United Nations Security Council resolution fourteen-forty-one was approved unanimously in November. But since that vote, nothing indicates that Saddam Hussein has made a genuine decision to disarm.
Concessions are not compliance. Destroying a handful of missiles is not compliance. As U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “Iraq’s too little, too late gestures are meant not just to deceive and delay action...he has as one of his major goals to divide the international community. That effort,” said Mr. Powell, “must fail.”
The Iraqi dictator’s response to resolution fourteen-forty-one is consistent with his answer to previous resolutions. Saddam Hussein, said Mr. Powell, “has met each one of them with defiance and deception, with every passing year since 1991...Saddam...has taken Iraq deeper and deeper into material breach of its international obligations.” Said Mr. Powell, “the inspection effort isn’t working.... Inspections cannot work effectively as long as the Iraqi regime remains bound and determined to hold on to its weapons of mass destruction.” What is needed from Iraq is a strategic and political decision to disarm. A decision that must be manifested by concrete and immediate action, not words.
The U.S. and the U-N Security Council share the same goal: Iraq’s disarmament. But if Saddam Hussein, as Secretary of State Powell put it, “leaves us no choice but to disarm him by force, the United States and our coalition partners will do our utmost to do it quickly [and] do it in a way that minimizes the loss of civilian life or [the] destruction of property.”