Terrorist-supporting regimes that seek and possess weapons of mass destruction pose a grave danger to the world. The Iraqi tyranny of Saddam Hussein is such a regime.
In November, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution fourteen-forty-one. It gave Iraq one last chance to disarm peacefully or “face serious consequences.”
But as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told the U-N on February 5th, “The facts. . .demonstrate that Saddam Hussein and his regime have made no effort. . .to disarm as required by the international community. Indeed, the facts and Iraq’s behavior show that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction.”
Perhaps the most dramatic case cited by Mr. Powell is Iraq’s cover-up of its program to produce anthrax. This biological agent is deadly. For years, Iraq untruthfully denied having any biological weapons at all. When caught in this lie in 1995, Iraq admitted to having produced more than eight-thousand liters of anthrax. U-N weapons inspectors say that Iraq could actually have produced up to three times as much. But Saddam Hussein has not provided proof of the destruction of, in Mr. Powell’s words, “even one teaspoon-full of this deadly material.”
The U.S. concern is not just about Iraq’s illicit weapons. As Secretary of State Powell said, “It’s the way that these illicit weapons can be connected to terrorists. . .that have no compunction about using such devices against innocent people around the world.” Iraq’s support for terrorists goes back decades and includes such groups as the Palestinian Liberation Front, Hamas, and Palestine Islamic Jihad. It also includes Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida. The U.S. has evidence of numerous high-level contacts between Iraqi intelligence and al-Qaida terrorists going back to the early 1990s.
“We know,” said Secretary of State Powell, “that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction; he’s determined to make more. Given Saddam Hussein’s history of aggression. . . his terrorist associations, and. . .his determination to exact revenge on those who oppose him, should we take the risk that he will not some day use these weapons. . . ? The U.S. will not and cannot run that risk.”