Jewish World Review Dec. 17, 2002 / 12 Teves, 5763

Dan Abrams

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Shouldn't there be a standard for what would trigger a war with Iraq? | Technically, Saddam is already in material breach of the latest U.N. resolution, but even the administration has said certain technical breaches won't be enough. So what is enough?

In the law, we deal with these questions all the time.

How much, what type of evidence should be sufficient?

I'm going to throw one out to you for discussion: How about something like clear and convincing evidence that Saddam has significant, undisclosed stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons, or any nuclear weapons; or that Saddam's government has sold, distributed, or transferred any of those types of weapons to al Qaeda in the past three years, and the administration should be willing to make its case to the world.

While the U.S. and Britain may eventually serve as judge and jury in words like "significant and stockpiles" and whatever can be lawyered to death, some type of standard or even guideline might be helpful to a currently divided administration and public.

Now, while it's true that the burden is and ought to be on Saddam to come clean, a war can't be waged based on honesty or technical interpretations.

We've long known Saddam's a liar. Look, the administration may already have the goods on Saddam. It does not necessarily have to come from weapons inspectors. And I should say any effort by Saddam to restrict the inspectors' access to sites could also be a legitimate trigger for war.

The U.N. Has recognized that Iraq is different from other potentially threatening nations, and Saddam may have already made a war inevitable. But if so, when the time comes, the administration should silence its critics with convincing specifics.

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JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors “The Abrams Report,” Monday through Friday from 6-7 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today” and “Dateline NBC.” To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.


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12/11/02: Why our government refuses to fully cooperate in the prosecution of a possible 9/11 conspirator
12/10/02: Hezbollah, not a terrorist organization, says Canada
12/09/02: The world's cynical view of America
12/04/02: Why we need to stop electing judges
11/27/02: Why men should be able to sue women who lie about who's the daddy
11/26/02: Training lawyers to be touchy-feely
11/25/02: The story of a real American hero
11/22/02: In Illinois, academics lawyers, judges hurting their pro-life cause
11/15/02: A close reading of Iraq's letter of acceptance makes it clear that Saddam will almost certainly refuse to live up to its terms
11/14/02: Al Jazeera: A state-sponsored mouth-piece
11/13/02: Should Moussaoui be sent to a military tribunal?
11/12/02: Should human rights activists complain about the detainees' treatment?

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