Now that we've bound ourselves to let the U.N. weapons inspectors play out another round of the Saddam Charade -- delaying our inevitable military action -- our betters again have time enough to instruct us on the errors of our ways. Our moral and intellectual superiors in Europe and the U.N. would be better off taking the time to learn that they don't define the word "we" the same way America does.
Last week the frustrations of his job boiled over for U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. The endless meetings, the banquets, and that awful, unreasonable Mr. Bush. The last straw came when His Excellency found it necessary to instruct the press on the pronunciation of his name. He said it's "Kofi, which rhymes with Sophie" and "Annan, which rhymes with cannon." Walking out of the White House after a meeting with Dubya, Sophie chose his host's front lawn to lecture him about what might constitute proper grounds for taking out Saddam.
Sophie thinks that not just any material breach will do, meaning that the frequent Iraqi firings at U.S. and British aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones aren't reason enough. "Whatever reason we decide … to go to war must be seen as reasonable and credible, and not contrived." Ms. Cannon also lectured Dubya that "We need to be patient and give the inspectors time and space to do their work. We should not be seen as rushing the process and impatiently moving on to the next phase." Someone needs to tell him -- again -- that America's patience with the Iraqi dictator has run out.
Dubya didn't need to answer Sophie's pious lecture because Chief Inspector Hans Blix unintentionally did it for him. Blix said he couldn't guarantee that his inspectors wouldn't tip off the Iraqis on where inspectors were headed, giving the Saddamites time to hide their WMD. He did, however, guarantee that the inspections would be "tactful" and that he and his crew wouldn't be "aggressive." "Aggressive is an American quality," Blix said. "Aggression is prohibited under the U.N. charter and, as a European, I would rather use the words 'dynamic' and 'effective.'"
The dynamic and effective Mr. Blix, who gave the Iraqis a clean bill of health on nuclear weapons almost ten years ago, is hiring inspectors who have little or no qualifications, and are most likely to be in cahoots with the Iraqis. Years ago, the Clintonoids agreed that all U.N. inspectors had to be full-time U.N. employees. Aside from excluding almost everyone who is qualified, the U.N. has no room for Americans under its diversity-based hiring policy. Blix will include Arab inspectors in his group to accommodate the demands of the Arab League. But don't worry. Saddam swears he has no weapons of mass destruction.
The new U.N. resolution requires Saddam to provide an inventory of all of his WMD by December 8. A false declaration would be a violation of the resolution, but Saddam will certainly say, "If you say I have 'em, prove it." Blix and his crew will then spend months searching everywhere the WMD aren't. We can look forward to another period of weeks or months before Dubya says the hell with it, and we do what we should have done on Wednesday, November 6.
Saddam knows it's coming, even if Sophie Cannon thinks he can stall it forever. Last week, Saddam reportedly sent Chemical Ali to Libya to buy a refuge for himself and his family. Ali Hasan a-Majid (known as "Chemical Ali" for engineering a chemical weapon attack on the Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988, which killed hundreds) may have offered Libyan Dictator Muammar Qaddafi several billion dollars to provide shelter for Saddam when the balloon goes up. Qaddafi may not take Saddam in. He knows that Saddam should be charged as a war criminal for attacks like the Halabja slaughter. Qaddafi -- whose involvement in terrorism was interrupted when the Gipper sent a few F-111s to visit -- may not want to risk it. But while we're focused on Iraq, the war on terror goes on, including the terrorists' war on us.
After a year MIA, OBL has resurfaced. First was the voice recording that has shown that bin Laden survived the Afghanistan campaign. Now, according to the Qatarri television station, al-Jazeera, a letter from al-Qaeda threatens that if America doesn't leave Muslims alone, we should "… expect us in Washington and New York." The Democrats, not wanting to politicize the war, launched a speech blitz, saying that because OBL is alive, the war on terror is failing. If there is another attack, as there may well be in the first two weeks of December, the Dems will lose no time in trying to stop the Iraq campaign altogether, saying Dubya is fiddling while America burns. We need to remember that the Dems, and their ACLU allies, are working day and night to make homeland security impossible. Just look at what L.A. federal Judge Robert Takasugi did last Friday.
Acting on an ACLU demand, Judge Takasugi ruled that the new legal requirement that airport security screeners be American citizens is unconstitutional. Any Yemeni or Saudi citizen who can't get a job with the U.N. inspectors should apply for a security job at Kennedy Airport.
Despite the fact that they are the biggest obstacle, the Dems have a point. We are still doing almost nothing to protect Americans at home. Have you had your smallpox vaccination yet? Neither have I. When you hear the FBI's warning of "spectacular" terrorist attacks inflicting mass casualties, think about the Russian Strela shoulder-fired missile. The Strela -- a Russian copy of the American Stinger -- is a favorite weapon of Islamist terrorists from Chechnya to Tanzania. Hundreds are available around the world. Getting a half dozen Strelas across the U.S. border would be a pretty simple task. Shooting down several unprotected airliners would close down American air commerce for weeks or months, and send our economy back to horse and buggy days.
We can protect our aircraft, and our people, from this threat. But we haven't. Action on this and several other practical anti-terror initiatives is grotesquely overdue. We can't protect everyone from every danger. We can -- and must -- do a great deal more than we are doing now. And, for the record, when I say "we" I don't include Sophie Cannon. Saddam delendus est.