- The Washington Times - Monday, September 9, 2002

The military architect of the United States' first air war against Iraq says a new attack on Baghdad is justified by previous U.N. resolutions demanding an end to the country's weapons of mass destruction program.
In his first public comments on the Iraq war debate, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Buster Glosson said in an interview that President Bush already has international backing for military action in the form of U.N. resolutions. Those resolutions, accepted by Baghdad, state that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein must get rid of his weapons of mass destruction as a condition of the 1991 Persian Gulf war cease-fire.
"We should not forget the Gulf war ended with a cease-fire, not a peace treaty," Gen. Glosson said.
Some prominent retired generals have expressed grave reservations about an attack, fueling critics of the administration in Congress. But Gen. Glosson, a respected war strategist, sees ample justification for an assault on Iraq.
In fact, he said the Clinton administration should have used the same resolutions in 1998 to oust Saddam after his regime forced the exit of U.N. weapons inspectors. At the time, President Clinton ordered limited bombing of weapons facilities, command and control units and some of Saddam's top troops.
"The Clinton administration should have attacked in 1998 instead of just moving sand around in the desert," said Gen. Glosson, a combat fighter pilot in Vietnam known for his bold and innovative approach to war planning. "They should have designed an attack that forced Saddam to comply with the U.N. resolutions or be ousted."
He said British aircraft during the 1998 Desert Fox campaign spotted sprayer drones being stored on the ground in Tallil air base, south of Baghdad. The unmanned aircraft were designed to dispense chemical or biological weapons. He said there is no post-campaign assessment that the drones were ever destroyed.
Mr. Bush, along with Vice President Richard B. Cheney, have vowed to remove Saddam from power on the grounds that Baghdad continues to pursue weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear arms. The administration argues these destructive weapons could be turned on the American people and their allies. The president has launched a concerted public offensive to make his case and is scheduled Thursday to address the United Nations in New York.
Gen. Glosson believes that three U.N. resolutions No. 678 that authorized the 1991 war to evict Iraqi troops from Kuwait and Nos. 686 and 687 that declared a cease-fire and ordered Saddam to get rid of weapons of mass destruction give Mr. Bush all the authority he needs.
The war resolution authorized the allies to "use all necessary means" to uphold previous U.N. resolutions, which includes weapons prohibitions. It also authorized war to "restore international peace and security in the area."
Gen. Glosson, and some legal scholars, believe these words alone authorize an attack, since Saddam's weapons arsenal threaten "peace and security in the area."
The U.N. cease-fire resolution also gives Mr. Bush additional authorization. It commands Iraq to "unconditionally" rid itself of weapons of mass destruction and submit to inspectors. Baghdad accepted the agreement in 1991 as a condition for a cease-fire. Since then, the United States and its allies say Saddam has failed to live up to either clause.
Gen. Glosson argues that the cease-fire resolution protected Iraq from military intervention only as long as it complied with resolution No. 687. Because it has not, the general says, Mr. Bush is justified to order an attack.
"When Vice President Cheney [then defense secretary during Operation Desert Storm] agreed to the cease-fire at the end of the Gulf war, he insisted that Iraq accept unconditional inspections. And, if violated, military power could be used to force compliance," Gen. Glosson said.
"Vice President Cheney, like other military and civilian leaders, understood that the probability of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons not being totally destroyed during the Gulf war was high. Everyone wanted to make sure we didn't leave Saddam with weapons programs that could be rebuilt quickly," he said.
The highly decorated three-star general designed an air campaign against Iraq in 1990 that employed the first extensive use of stealth technology (the F-117 radar-evading fighter) and precision-guided weapons. Subsequent air wars in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan have relied on the Gulf model.

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