John Leo

Last week Blix announced that, on the one hand, Iraq has been "proactive" in complying with inspectors, although, on the other hand, its record of compliance "has not been good." The alleged proactivity consists of Saddam Hussein's striptease, throwing a few weapons overboard as pressure is applied, more as war comes closer. Blix of course was pleased and said he could use four more months of rummaging around the desert looking for weapons. Iraq agreed to comply in 15 days back in 1991, but if 12 years wasn't nearly long enough, 12 years and four months should certainly do it.

Bringing the United Nations along and coaxing it to live up to its 17 resolutions on Iraq would have been useful. But the notion that the U.N.'s "moral" approval was somehow necessary is ludicrous, particularly since U.N. morality includes turning over its human rights committee to Libya and repeatedly branding as racist the only Middle East democracy, Israel.

President Clinton got it right, verbally at least, in 1998. He said then that Iraq was "a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug traffickers or organized criminals." In urging strong action on Iraq, The Washington Post referred to Clinton's words as "perceptive but ultimately empty" because they led to no meaningful action. In the post-9/11 world, refusing to act is far more dangerous. Saddam has the ability and the hostility to churn out weapons for those who wish to inflict grave damage on the United States. It's time to do something about it.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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