President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair can claim a victory in Iraq's decision to destroy the Al-Samoud 2 missiles (March 2). If not for the military threat Bush and Blair posed, it is difficult to imagine that Saddam Hussein would have backed down.
Now it is up to the United Nations to ask, "What about all those chemicals that need to be destroyed?" If Bush and Blair were to start withdrawing forces, does anyone believe that Hussein would destroy the balance of the missiles? Would Hussein then bring forth all his chemical and biological weapons for further destruction once American and British forces were withdrawn?
Bully for Blair! Bully for Bush! Their military might was recognized and forced Hussein to back down. Only military might can do it with Hussein.
Though I am opposed to war with Iraq while the U.N. inspections continue, I have no illusions about the effectiveness of the inspections. The forces amassed in the Gulf region give "teeth" to the inspection process through surveillance and threat. It is an extremely complex and costly support system, but it is much cheaper than the price of civilian and military casualties that would result from war.
I urge all of the U.N. member nations to provide financial aid to the U.S. in support of our efforts to enforce the inspection process. I believe the use of threat and restraint by the U.S. at this time sends a strong message of responsibility and freedom to all nations.
First Bush says if no weapons inspections are allowed, he will attack. So inspectors are let in. Then he says if weapons are not destroyed, he will attack. So weapons are destroyed. Now he says that if Hussein does not go, he will attack. What next? Will all the people of Iraq have to leave their homes for fear of attack? Can you say "personal vendetta," Georgie?
Rajan Menon's "New Order: The End of Alliances" (Opinion, March 2) makes the point that the U.S. has done fine without having pacts for most of its history. We also did without automobiles, SUVs, antibiotics, telephones, TV, computers and, most of all, nuclear weapons.
Einstein once said that things should be put as simply as possible, but not any simpler. Menon puts things too simply. The possession of nuclear weapons by us and a few other countries, and their eventual possession by most countries, makes it essential that we forget the old ways. The old ways will lead to the suicide of the human race. This was understood during the Cold War but is in danger now of being forgotten. The human race is now powerful enough to commit suicide, something we could never have done before. We need pacts; we are in this together; we need to hang together or we will burn separately.
Both the pro-war and the antiwar factions don't get it. We've been at war for a long time, a war to convince would-be terrorist sympathizers that we mean the world no harm. In case people haven't noticed, we're getting clobbered. Bush has virtually no international credibility, and Secretary of State Colin Powell should be sued for diplomatic malpractice. The simple fact is, no matter how legitimate Bush's war may be, if it doesn't appear legitimate to the world, we'll simply be inspiring countless generations of future terrorists.
The argument against this war is that, because of our diplomatic incompetence, it will make us less secure, not more. Bush needs to realize this, pull back for a while and do a better job convincing the world. Otherwise, we're really shooting ourselves in the foot.
If attacking Iraq is right, we must attack regardless of who supports or doesn't support us. If it's wrong, U.N. support won't make it right.
No person or agency in the world except our president and his staff (and maybe Blair) even comes close to having enough information to be able to make a good decision on invading Iraq. All others (countries, marchers, letter writers, politicians) are simply blowing hot air or are looking out for No. 1.