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New York Times Says "No Case Made" for Iraq War

Stating "Cheney Fails to Convince" a leading trumpet of the boss class says that the Administration has failed to make its case for military action against Iraq. As Mafia dons voice tactical disagreements, look for more Democrats to take cover behind the dissenters. Where is organized labor?
Cheney Fails to Convince
The New York Times | Editorial
The International Herald Tribune

Thursday, 29 August, 2002

With Republican mandarins cautioning the Bush administration about marching on Baghdad, Vice President Dick Cheney grabbed the microphone this week to make the case for war. We're glad the White House is talking at greater length and more specifically about Iraq, but Cheney failed to offer convincing answers to questions that give many Americans pause about using military force to oust Saddam Hussein. The White House has yet to meet the difficult burden of showing why Iraq's weapons programs, including its efforts to develop nuclear arms, require an American invasion.

No one disputes that Iraq threatens important American interests in the Middle East, from affordable oil to Israel's security. As Cheney accurately noted, Saddam has twice attacked his neighbors. He has secretly and illegally developed biological and chemical weapons and may not be far from developing nuclear bombs. He openly defies the disarmament and inspection requirements of the cease-fire that halted the Gulf War. Unfortunately, the United States faces many foreign threats. These include other dictatorships equally intent on developing unconventional weapons and other Middle Eastern nations that refuse to accept Israel's right to exist. For good reasons, Washington has generally not launched offensive military actions in response to unrealized threats. The risks posed by Iraq may be so unique and compelling as to justify an exception, but that is a case the administration has yet to make. The White House is also obliged to explain why preventive military action aimed at overthrowing Saddam is the best available response to the dangers he poses and how Washington would install and sustain a new, less threatening Iraqi government.

With all this groundwork still ahead of it, the administration seems already to have decided to bypass the UN Security Council and cut Congress out of its constitutional decision-making role. That would be a terrible mistake.

Any justification for attacking Iraq would have to rest in large part on Baghdad's flagrant violations of the UN Security Council resolution that ended the Gulf War more than a decade ago. If President George W. Bush wants to renew hostilities with Iraq, he should seek a new resolution telling Baghdad that it must comply fully and immediately with the cease-fire's disarmament and inspection demands or face a reopening of hostilities. There is a slim chance that such a resolution could bring renewed inspections that would at least slow down Iraq's unconventional-weapons programs. If Baghdad continues to throw up obstacles, going through the United Nations would line up international support for any eventual American military action. Washington's lack of interest in working with the Security Council is foolish and has needlessly isolated the United States from virtually all its European and Arab allies.

While Bush has promised to consult with Congress, he seems to be under the illusion, supported by a recent memo from the White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales, that he can rely on the 1991 vote that authorized the Gulf War. That is legal sophistry, reminiscent of Lyndon Johnson's use of the Tonkin Gulf resolution to authorize a disastrous land war in Vietnam. Invading Iraq could involve substantial casualties and possible long-term occupation responsibilities. A decade-old vote is no substitute for the role that the constitution grants to Congress in taking the nation to war.

Cheney's stern speech suggests that the Bush administration has set a course for military action against Iraq. It still has to persuade the country that war is warranted.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)



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