Forcing the Iraq arms inspections

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 30, 2002

Even if the U.N. inspection team never looks behind one closed door in Iraq, Saddam Hussein's decision Monday to allow them back after nearly four years is a victory for U.S. policy and a determined President Bush.

Hopefully, Iraq's stalling has been nothing more than a masterful charade that's preoccupied the United States for a decade, but can no longer be sustained because of the mounting threat of an American invasion.

That's the rose-colored glasses version.

In reality, Iraq's decision to allow the inspectors back may lead to more frustrations and running inspectors to and fro to keep them off the trail of biological and nuclear activities.

If that happens, either the United Nations or the United States will subject Iraq to total war. President Bush maneuvered Iraq into position of keeping its word or facing destruction.

Meanwhile, the United States continues the pressure and builds up military forces in the Middle East, and U.S. and British planes are hitting communication targets in the no-fly zones. Iraq should understand the significance.

Russia said Iraq should comply quickly. Good advice. Iraq either allows immediate and complete inspections that expose Saddam's threat to world peace as a sham, or the war begins.

Hopefully, though, Monday's decision will take the Middle East one step closer to peace without involving the United States in another war.

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The Decatur Daily

Sept. 18, 2002