Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution provides the liberal perspective on the U.N. resolution on Iraq. Essentially, he is delighted because he thinks, as I do, that with the inspection regime in place Bush will either not go to war or will go to war with less support than he otherwise would have had. Here’s O’Hanlon’s key sentence is: “Once they begin, successful inspections will develop a momentum of their own — especially if they can provide good assurances that Iraq’s nuclear program, the hardest to hide from inspectors, has been arrested.” Apparently, O’Hanlon believes that inspections can be “successful” whether or not they provide good assurances that Iraq’s nuclear program has been arrested. For liberals like O’Hanlon, the important thing is that the inspection “process” (or in other contexts, the “peace process”) takes on a life of its own and becomes a substitute for action. Whether or not the process actually accomplishes its stated purpose is secondary.
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