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[casi] Charley Reese / Bush Won't Take Yes For An Answer


Bush Won't Take Yes For An Answer
Wednesday, October 9, 2002

If anyone doubted George Bush's intention to go to war with Iraq, that doubt
should have been removed when the United States said it would "thwart" the return
of the arms inspectors to Iraq until it got a new Security Council resolution.

Of course, the resolution the United States wants is just a rubber stamp to
start the war. It is designed to force the Iraqis to reject it and thus provide
the international cover that Bush wants for his invasion.

The meeting between the Iraqis and the arms inspectors in Vienna was quite
successful. The Iraqis agreed to everything. They brought four years' worth of
records and turned them over to the United Nations.

It's a shame that so many of the television commentators are so ignorant that
they all, with only one exception that I saw, misreported the meeting in Vienna.
They kept saying the Iraqis kept the presidential palaces "off-limits." That is
factually incorrect.

Hans Blix, the head of the U.N. inspectors, has made it quite clear that his
organization works for the Security Council, and since the only resolutions that
exist are old ones, those are the ones he must be bound by. Among those is a
Memorandum of Understanding signed in 1998 by the secretary general and Saddam
Hussein. It says simply that before the presidential palaces are inspected, Iraq
must be given 24 hours' notice, and a diplomat must accompany the inspectors. That
certainly doesn't mean that they are off-limits. They are all available for
inspection under the conditions the United Nations agreed to.

So, as things stand now, the inspectors can go back, all the housekeeping
details have been agreed to, and they can start their work by Oct. 15. The Iraqis,
so far as we know, will honor their agreement in regard to unconditional access.
If the president had been sincere about his concern for weapons of mass
destruction, he'd presumably be happy. Instead, he intends, if he can, to wreck
the present agreements and force through an insulting, war-provoking resolution.
He wants war, not inspections, and destruction, not disarmament.

By the way, another point of ignorance on the part of TV smiley faces: A
couple of them seemed to think that if the president is opposed to the agreement,
then it is null and void. Hans Blix works for the Security Council, not for George
Bush or Colin Powell. Unless the Security Council tells him differently, he's
sending his inspectors to Iraq whether Mr. Bush likes it or not.

So what is the United States going to do? Send F-15s to shoot down the U.N.
plane? Without a majority on the Security Council, the United States cannot stop
the inspectors from returning to Iraq. Maybe it will get a resolution, and maybe
it won't. I hope the United States doesn't.

For too long the United States has bullied the United Nations, using blackmail
and threats in order to win votes from little countries. We have used the United
Nations when it suited our purposes and ignored it when it didn't. I, too, hope
the United Nations shows some backbone and tells Mr. Bush: "Either obey
international law or take a hike. And by the way, pay your back dues on the way

It's a fact that there has been no evidence produced that Iraq has any weapons
of mass destruction. The worst-case scenario for Iraq is if it's really true that
it doesn't have any. You can't prove a negative. If Iraq has some, it can produce
them; if it does not, Iraq is out of luck. Bush and his warmongers will never
believe either the Iraqis or the inspectors. Bush wants his war, and he will have
it, come what may.

 2002 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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