January 23, 2003

Another UN Deadline

This has been a week of making ready…. Next Monday is the deadline for the United Nations weapons inspectors to report on Iraq’s level of compliance with disarmament agreements. Expect it to be inconclusive. Next Tuesday, President George Bush will deliver his State of the Union address. Expect it to be conclusive. The President will offer a strong defense of his “regime change” policy in Iraq and his national security strategy at home, and a stirring defense of his domestic, economic and social agenda. (While those last two items are, in our opinion, extra-constitutional, we believe the President will endeavor to correct past encroachments while tossing out a few bones to satiate the moderate-Left.)

On Iraq, the Bush administration was manning all fronts this week. “He poses a serious threat to America and our friends and allies … and one way or another, he will be disarmed,” Mr. Bush pledged. The President also had stern words of warning for any Iraqi military personnel who use WMDs against the U.S. and our allies: “Should any Iraqi officer or soldier receive an order from Saddam Hussein or his sons or any of the killers who occupy the high levels of their government, my advice is, ‘Don’t follow that order’,” Mr. Bush said. “Because if you choose to do so, when Iraq is liberated, you will be treated, tried and prosecuted as a war criminal.” When – not if – Iraq is liberated.

Team Bush has produced a new report, titled “Apparatus of Lies: Saddam’s Disinformation and Propaganda, 1990-2003,” which details the Iraqi regime’s noncompliance with its prior WMD agreements, together with its abuse of the Iraqi people. The President’s preference, of course, would be for the UN to recognize the need for quick self-defensive action. But the indications now are that we will lead a “coalition of the willing” if indeed the UN proves once again to live up to its earned reputation of the “United Nothings.”

Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking to the UN Security Council, withdrew from his usual (and useful) course of moderation, and employed the full rhetoric of the Bush doctrine against appeasement and inaction. Reminding the council members of their unanimous November 8 Resolution 1441 giving Saddam Hussein “a last chance” to disarm, Powell warned, “We must not shrink from our duties and our responsibilities when the material comes before us next week. We cannot fail to take the action that may be necessary because we are afraid of what others might do. We cannot be shocked into impotence because we are afraid of the difficult choices that are ahead of us.” Powell added, “If the United Nations is going to be relevant, it has to take a firm stand.” (Shades of pure Cheney!)

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld added, “No one wants war, but, as the President has said, Iraq will be disarmed, and the decision between war and peace will be made not in Washington, DC, and not in the United Nations in New York, but rather in Baghdad. It is their decision. Either they will cooperate or they won’t, and it will not take months to determine whether or not they are cooperating.”

Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared of our U.S. fighting forces, “We’re ready now. The Iraqi regime should have no doubt.”

Of course, France and Germany are dragging their feet – both nations host large numbers of Islamic extremists – and the French hold billions of dollars in IOUs from Saddam’s Ba'athist regime. “War is not inevitable,” French President Jacques Chirac claimed, and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder echoed that sentiment, stating that France and Germany “are entirely in agreement to harmonize our positions more closely in favor of a peaceful solution of the Iraqi crisis.”

Memo to President Bush: Resolute men will always have to confront the Neville Chamberlains of the world and the dangerous courses of inaction they would have others pursue…and subsequently dismiss them.

In other news…

On the “Axis of Evil” front in Asia, Undersecretary of State John Bolton, the head U.S. arms control diplomat, discussing measures to rebuke North Korea for resuming its deadly armament and accompanying recision of commitments for nonproliferation, said, “It’s not a question of ‘if’ it goes before the Security Council, it’s only a matter of time.” But as far as “a matter of time” goes, North Korea claims its plutonium-based nuclear reactor could be back up and running “within weeks.”

This illustrates the real lesson that links the situations in North Korea and Iraq: The “go slow” crowd is counseling the ludicrous – that we commit the same mistake now in regard to Iraq as was made in the 1994 “Agreed Framework” negotiations with North Korea … appeasement, dithering, and delaying the inevitable until the troublemaker nation possesses an even deadlier weapons capability. If the U.S. had had a wiser administration in place in 1994 than the Clintonistas, the probablity is high that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile development programs would not now be so problematic and threatening. And if the UN naysayers like France and Germany had not been emboldened by their involvement in last year’s approval for the UN weapons inspection process, these would-be protectors of Saddam’s tyrannical regime would not now be attempting to provide him an “escape valve” from the increasing pressures being levied to help free the Iraqi people.

Quote of the week…

“The choice we face today is not between war and peace. Rather it is between war now – under circumstances and timing of our choosing – and war later, when conditions may be far more favorable to Saddam Hussein.” –Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.

Open Query…

“How much time do we need to see clearly that he’s not disarming? It is clear to me now that he is not disarming. He is delaying; he’s deceiving; he’s asking for time; he’s playing hide-and-seek with inspectors. …It’s clear to me now that he is not disarming.” –George W. Bush

Contrary to Leftmedia spin, it is Iraq’s responsibility – not that of the UN inspectors – to provide verifiable proof that disarmament has taken place.

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