Monday, December 02, 2002

What does he want or what does he know?

Yahoo reports Bush: Iraq Inspections 'Not Encouraging':

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush warned Iraq's Saddam Hussein that he has until a Sunday deadline to prove he is serious about averting war. After the first week of United Nations weapons inspections, Bush said: "So far, the signs are not encouraging."

"The inspectors are not in Iraq to play hide-and- seek with Mr. Saddam Hussein," the president said Monday in a get-tough speech at the Pentagon, his first extensive comment on the United Nations weapons inspections since they got underway last week.

What does Bush want? So far there has been superb Iraqi compliance with the new UN mandates, even in the opinions of the inspectors themselves. Of course the Iraqi military continues to shoot at American and British planes patrolling the no-fly zones, but suppose for just a second that Iraq really has been free of weapons of mass destruction for all these years. Suppose that these sanctions have been used by the American government for leverage for cheaper oil prices. One could sympathize with Iraq's actions then. If Canada claimed that the US had illegal biological weapons, and imposed a no-fly zone over Maine, while building up troops on New Foundland, the US would attempt to shoot down the Canadian planes, no question.

Just because the accused nation is the weaker nation now in the real world, it shouldn't change the fairness of everyone's actions. Iraq is innocent until proven guilty and thus far Iraq has actually provided significant evidence that it is innocent. Bush says that Iraq's compliance is "not encouraging"--what does he want? Either Bush is hiding relevant knowledge from us, or he wants war. Either possibility is disturbing.

Even if Iraq turns out to be lying about its termination of all weapons of mass destruction, Bush had better provide some justification now as to why Iraq's compliance with the new UN mandates is "not encouraging."


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