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I know the letter-to-editor lists have not been activated yet, but I just want to draw your attention to the editorial of today’s issue of the Washington Times. Address of page is:
I include it below but first I would like to comment on it. Although they have a valid point in supporting the IO (Iraqi Opposition), and in having effective inspection teams back, this support MUST not be linked to the lifting of the civil sanctions on Iraq. After all, the United States government has been officially supporting the IO for years now and the inspections teams and Saddam had played cat and mouse for years; yet the suffering of the civilians in Iraq had not been alleviated.
My point is that these three issues (support of the IO, and inspection teams on one hand and lifting of civil sanctions on the other) should not be linked to each other. Each is a valid point but I do not see how one can positively affect the other. What do you think?
Here is the article:
EDITORIAL • February 8, 2000
Saddam and friends
Saddam has also rebuilt military and industrial sites damaged in 1998 by U.S.
and British air strikes, the article said.
And while Mr. Hussein has grown cagier and stronger, the U.N. Security
Council's resolve to contain his power has progressively weakened. It has become
increasingly clear the United States must move to aid the Iraqi opposition to
depose the dictator and lay the groundwork for a peaceful post-Saddam
government. Congress is ready for such action. The White House, despite its
rhetoric, has repeatedly demonstrated it prefers complacency.
Administration officials say they remain determined to contain Saddam
militarily, will maintain the embargo and will support the Iraqi opposition.
There is little evidence to back up these assertions, though. In this election
year, the United States has failed to respond to Iraq's rebuilding of previously
bombed military and industrial installations.
The White House's support of the Iraqi opposition, meanwhile, is purely
rhetorical. In October 1998, Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act, which made
Saddam's removal from power a U.S. priority and earmarked $97 million to help
the Iraqi opposition depose him. Last year, the Clinton administration released
only about $5 million of the $97 million. About $2 million was budgeted for
office space and equipment and the remaining $3 million to provide
communications and public relations training to the opposition. It is difficult
to imagine how the opposition might mount a credible resistance to Saddam with
PR training and fax machines. The White House's claim that it supports the Iraqi
opposition is therefore laughable.
Efforts to reconvene weapons inspections, meanwhile, are off to an
inauspicious start. France, China and Russia opposed the reappointment of
original chief inspector Rolf Ekeus, who had the support of Britain, the United
States and even U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Instead, the five permanent
members of the U.N. Security Council reached a compromise and appointed the
diplomatic but guileless Hans Blix, formerly the leader of the International
Atomic Energy Agency.
France, China and Russia have shown they won't endorse a credible inspection
regime in Iraq. As reported by this paper's Bill Gertz, China and Russia are
continuing to provide nuclear and missile technology and goods to rogue nations,
such as Iran and North Korea. It is no wonder, therefore, that these countries
also fail to back comprehensive inspections in Iraq.
The United States must forge an Iraq policy independent of this undistinguished company. Saddam is too brutal and devious to be contained through sanctions alone. His position in power undermines security in the region and is causing unspeakable suffering to the Iraqi people. The White House shouldn't wait. It must aid the Iraqi opposition in deposing the dictator, as Congress has proposed. In the meantime, Saddam will continue to rebuild his installations, skirt the embargo and torment his people.