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>From the pages of the International Herald Tribune:


Paris, Thursday, August 27, 1998
Forget the 'Severest Consequences' for Saddam

By Charles Krauthammer The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - Last week's air raids in Afghanistan and Sudan served to
compensate for, and deflect attention from, the total surrender of the
Clinton administration in the face of Saddam Hussein's determination to
rebuild his weapons of mass destruction.
On the same day the Tomahawk missiles went out, the United States was
forced to support a humiliating Security Council statement that pitiably
called Saddam's expulsion of inspectors ''totally unacceptable'' while
dropping previous warnings of ''severest consequences.''

Having announced to the world that he would no longer send bombers out
after Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, Bill Clinton sent missiles out
after Osama bin Laden.

Of course, the bin Laden raid is fully justified on its own terms. When
American embassies are attacked by a terrorist group openly declaring war
on the United States, retaliation is to be expected.

But for six years this administration has pursued a foreign policy of
romantic internationalism, trusting American security to treaties whose
purpose is to abolish all the nastiness of the world - chemical weapons,
nuclear tests, global warming - with the stroke of a pen.

Its only activism has been the injection of American force into two areas
posing no threat whatsoever to the United States (Bosnia and Haiti) and
deepening U.S. involvement in a third sideshow (Somalia). All the while,
it abjured any significant use of force against those posing real and
deadly threats to the United States: North Korea, Iraq, Iran, terrorists.

In 1994, North Korea broke the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and
embarked on nuke building. How did Mr. Clinton react? By agreeing to
supply it indefinitely with free oil while the United States and allies
build for it two (ostensibly safer) $5 billion nuclear reactors in return
for a promise to freeze its weapons program.

It turns out that while taking this gigantic bribe North Korea was
building a huge new nuclear facility inside a mountain.

Add now Iraq. In a televised address to the nation in February, Mr.
Clinton starkly declared what was at stake if Saddam were allowed to build
his weapons of mass destruction: ''If we fail to respond today, Saddam and
all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow by
the knowledge that they can act with impunity.''

That was just six months ago. And now? The speech is retracted; the policy
of forcing inspections is dead. Saddam can build his chemical, biological
and nuclear arsenal unmolested.

In the face of these retreats, Mr. Clinton could not remain motionless
after the bombing of two American embassies without forfeiting what little
international credibility he had left. The administration itself
inadvertently made the connection to Iraq when it justified the attack on
the Sudanese factory with the claim that senior Iraqi scientists were
helping to make VX there.

Well, senior Iraqi scientists are making a lot more VX in Iraq. But Mr.
Clinton has given up the idea of raising his hand against these plants, so
Sudan's served as a useful proxy.

Even a proxy attack can be useful if it signals a turning point in Clinton
foreign policy, a decision to no longer permit America to be the doormat
of tyrants. More likely, however, the bin Laden raids will turn out to be
a spasm, a solitary and desperate attempt to divert attention from the
foreign policy of least resistance, and failure.


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