ON TO BAGHDAD? By Robert Sauvé Ottawa.

CONCLUSION? France's proposal will drive Saddam Hussein to greater mischief, not greater cooperation.

Why is it that some people who are NOT empowered to make the critical decisions can see the challenge for what it is? Yet; the people in whom we place so much trust seem not to have a clue. Robert Sauvé has it right.

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The recent refusal by the UN Security Council to punish Iraq, coupled with anti-war/anti-American chanting by millions of street protestors worldwide, demonstrates how little has been learned from both 9/11 and Saddam Hussein’s murderous history.

From 9/11, we should have learned that, if a military response to external threats must be preceded by a smoking gun, it may be too late, the terrible deed (9/11, for example) will have been done.

In the post-9/11 world, pre-emptive strikes are clearly imperative. Moreover, Saddam’s record should have warned us that he was, is, and will remain a threat to everyone if he is not struck down.

Thus, it beats me how apparently intelligent people could nevertheless give Saddam the benefit of the doubt, and insist on a smoking gun before chastising him!

This mass self-deception also exposes democracy’s basic problem: What do you do when the majority is wrong?

Do you abide by the wishes of the majority (as in Chamberlain’s England), or, do you support the unpopular minority (as in Churchill’s England) who attempt to do the right thing?

Although I support the minority in the case of Iraq, I am not so sure that the protestors, apart from the mischievous among them, have ever paused to consider the consequences of their wrong-headed posturing.

Consider, for the sake of argument, what we will obtain if these protestors reflect the will of all the people and carry the day.

First, the Security Council will adopt France’s proposal to “double or triple” the number of inspectors in Iraq. Remember that Hans Blix, the Chief UN Inspector, has already told the Council that he needs cooperation from Saddam Hussein, not more inspectors.

Remember also, that, during the 1991-98 inspection period, it was Iraqi defectors who directed UN inspectors to Saddam’s forbidden arsenal of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). And, since Saddam appears to have “dried up” the supply of informed Iraqi defectors, he has consequently neutered the entire UN inspection program.

Moreover, the increased cooperation required by Blix will obviously not be forthcoming if Saddam is shielded from military attack by the mischievous (France, for example) and misguided protestors who bray nonsense.

CONCLUSION? France’s proposal will drive Saddam Hussein to greater mischief, not greater cooperation. And the consequences of this mischief?

Since the UN inspectors will come up empty, some of us will conclude that Saddam has concealed his WMDs too well to be detected; others will conclude that Saddam in fact has no WMDs to be discovered! I would argue that the historical record supports the first conclusion even though the Security Council and the protesting hordes will probably opt for the second.

If the second conclusion wins out, Saddam will complete the development of his WMDs, and set out to throw his weight around. For example, since Saddam and al-Qaeda have the USA as a common enemy, it is obvious that a miniaturized version of one of Saddam’s WMDs will eventually find its way to al-Qaeda (and then to London or Detroit?).

Saddam will also exert pressure on his oil-producing neighbours to either restrict supplies to the West, or increase oil prices substantially, or both. In the past, when OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) attempted to squeeze the West by raising prices substantially, Iraq was the main proponent of this tactic.

However, OPEC price increases were moderated only because Saudi Arabia threatened to drive prices down by flooding the market with oil from its abundant reserves. Can you see the Saudis exercising such restraint in the future with Saddam wagging his nuclear finger at them? Especially since the Saudis have asked their American protectors to leave Saudi Arabia!

This Iraqi-inspired price gouge will clearly have an adverse impact on many economies, especially those in the Third World, Japan and Western Europe! Even though North America is better able than Western Europe to shelter itself from the full effect of Saddam’s oil weapon, gasoline prices in Canada are likely to more than double to about $2 per litre!

And, we must not forget Iran, Iraq’s mortal enemy. Because of Iraq’s WMDs, Iran will be driven, in self-defence, to develop its own WMDs. And then, of course, there is Israel with its nuclear arsenal.

Since Israeli war planes destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in the early 1980s, I cannot imagine Israel sitting idly by this time as its enemies arm themselves (and Arafat?) with WMDs.

This time, however, Israel could very well neutralize Iran’s and Iraq’s WMDs with a nuclear attack. This, of course, would draw the USA into a nuclear conflict in the Middle East. And wouldn’t that be a fine kettle of fish!

On balance, it seems to me that a direct attack on Iraq today by the USA and its allies is a better option. The UN Security Council and the protesting hordes are simply wrong and must be ignored. ON TO BAGDAD!

Robert Sauvé

Ottawa

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