Alex's Outlook

Friday, January 24, 2003

Well, well. The Bush Administration mulls an extension for the inspectors in Iraq. Meanwhile, stocks have plunged on Bush's saber-rattling.

The Iraq inspectors have given Saddam Hussein a B for his "compliance" in the "disarmament process".

This is beyond ridiculous. The role of the inspections regime is to verify that Saddam is voluntarily disarming; 120 shadowed, bugged and harassed inspectors cannot clear weapons of mass destruction from an area bigger than Texas. Everyone, even at the United Nations, acknowledges that Saddam has a WMD program. It is incumbent upon him to prove to the world that he is disarming. There has been no evidence whatsoever, yet the hapless Hans Blix insists that progress is being made.

And now the Bush Administration proposes to continue this nonsense for weeks. Every day that Powell, Rice, Bush or anyone else beats the drums re Iraq means a loss of at least a hundred points on Dow. Every procrastination and postponement of the war keeps the markets on edge. The inspectors have had over two months to gather conclusions, and what few conclusions they have gathered - the Iraqis' continual shadowing of the weapons scientists and the discovery of the chemical-weapons shells - indicates that Iraq is not disarming. Giving the inspectors another few weeks or months only prolongs this farce. Every time Bush gives ground to the United Nations, the pro-Iraq faction is emboldened to demand more concessions and more time - more time for Saddam to fabricate additional delays, traps and deceptions for Bush. Wasting further time can only hurt the United States and, by extension, Bush. We will see on January 27 how serious Bush is about finishing Saddam once and for all.

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