Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Give it to Kofi. He'll eat anything!
Today's Wall Street Journal sums it up with Disarming Saddam: Want "weapons inspectors"? Try the 82nd Airborne:
It sure is fascinating how the prospect of being defanged concentrates Saddam Hussein's mind. Having rejected United Nations inspections for years and again only last week, he's now responded to President Bush's determination to disarm him by inviting the U.N. back in. And the world is supposed to take him seriously.

Some people, to be sure, will believe anything--for example, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who hailed the offer as a great victory. And the Russians, who say Saddam's word means the Security Council needn't draw up a new resolution after all. And naturally the French, who want not just one new U.N. resolution but two, drawing things out long enough to let Saddam delay any action past the best invasion time of winter. Sophisticates call all of this a "chess game."

The White House had another, more accurate name for it--"rope-a-dope with the world," spokesman Ari Fleischer put it yesterday. And Mr. Bush urged that "you can't be fooled again." Saddam, he added, "is a man who has delayed, denied, deceived the world. For the sake of liberty and justice for all, the United Nations Security Council must act."

The inspections gambit is an old Saddam reliable, one played to a fare-thee-well in the 1990s (when he also played Mr. Annan like a Stradivarius). That's precisely why Mr. Bush made it clear in his speech last week that the U.N.'s obligation was to enforce all 16 of its resolutions toward Iraq, and within weeks, not months.
Ole Kofi loves to spend months "negotiating" with Saddam on inspections, as he proved throughout the 90's. It must be the excitement of the "give and take" of diplomacy. Or the excitement of a steady UN paycheck.
Those resolutions have from the first demanded not merely inspections but disarmament. That implies the use of force not just to help inspectors knock on doors in Baghdad but to ensure that Iraq's weapons capability is destroyed. Compliance also means a cessation of support for terrorism and an end to the persecution of Iraqi minorities. All of this is what any U.N. resolution has to include if that body wants to be taken seriously by anyone, much less by Saddam.

Anyone who thinks "inspections" by themselves are worth anything should read last week's chilling testimony to the House Armed Services Committee by former U.N. bioweapons inspector Richard Spertzel. He recounted how inspectors "experienced obstructions in Iraq from the beginning" until they were finally ousted in 1998. "Iraq gradually gave up only what Unscom could prove Iraq still retained," he said.

"It appears that most of the proposals for getting inspectors back into Iraq are based on the premise that 'any inspectors are better than none,' " he told Congress. "To be blunt, that is pure rubbish, just an illusion of inspections. Even while Unscom inspectors were still operable, Iraq was constantly trying to restrict monitoring inspectors' activities, curb their access," and so on.
I'm so surprised!

The Journal goes on about Saddam's extensive biowarfare/bioterrorism program including importation of the West Nile virus. The closer:
All of which suggests that there is only one kind of inspection regime that can truly disarm Saddam--the 82nd Airborne, aided by armor and air power. This is the action that Mr. Bush said last week would be "unavoidable" if the U.N. didn't meet its responsibility to enforce the resolutions that Saddam has violated for a decade.

Saddam's latest inspections gambit isn't an attempt to oblige the U.N. It's a ploy to use the U.N. to play for time and blunt the effort by Mr. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to rid the world of his terror-weapon menace. We're glad to see that Mr. Bush is insisting that the U.N. not blink again.
Yep. And for the whiners who think a billet doux from Saddam is worth something, I guess it depends on whether you're short of toilet paper.