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Wednesday, March 12, 2003
How about if we just flip a coin?
The Washington Post details the debate at the UN over what to do next. There are about six different proposed resolutions floating around (not counting the French "We surrender" plan). The problem is, it seems clear that all the non-American proposals are designed primarily to stall. (Well, that's one problem; the other problem is that the French won't accept any proposal at all. They have all but declared themselves to be on Saddam Hussein's side in the war on terror.)

Six months ago, I argued against the idea of working through the UN, getting another resolution, and restarting the inspections process. My argument then was that there was no reason to wait six months to appease the anti-war crowd, because in six months the situation wouldn't be any different, and anti-war people would be no more likely to support the U.S. Not to toot my own horn, but I was obviously right.

And that's the same situation we face now. The U.S. is willing to have another resolution as long as it (a) sets a firm, short-term deadline, (b) lists specific requirements, and (c) authorizes force automatically if the requirements aren't met by the deadline. Canada, which isn't on the Security Council at all, is willing to accept something similar, as long as the deadline is at least a month in the future. The six undecided countries on the Council appear willing to set specific benchmarks, but want a deadline weeks away and don't want an automatic authorization for war. In short, these countries want to stall, exactly as we've been doing for months now. And the French won't even go that far; they won't accept any deadlines at all.

So what's the point? What would be different in a month than now? If people don't think Iraq's failure to live up to its obligations for 12 years justifies a military response, then why would Iraq's failure for 12 years and one month be any different? Of course, it wouldn't, and in a month we'd hear the same excuses over again. Apparently the only thing that might change the minds of the French and/or undecideds is a mushroom cloud appearing over New York -- and maybe not even then. Since that's obviously unacceptable to everyone who isn't French, we might as well stop trying to woo them and go ahead now.

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