Jewish World Review Sept. 19, 2002 / 13 Tishrei, 5763

Edward I. Koch

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Consumer Reports

Don't be fooled by Saddam | President George W. Bush has demonstrated extraordinary leadership on Iraq and international terrorism. Following 9-11, he has repeatedly said to the world, "You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror." He has demanded that Iraq fulfill its commitment to eliminate all of its weapons of mass destruction, as it agreed to do unconditionally at the end of the Gulf War. The President has made it clear that if we have to go it alone on either or both of these issues, we will.

Most experts agree Iraq has stockpiled at least two weapons of mass destruction: poison gas and biological agents such as anthrax and smallpox. Nor is there any doubt that Saddam Hussein is prone to using these weapons, having unleashed nerve gas against Iraqi Kurds and against Iranian troops during the eight-year war with Iran. Many experts believe Iraq can create a nuclear bomb within a few months if it could manufacture its own nuclear material, or within two to ten years if it needs to acquire nuclear fuel from foreign sources.

Excepting Britain, our Gulf War allies have called President Bush to task for threatening war against Iraq for its refusal to allow "unfettered access" to U.N. weapons inspectors. In many countries, mobs have taken to the streets in protest against the U.S. A best-selling book in France claims that the U.S. government, not al Qaeda terrorists, destroyed the Twin Towers: a view advanced by many Muslims in addition to their blaming the Jews.

Recently, on the Arab television station, Al Jazeera, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda spokesmen took public credit for the destruction of the Twin Towers describing in detail how that terrorist act was planned and executed. Will those same conspiracy theorists who have denounced the U.S. now admit that they libeled our country? While many continue to castigate the U.S. for Bush's statements that the U.S. is prepared to take a preemptive strike against Iraq, will they also denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin who last week accused the Georgians of a "grievous failure to comply with a resolution to combat international terrorism" and, according to The New York Times, stated that "Russia would attack unless Georgia did more to root out what he called terrorists on Georgian territory?" Hardly likely.

Until recently, the U.S.'s chief critic in Europe was France led by President Jacques Chirac. Chirac recently retreated from total opposition to U.S. policy on Iraq and has said that France will support the U.S. if Iraq flaunts a new the UN Security Council resolution demanding Iraqi compliance with weapons inspections.

Germany's Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder - running for reelection in a tight race - is now our chief critic. Why? Because he needs the political support of Social Democrats and their Communist allies who are vehemently contemptuous of American economic and military power. Tony Blair, facing similar radical forces in his own Labor Party, stared them down.

Who is the winner on the world stage? George W. Bush. The President is standing resolute and unafraid before the world and in all probability has won over the other members of the UN Security Council. We'll see when they vote on an Iraqi resolution. Knowing he is prepared to embark on a war against Iraq without them, many are now scrambling to be on America's side.

Before Congress adjourns, it will undoubtedly vote on a resolution authorizing the President to take military action against Iraq if Saddam Hussein fails to carry out all of the commitments he made after losing the Gulf War. In 1991, only one Democratic senator north of the Mason-Dixon line - Joe Lieberman - voted for the Gulf War resolution. If that happens again, the Democratic Party will be permanently damaged.

Now, at the eleventh hour, with the world community roused from its slumber by President Bush's eloquent speech at the UN, Saddam Hussein finally seems to have realized his devious game is up. With war so imminent, Saddam suddenly invited the UN inspectors to return. The Security Council should not be fooled. They must adopt a resolution authorizing military action if Iraq fails to meet all the obligations it has avoided for the last 11 years. To do otherwise would be repeating the bitter lessons of Munich, when England and France accepted Hitler's cynical offer of "peace in our time." A year later they learned how mistaken they were.

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JWR contributor Edward I. Koch, the former mayor of New York, can be heard on Bloomberg Radio (WBBR 1130 AM) every Saturday from 9-10 am. Comment by clicking here.

09/05/02: Necessary or not, getting congressional approval for war is common-sense
08/28/02: In defense of terrorism
08/22/02: Saddam Hussein is extremely popular in "Arab street," so why attack him?
08/15/02: My potpourri
08/09/02: Traitors: Journalistic and 'patriotic'
07/31/02: Euros should spend their time analyzing their own country's wartime actions
07/25/02: I may know next to nothing about the stock market, but I'm not getting out
07/18/02: Dems should stop trying to 'Whitewater' the President
07/11/02: Real Americans and the Islamic threat

© 2002, Edward I. Koch