February 15, 2003

Some Backbone from the New

Some Backbone from the New York Times

Today's NYT editorial makes the key point that nothing we heard from Blix yesterday convincingly shows that Saddam is or will comply with 1441. Key language:

"The Security Council, as we said the other day, needs to pass a new resolution that sets a deadline for unconditional Iraqi compliance and authorizes military action if Baghdad falls short. Without that, the French proposal that Mr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei report again in mid-March is the diplomatic equivalent of treading water. It practically invites President Bush to take the undesirable step of going to war without the support of the Security Council.Just as they did last month, the inspectors offered a mixed picture that allowed all sides to draw sustenance for their arguments. What should not be missed is that the positive aspects of the reports dealt largely with secondary matters like process and access. On the essential issue of active Iraqi cooperation in the disclosure and destruction of prohibited unconventional weapons, the inspectors could find little encouraging to say."

It is heartening to see the NYT developing a more nuanced view of the UNSC deliberations. As the Times more or less says, waiting until March 15th, sadly, just isn't an option. If the French stick to their position the U.S. must either a) craft a resolution that vaguely calls for "serious consequences" that the French merely abstain on allowing Bush/Blair to enjoy the imprimatur of a second resolution (particularly important for Blair given the approximately 80% of Britons who oppose going to war without a second resolution) or b) announce that "further discussions" at the UNSC have taken place as per Resolution 1441, that certain member states deem Iraq in material breach, and to proceed with forging a coalition of the willing to disarm an obdurate Saddam. Choice "B" should be pursued if it appears likely that the French will bog down even a watered down resolution so that the process would drag on into mid-March or beyond anyway.

Posted by Gregory at February 15, 2003 10:45 AM
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