Making a case for war is difficult

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 1, 2003

President Bush and U.S. leaders face an increasing difficult effort in making their case for war against Iraq.

This week, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein agreed to destroy its Al Samoud 2 missiles which violate U.N. regulations, prompting the chief U.N. weapons inspector to declare this a significant step toward disarmament.

And, indeed, the world’s opinion seems to be ever-shifting on the need to use military force to disarm Iraq.

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President Bush, with British ally Tony Blair, continues to say that Hussein’s efforts are too little, too late. Indeed, Blair this week said those who oppose war against Iraq are as misguided as the appeasers who refused to stand up to Hitler in the 1930s.

But around the world, the opinions differ. The Turkish legislature on Saturday failed to ratify a resolution to allow deployment of more than 60,000 U.S. troops to form a northern front for a war against Iraq.

Arab leaders met and resoundingly decried any military aggression against Iraq.

Key votes on the U.N. Security Council continue to block U.S. efforts to gain United Nations support for military action against Iraq.

While many in the world continue to call for patience and due process, our president and military leaders continue to say we cannot wait.

And, we know that Saddam Hussein is a dangerous, manipulative leader who is just as likely to deceive the United Nations as harm his own people.

The question is, can America afford to move ahead without U.N. support? In this ever-shrinking global economy, the actions of one country have resounding effects across the world. Whatever we do will have political, social, economic and military implications for years to come. And, if we choose to pursue this war – as seems likely – we will make an investment in the region that will last for years to come.

As we’ve said before, this is no simple undertaking. It is a massive one, that will affect our lives and our children’s lives. And as the global dance of foreign relations continues, we watch Americans’ opinions shift from day to day on the need for this war. And, even today, the American leaders are pressed to &uot;make their case&uot; for war.

But ultimately, we believe, this war will come. Unless Saddam Hussein defies his nature and truly disarms – or chooses exile – America and its allies will be forced to act to disarm Iraq. We cannot allow rogue leaders to develop, horde and ultimately use weapons of mass destruction – whether chemical, biological or nuclear – or to terrorize a country or a region with the threat of those weapons. We would prefer a voluntary peace, a willing participation in the agreed-upon rules governing most of today’s nations.

But if Hussein will not willingly agree, we ultimately will force him to obey.

And, whether President Bush made his case will no longer be an issue.