Tomorrow’s Washington Post appears to confirm that “the Bush administration will acquiesce to continued U.N. inspections [in Iraq], at least for the next several weeks.” According to the Post, the Administration’s willingness is based in part on the fact that it will, in any event, take several more weeks to prepare for military action. The Administration’s stance is being presented as consistent with past policy; a source is quoted as saying: “We never said we would cut off inspections on Jan. 27. . . . We also have never shown any interest in allowing them to go on for four or five months.”
The Post also claims that “British and U.S. officials believe it will become increasingly apparent to a council majority that, even without the discovery of an Iraqi ‘smoking gun,’ continued inspections will serve no useful disarmament purpose.” Why that should be any more apparent than it already is after a few more weeks (or months) of inspections is beyond me.
It thus appears that we will endure more weeks or months of inaction, during which America’s opponents in the Arab world, Europe and the Democratic Party continue to chip away at the consensus that once supported decisive action against terrorism. As President Bush once memorably said–and, I hope, has not now forgotten–time is not on our side.
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