Mark Alexander / January 17, 2003

Buying Time for a Coalition

This was a week of testing whether nations and international organizations would live up to their charters and agreements. Others may have forgotten the real purpose of the United Nations weapons inspections, but as readers of The Federalist, you are well aware that this is the last chance for Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein to prove he has honored his disarmament commitments and surrendered his weapons of mass destruction, as well as his programs to continue developing such deadly offenses.

President George W. Bush said of the ongoing searches in Iraq, “Time is running out on Saddam Hussein. He must disarm.” Meanwhile, deployment orders and deployments of our fighting forces have sped up, and sufficient troop strength to back up the president’s decision, should this come to military blows, will soon be on the scene arrayed around Iraq.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made the case why the UN inspections regimen by itself is a trap and a snare: “After United Nations inspectors briefed the Security Council last week, a number of the observers seemed to seize on the inspectors’ statement that they found ‘no smoking gun’ as yet. … Another way to look at it is this; that the fact that the inspectors have not yet come up with new evidence of Iraq’s WMD program could be evidence in and of itself of Iraq’s non-cooperation. We do know that Iraq has designed its programs in a way that they can proceed in an environment of inspections, and that they are skilled at denial and deception.”

Much to the disappointment of Saddam’s henchmen and his peacenik collaborators in the West, some smoke did appear Thursday, when inspectors uncovered a cache of chemical weapon warheads at an ammunition storage site south of Baghdad. Saddam’s collaborators claim it is only a small violation and does not constitute a “material breach” of the declaration Iraq filed with the UN last month. We suppose they would argue that a few kilos of weapons grade uranium, about the size of a grapefruit, would also constitute a “small violation.”

Of course, had their Leftist mentor Bill Clinton authorized the elimination of Iraq’s asymmetric warfare puppet, Osama bin Laden, after he was tied to the first WTC attack in 1993, or lifted a hand to back northern Iraq’s revolutionary forces in 1994, we would not be preparing for symmetric warfare with Iraq now. Regarding facing armies, our analysts still estimate that the occupation of Iraq will be necessary to provide for transition to a more democratic government, but that there is a high probability that Saddam will take up residence in Algiers – if a deal can be struck with the Israelis not to take Saddam down for the long count after he arrives in Algeria.

In anticipation of the UN weapons inspectors’ January 27 deadline, a resolute British P.M., Tony Blair, announced the United Kingdom would not allow a UN veto of military action against Iraq to stand in the way of disarming Saddam Hussein. To the dismay of many in his Leftist Labour Party, Mr. Blair acknowledged that Britain’s “preference” is for a separate UN resolution authorizing military action, but he would not allow “an unreasonable or unilateral block” on war from the UN Security Council. “We cannot be in a position where we are confined in that way,” Mr. Blair concluded.

In other news…

And speaking of those “skilled at denial and deception,” North Korean officials this week heightened pressures for appeasement of the crash restart of their nuclear weapons research and development. Capping off last week’s announcement that North Korea was withdrawing from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the rogue nation hinted strongly at a quick renewal of its ballistic missile testing, then rebuffed offers to begin talks over what benefits might come after North Korea’s proven disarmament.

Sen. John W. Warner, incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, put current events in stark perspective: “This situation with regard to Iraq, to North Korea, is among the most serious that I have ever witnessed in my over-30 years in public service in national defense.”

However, President Bush is determined to take on these serious problems in priority order, emphasizing diplomacy with North Korea … for the time being, while Iraq is a more pressing danger. Said the president, “I view this as an opportunity to bind together nations in the neighborhood and around the world to make it clear to the North Koreans that we expect this issue to be resolved peacefully and we expect them to disarm – we expect them not to develop nuclear weapons.”

As for those still wondering why North Korea is not a greater threat than Iraq, while it has diverted almost all of its economy to produce a military that looks formidable on paper, the North has so beggared its people that it lacks not only the resources but the political will necessary to wage a military campaign. The situation is so desperate that the regime of Kim Jong Il and his twenty cronies in North Korea’s Political Bureau is on the verge of collapse. It is far more reasonable to see North Korea’s recent aggressive posture for just what the North says it is, an attempt to extort food with a threat of military force. Unlike Iraq, whose oil riches are beyond calculation and whose surrogate warriors are well armed, North Korea’s military threat is an empty one.

Quote of the week…

“Freedom is no policy for the timid. And my plaintive plea to all my colleagues that remain in this government as I leave it is, for your sake, for my sake, for heaven’s sake, don’t give up on freedom!” –Rep. Dick Armey

On cross-examination…

“We are trying to stop Iraq’s madman from acquiring the Bomb. North Korea already has one.” –Michael Kelly

Open Query…

“Will ‘diversity’ – in plain language, race and gender preferences underpinned by a multiculturalism that elevates ethnic identities over a common American identity – become America’s new civic religion? Or will it collapse under the increasing weight of its own contradictions?” –John O'Sullivan

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