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Sunday, January 26, 2003

To Answer the Previous Question...

David Warren at the Ottawa Citizen offers the following evidence for the prosecution:

At the least, I know the Americans are sitting on copies of Saddam Hussein's actual orders to prepare nerve gas attacks against U.S. troops, complete with atropine and chemical suit inventories -- only three weeks old. (The BBC now has these, too.) They also have Saddam's instructions for attacking U.S. Navy ships in the Gulf. They have satellite photographs showing Iraqi ground movements at locations before and after U.N. inspections. They have logged information they gave to Mr. Blix's inspection teams, and which they failed to act upon. They have intercepts of conversations between Kofi Annan and Tariq Aziz.

Savor the last two sentences. Warren notes that we are indeed at a historic juncture:

Opinion polls show that the whole world, including Americans, would feel decidedly more comfortable about his going into Iraq if Mr. Bush had U.N. backing. To be charitable to world opinion, I think this is because there is very little real appreciation of what goes on in there -- of the degree to which the U.N. is itself not an embodiment of noble ideals, but more simply the corrupt and dissimulating reflection of its largely illegitimate and despotic membership.

And next week is the crunch. I expect we will come to look back on this as we do now upon the League of Nations in its last moments -- the League's failure to act on Abyssinia, and so forth, in the gathering clouds of World War II.

The U.N. has manoeuvred Mr. Bush into a position where he cannot advance towards Baghdad without pushing them over. It follows he will push them over -- and let the world know why. As I see it, we have reached the end of the road, either for Mr. Bush or for the United Nations. I expect Mr. Bush to prevail; but if he doesn't, I'll tell you. I expect Mr. Bush to be blamed for the convulsion that then seizes the U.N., but in the longer run I think it will be seen that the U.N. killed itself.

I suspect the funeral service will be poorly-attended.

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