As a condition of the Gulf War cease-fire in 1991, Iraq was required to disarm. Iraq had to destroy its weapons of mass destruction and its ballistic missiles with a range of more than one-hundred-fifty kilometers, and end its nuclear weapons program.
Over the past twelve years, the United Nations Security Council has passed more than seventeen resolutions in an attempt to get Iraq to meet its commitments. The latest, resolution fourteen-forty-one, was unanimously adopted in November.
Along with U-N resolutions, diplomacy has been used to try to get Iraq to cooperate. Economic sanctions have been applied. And military activity has taken place in the northern and southern no-fly zones in Iraq. Still, the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein continues to defy the United Nations by not cooperating with U-N weapons inspectors. “At some point,” said U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, “time runs out.”
One possibility is that Saddam Hussein and those around him might leave voluntarily –- before they are forced from power. Another possibility is that the Iraqi regime might be forcibly removed. In either case, the U.S. and its allies would act to ensure that Iraq is disarmed of its weapons of mass destruction and that the new government is supported by the Iraqi people.
Such an Iraq would be a country that does not threaten its neighbors. It would be a country where everyone, including ethnic and religious minorities, would have a voice in their government. Iraqis would govern themselves.
As President George W. Bush said, “Saddam Hussein has fooled the world for twelve years.” But no longer. “For the sake of peace and for the sake of security,” said President Bush, “the United States and our friends and allies...will disarm Saddam Hussein if he will not disarm himself.”