomatic minds on Planet Earth are incapable of grasping that simple logic. It IS simple and it IS logical.
Even more unfathomable is the fact that most of the world’s population is no more astute that the UN, since they can’t see it either.
Iraq was in clear material breach of 1441 the moment it submitted an incomplete report, since at that moment, the inspection process became impossible. You can’t inspect what you can’t find.
What is doubly amazing is the difficulty the administration is having in making the case that Iraq is in violation. Recent polls indicate that a majority of Americans believe more time should be allowed for the inspectors to do their ‘work’ despite the fact that nobody can define what the inspector’s ‘work’ would actually be in the absence of having something to inspect.
UN Resolution 1441’s inspection regime wasn’t given a mandate to PROVE Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Nobody doubts that it does. It was supposed to verify that they were destroyed. So what is the nonsense about a smoking gun? Where did that come from?
The Democrats are floating some of the most ridiculous charges ever made by elected federal officials. To listen to them, George Bush is planning a war with Iraq to make his ‘daddy proud of him’ or he is planning a war with Iraq so America can seize control of the Iraqi oilfields.
I submit that being elected President of the United States has already made Bush’s daddy proud of him. Or else the Bushes are the most dysfunctional family since the Osbournes.
Insofar as seizing Iraq’s oil fields — if we don’t, Saddam has already made it clear that he’ll set them afire and begin dumping 1.5 billion gallons of oil per day into the North Arabian Sea. (Environmentalists haven’t yet finished cleaning up the oil slicks that remain from the last Gulf War).
In any case, accepting the argument that the war is about seizing Iraqi oilfields means checking your brain at the door. War costs billions and billions of dollars. Rebuilding what will be destroyed will cost billions and billions more. If we only wanted Iraqi oil, it would be a lot cheaper to buy it. Is this hard to figure out?
It would seem that it is in America’s interest to prevent the environmental catastrophe Saddam’s promised ‘scorched earth’ policy will create.
While on that subject, why would the Democrats NOT want to put America’s interests first? Isn’t that what they were elected to do? Did anybody vote for a Democratic candidate on the platform that the candidate would put United Nations or Iraqi interests ahead of America’s? Is anybody paying attention?
There are two wars going on simultaneously. One is against Saddam Hussein and his regime. Not against Iraq, but just against Saddam. Once Saddam is gone, America will do what it always does after a war.
Not conquer and occupy, but conquer, rebuild and restore order. Then move on.
The other war is against George W. Bush. Not against the United States, since those who have declared war on George Bush are also Americans, albeit Democrats.
But the casualties in both these wars will be Americans. On the battlefield in Iraq. Or, possibly, if we give Saddam time to prepare and deploy his suicide squads, on the streets of America.
There was a time when the United States was UNITED. Politics were secondary to victory.
Nobody was ashamed to admit that when we went to war, it was to win as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Something weird is going on here, and it does not bode well for America’s future. A house divided against itself cannot stand.
That’s not pessimism. Just logic.