Originally created 11/06/02

Return of the zealots

Recall how critics of President George W. Bush wept and gnashed their teeth when he was considering unilateral military action to effect a "regime change" in Iraq?

The critics agreed - or at least said they agreed - with the president (and Congress) that Saddam Hussein is a dangerous madman who cannot be trusted with weapons of mass destruction. The dictator had to go, but they implored Bush to, before acting alone, at least try to move against Iraq with a United Nations coalition.

Bush acceded to the critics. He went to the U.N. Security Council with an urgent request that it give quick approval to a resolution demanding that Saddam disarm or be ousted from power. That was a month ago.

In the meantime, the United States has showed a willingness to compromise - unwisely, in our view - in hopes of getting the United Nations aboard. For instance, Saddam's ouster wouldn't be necessary if he would just disarm.

And full disarmament might not be required if he'd simply allow U.N. arms inspectors unfettered and immediate access to all his suspected hiding places.

Yet the compromises still haven't been enough for Iraq's Security Council buddies, France and Russia. They not only seek a softened arms inspection resolution, but even if Saddam doesn't comply, they want a second resolution before authorizing an attack.

Clearly, a meaningful resolution has gotten bogged down in U.N. mumbo-jumbo just as President Bush feared it would - and Iraq hoped it would. But then what else would one expect from France and Russia anyway?

But where are the Bush critics now? You know, the ones who said they'd be with him if he first tried to go through the United Nations. Well, it seems they were just stalling for time before they had to reveal who they really are: anti-war zealots. These blame-America-firsters have recently been out in the streets by the thousands all over the United States and abroad.

In the Vietnam era, such radicals made Communist dictator Ho Chi Minh their hero - and Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon their villains. Their propaganda on the Internet and elsewhere is already turning Saddam into a brave freedom-fighter and Bush into a tyrannical warmonger.

Enough is enough. Bush's compromises have exposed his mean-spirited critics as America haters and given the United Nations plenty of rope to hang itself. If the U.N. resolution debacle isn't cleared up forthwith, then it's time for President Bush to make good on his promise to lead a coalition of nations against Iraq without U.N. authorization.


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