- The Washington Times - Monday, November 11, 2002

Following a week in which his party regained control of the U.S. Senate, President Bush scored another victory Friday unanimous passage by the U.N. Security Council of a resolution telling Iraq that it faces serious consequences if it does not disarm.
Those consequences, of course, would be an attack by the United States and its allies, which is to say, Iraq cannot play games this time. Although the resolution does not include every word the administration initially sought, it does allow for surprise inspections of any single spot in the country, including presidential palaces, and it leaves no doubt about the costs of not complying.
Critics of the president had argued earlier that he should go along with cat-and-mouse inspections of the sort previously tried and that he should stop any threats of war. They apparently assumed he could not achieve an inspection plan that would actually mean something, but he has. And they apparently thought there would be a chance of Iraq complying short of sure knowledge of an attack if it did not. Under the weak-kneed circumstances favored by Bush critics, Iraqi weapons-makers would have laughed all the way to their hiding places.
The next move is up to Iraq. If Saddam Hussein is as rational as some have said, he will save his regime by destroying his biological and chemical weapons, letting the inspectors have their run of Iraq and disclosing any facilities where the groundwork has been laid for the construction of nuclear weapons.
War is not inevitable. From the start, the Bush strategy of seeking Iraqi disarmament under the threat of war has been the best possible strategy for making this a safer, more sane world without necessarily having to go to war. War may still come, for the threat must be real to be effective, and Saddam may decide to tough it out.
If war does come, the United States will have the backing of the United Nations. There can be no more talk of U.S. unilateralism, of this country acting in disregard of the rest of the world.
The Bush administration has made this happen despite criticism from every possible quarter. It is a consequential development, and a development that marks Mr. Bush as a world leader of note just days after he proved he was a political leader of note in his own country.

Jay Ambrose is director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard Newspapers.

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