In November, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed resolution fourteen-forty-one requiring Iraq to re-admit U-N weapons inspectors. The council passed that resolution with the knowledge that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
In 1991, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi dictator was required to destroy those weapons. He played a cat-and-mouse game with U-N weapons inspectors. He tried to deceive the U-N, only admitting he had weapons after they were found. In 1998, the U-N inspectors were forced to leave Iraq.
The inspectors have returned to Iraq, but Saddam Hussein is back to business as usual. He still has not accounted for the anthrax, botulinum toxin, and mustard gas that are known to be in Iraq. “And that,” said U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, “is what is of concern.”
As Mr. Powell said, the assumption is that Saddam Hussein “does have weapons of mass destruction and the evidence supports this.... The issue simply is getting Iraq to disarm, to get rid of its weapons of mass destruction. And [the U-N] Security Council, through...resolution...fourteen-forty-one, demanded that Iraq come into compliance with its international obligations and get rid of those weapons.”
If Saddam Hussein will not disarm, than a U.S.-led coalition will do it for him. “We would not destroy Iraq,” said Mr. Powell. “We would try to remove this regime, preserve the institutions of Iraq, give their people a better life using their oil wealth, not for weapons of mass destruction, not to threaten their neighbors, but to build a better society for the people of Iraq.”
Iraq belongs to the people of Iraq. As Secretary of State Powell said, if force is needed to disarm the Saddam Hussein regime, “the United States and the international coalition will be there to bring in humanitarian assistance to help them rebuild whatever [is] needed to be rebuilt after all these years of devastation, frankly because of Saddam Hussein, and restore order to that part of the world.”