- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 24, 2002

Congress has just overwhelmingly authorized President Bush to enforce "all relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions regarding Iraq" if he decides unilaterally that reliance on peaceful means is not likely to result in their enforcement.

Of course, under the U.N. Charter, the right to enforce UNSC resolutions is reserved to the U.N. Security Council.

The United Nations has no armed forces, itself, and depends on member states to supply them when requested. Hence, all Congress can do is authorize the president to provide such assistance in the event the UNSC asks for it.

In 1990, Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait. UNSC Resolution 678 authorized a coalition of member states to use "all necessary means" to assist Kuwait expel the Iraqi "aggressors," restore Kuwait's territorial integrity and restore peace to the region.

The United States supplied most of the armed forces needed to implement UNSCR 678, while other members of the Gulf War coalition paid most of the costs.

Now, under Article 41 of the U.N. Charter, the Security Council may call upon member states to apply measures not involving the use of armed force in order to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such measures are commonly referred to as sanctions.

Once the Iraqi aggressors had been expelled from Kuwait, UNSCR 687 was passed, establishing the terms and conditions for the Gulf War cease-fire. Among other things, it imposed sanctions, and required, as a condition for lifting the sanctions, the destruction under supervision of a U.N. Special Commission of all stockpiles of Iraqi chemical warfare and biological warfare agents and weapons, the means for producing them, as well as ballistic missiles for delivering them. UNSCR 687 also required the destruction under the supervision of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency of the Iraqi clandestine nuclear weapons program.

What was to happen if Iraq did not substantially comply? UNSCR 687 specifically states that any issue respecting its implementation is to be dealt with by the Security Council itself.

Iraq agreed to comply with UNSCR 687 and by 1998 in the opinion of most members of the UNSC no longer possessed chemical and biological weapons and delivery systems or a clandestine nuclear weapons program. Therefore, most members of the UNSC wanted to lift the sanctions.

However, by 1998, the Clinton-Gore foreign policy was being driven by concerns about human rights, not loose nukes. President Clinton got UNSC sanctions imposed on Afghanistan's Taliban, Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic and Iraq's Saddam Hussein for human-rights violations. Mr. Clinton attempted to bring about regime change in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Iraq under the guise of enforcing from 20,000 feet those UNSC resolutions

Oddly enough, the Bush-Cheney New World Order also requires regime change in the Islamic world. So, under Bush-Cheney, the bombing of Iraq and Afghanistan was continued, as was as the BBC reported last year the implementation of a plan originally initiated under Clinton-Gore to forcibly change the Taliban regime. Under Clinton-Gore, American advisers were in Tajikistan and 17,000 Russian troops were on standby to move into Afghanistan through Uzbekistan.

Then came September 11, and the rationale for implementing the Clinton-Gore plan in Afghanistan and in Iraq changed once again.

Here's the Bush-Cheney rationale for regime change, according to House Majority Whip Tom Delay: "The war on terrorism will be fought here at home unless we summon the will to confront evil before it attacks. Only regime change can remove the danger from Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Only by taking them out of his hands and destroying them can we be certain that terror weapons won't wind up in the hands of terrorists."

So, Congress has also authorized the president to "use the armed forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq."

If the president determines that the war against terrorism needs to be fought in Iraq next week, and that it can not be won unless Saddam is removed from power, it doesn't much matter to Congress what UNSC members Russia, France and China think.

But, what if U.N. inspectors discover in the next month or so what Russia, France and China suspect is true; that Saddam doesn't have any real terror weapons? No nukes. No weaponized anthrax. Nothing to alarm the UNSC. Will Dubya invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein, anyway? Stay tuned.


Gordon Prather was a nuclear physicist at Sandia National Laboratory, a national security adviser to US Senator Henry Bellmon, and a Reagan appointee in the Pentagon.

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