(Originally posted to Politics at EraBlog on Fri, 14 Feb 2003 22:46:43 GMT)
Hans Blix presented his latest report to the UN this morning. No surprises. Saddam is not being particularly cooperative, there are some "proscribed" missiles, but they’ve found no evidence that Iraq is hiding prohibited weapons. All the players held fast to their positions.
Colin Powell hammered home the point that if Saddam had nothing to hide, the Iraqi scientists would be lining up to be interviewed by UN inspectors. True, but that’s still not a case for going to war.
In today’s New York Times, a new poll shows most want war delay. 59% of Americans favor giving the inspectors more time and 56% want Bush to wait for UN approval. Three-quarters see war as inevitable, and two-thirds approve of war as an option.
I think the war is inevitable. Bush won’t back down and Saddam is unlikely to. Inspections are containing Iraq, and I see no need to attack. About the only thing that would change my mind is clear, unequivocal proof that Saddam was behind the September 11th attacks. So far, that proof has circumstantial, fragmentary, and unconvincing. Tuesday’s tape from Osama bin Laden showed that Al-Qaida has little liking for Saddam.
The Bush Administration seems more interested in using nukes in Iraq than it is in planning how to maintain a long occupation. We liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban and broke up the Al-Qaida training grounds, but we’ve not seen it through. Afghanistan is a mess, the opium trade is flourishing again, and was omitted from the US aid budget! An attack on Iraq will further inflame disempowered young Muslims who, rightly, complain that too little is being done by the US to make peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Much of the world thinks that Al-Qaida is a bigger threat than Saddam. Others believe that Bush is a bigger threat to world peace than Saddam: certainly the Administration’s alliance wrecking in NATO and the UN tends to supports that. (It’s hard to believe how quickly Bush managed to dissipate the good will that poured out to America after 9/11.) And the crisis in North Korea, which is being handled so differently, is perhaps most worrying of all.
The US economy is in a shambles, with deficits soaring. The War on Terrorism is going nowhere. The Department of Homeland Security is raising public anxiety by going to Threat Level Orange, but can offer nothing better than suggesting that we seal off windows with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Ashcroft is cooking up a draconian sequel to the Patriot Act.
Meanwhile, I intend to go to the Seattle Peace March and Rally tomorrow. It’s important to demonstrate to Bush, the US public, and the world that a lot of Americans oppose Bush’s warmongering.