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Mr. President, Will Your Words Have Weight?
[March 6, 2003]

By John Bragg

President Bush said last night that “the fundamental question facing the Security Council is will its words mean anything; when the Security Council speaks, will the words have merit and weight?” That question, frankly, does not interest the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism. We oppose the United Nations in principle and in practice, root and branch, as a threat to the sovereignty of the United States and as an organization that grants undue legitimacy to murderous governments.

The important question is actually that faced by President Bush: Will his own words mean anything; when he speaks, will the words have merit and weight? For more than a year now, since the 2002 State of the Union Address, the President has been publicly committed to regime change in Iraq, the removal of Saddam Hussein from power and the disarmament of Iraq. In the 2002 State of the Union Address, President Bush said “I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer.” He said that if timid governments did not act, then America would.

And for more than a year now, the United States has waited. For more than a year now, we have waited on events in Iraq. We have stood by, as Iraq continued their programs to conceal, build and buy weapons of mass destruction. For more than a year now, the Administration has made concessions to the timid, delaying American action to conciliate them. The Congressional Authorization for war against Iraq gathers dust. The President’s words of a year ago begin to sound hollow with repetition.

Over six months ago, the President made a serious mistake in involving the United Nations Security Council in the war against Saddam Hussein, in yielding the principle of independent action. Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States because of his possession of dangerous weapons, his connections to terrorist groups, and his lust for vengeance against America. That is what makes Iraq a threat to America, and that is what gives America the right to remove him by any means necessary.

But, in the interests of attracting as much support as possible, domestically and abroad, the President went to the United Nations and put the question to the Security Council. The Administration, essentially, agreed to delay our attack on Iraq and give the United Nations a chance to convince Saddam Hussein to disarm. The United Nations has failed to do so. A false declaration of Iraq’s weapons, report after report from the inspectors have come and gone, all of which say that Iraq has not disarmed, has not accounted for its missing weapons, and is not cooperating fully with the inspectors. And still we wait for the United Nations, we wait for the French, we wait for the Russians, we wait for Cameroon, Angola, Guinea and Pakistan to make up their minds to allow us to ensure our security. We wait for our enemies like the French, whose foreign policy is based on limiting the American “hyperpower,” to give us permission to eliminate the threat of Saddam Hussein’s weapons. Going to the United Nations has delayed the liberation of Iraq by months already. And what has been gained? Where are the allies that “the United Nations route” would bring? What advantage has the vaunted “Unanimous Resolution 1441” brought us?

On television, President Bush said many things which we would applaud. Time and again last night, President Bush made the point that Saddam Hussein is a threat, and that we will act to remove the threat of his weapons. He has said so many times over the past year, always in the future tense.

What he did not say, and what the Center waits to hear, is that America is acting to remove the threat of Saddam Hussein. He did not announce that the liberation of Iraq had begun, he did not announce a deadline for Iraq to disarm fully or face war, he did not even announce an end to the UN charade.  In the present crisis, President Bush’s major announcement was—that we are in the “last phase of diplomacy,” which sounds suspiciously like Saddam Hussein’s last chance, receding before us like the horizon, or the carrot that drives the donkey. Next week, the US will call for a Security Council vote. “We want to see people stand up and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the United Nations Security Council” is a long way from “History has called America and our allies to action, and it is both our responsibility and our privilege to fight freedom's fight.”

President Bush has said that diplomacy is in its last phase. On the contrary, the time for diplomacy is over. Mr. President, will your words on Iraq mean anything, will they have meaning and weight, or will Saddam Hussein successfully defy the will of the President of the United States?

 

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