Today’s Washington Post has two sensible opinion pieces about Iraq. First, a Post editorial decries the ongoing inspections “charade”. The Post notes that it is clear from the Blix Report that Iraq has made false disclosure and has failed fully to cooperate with inspectors. Thus, “the discovery or non-discovery of weapons by inspectors is, under the terms of the U.N. resolution, irrelevant;” a material breach has already occurred. However, the Post argues that, as a practical matter, President Bush must convince the U.S. public and most of our allies that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Blix and his crew are unlikely to produce such evidence. The Post concludes that, if the continuing charade in Baghdad doesn’t flush out the needed evidence, President Bush should present the evidence the U.S. has, and then demand that the U.N. Security Coouncil hold Iraq accountable for the material breaches of Resolution 1441 that are already evident from the Blix Report.
The second piece is by Post columnist Jim Hoagland. Hoagland raises the question of how President Bush would respond if Saddam Hussein were removed by military coup or fled Iraq and replaced by a similar kind of figure. Hoagland hopes that Bush would proceed with military action to ensure that Iraq is disarmed and to promote change in the nature of the Iraqi regime. To the extent that the answer to Hoagland’s question is unclear, Saddam’s removal becomes less likely, as does the possbility that Bush will have to decide what to do in that event. Only by signaling our intentions to tolerate a military coup or similar option would we promote the prospects for such a resolution. And it seems unlikely that we would signal such intentions while working with the opposition forces in Iraq.
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