- The Washington Times - Friday, September 27, 2002

Boy, are we being horsed around. They've got PR geniuses in Baghdad. I wish we had some geniuses like that. President Bush started out like a house afire. The groveling U.N. Insecurity Council had done nothing about Iraq's expulsion of the U.N. inspectors in 1998. Mr. Bush showed what could be done with the threat of force, but then Saddam showed what could be done with pieces of paper, TV cameras, a dignified "surrender" to the Bush Doctrine and a pliable U.N. secretary-general.

It's an old story that Otto von Bismarck described more than a century ago: "We live in a wondrous time in which the strong is weak because of his moral scruples and the weak grows strong because of his audacity." And not only audacity but also brilliant diplomacy the reasonable David against the frothing-at-the-mouth Superpower Goliath.

Unfair criticism? OK, then why aren't the U.N. inspectors in Iraq right now? What's all the palaver? And why is the road to Baghdad through Vienna? Why is Kofi Annan in charge of the schedule, not Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld or Secretary of State Colin Powell or U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Negroponte? Why hasn't somebody told Saddam either the U.N. inspectors leave on the next plane to Baghdad, baggage to follow, or else boom-boom.

By putting his decision-making power into the hands of the Insecurity Council, a power which was legitimately his under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, specifying the inherent right to self-defense in the face of an armed attack, President Bush, I'm afraid, has at this writing lost a golden opportunity to rid the world of Saddam Hussein. Article 51 of the Charter reads:

"Nothing in the present charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security."

Compare the events of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 with September 11. Whatever the behind-the-scenes maneuvers were during the Cuban crisis, what was at work was a United States policy of deterrence outside the Insecurity Council that somehow worked at least in six other crises: Berlin Blockade 1948, the Korean War, Taiwan Straits 1954-55, Eisenhower Doctrine in the Middle East, 1957-58, Quemoy Crisis 1958, Berlin Deadline Crisis 1958-59.

There were later crises like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the arms race initiated by the Soviet Union during the Carter administration.

Deterrence worked. Proof? No World War III, no Soviet Union. And there is still a Taiwan and a Quemoy, still an Israel, bloody but unbowed.

Deterrence worked because we were in each case dealing with a territorial state. Brinksmanship worked. The threat of massive retaliation worked. There is no way brinksmanship or the threat of massive retaliation can work with al Qaeda because it is not a territorial state with definable boundaries. As President Bush put it on June 1 at West Point, "deterrence means nothing against shadowy terrorist networks with no nation or citizen to defend."

But al Qaeda survives because it has a friend, an ally, a territorial state, Iraq, about which the Insecurity Council has done nothing for four years and still would have done nothing had it not been for President Bush. As Norman Podhoretz has written in the current Commentary Magazine: "There would be no serious terrorism without state sponsorship."

Nor would the Kennan doctrine of containment work because, as President Bush put it, containment "is not possible when unbalanced dictators with weapons of mass destruction can deliver those weapons or missiles or secretly provide them to terrorist allies." Containment, deterrence won't work. Yet the risk to innocent American lives remains. Two questions:

Can we trust the U.N. Insecurity Council to minimize the risk we face at the hands of an unsupervised Saddam Hussein when days have gone by and still no inspection of Iraq? America and Israel are the targets of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, said President Bush, adding that "to be counted on the side of peace, nations must act." For four years, the Insecurity Council has done nothing about Iraq's violation of its agreements with the U.N.

President Bush, you said: "If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long. In the world we have entered the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act."


The words of Karl von Clausewitz may provide an answer: "Unless important advantages are to be gained from hesitation, it is necessary to set to work at once. By this speed a hundred enemy measures are nipped in the bud, and public opinion is won most rapidly."

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