Bush should give Iraq time

Iraq all but opened its doors to weapons inspectors as of Tuesday morning. But President George W. Bush has warned the United Nations not to be fooled by Iraq’s promise to allow inspectors into its borders. By continuing to push for preemptive action despite these developments, Bush is forcing the United States into an unnecessary war. If Iraq said it will allow weapons inspectors, it should be given a chance to comply.

Iraq also announced yesterday its plans to meet with U.N. Security Council officials to decide on the details of the weapons inspections. Bush, however, sees the new development as a distraction. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Tuesday, “He [Hussein] has a history of playing ‘rope-a-dope’ with the world – all the while he develops a more powerful punch.” That would be a good point, if the Bush administration had the evidence to support it.

Both Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have used a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency as proof that Iraq has nuclear capabilities. But according to the British newspaper, New Statesman, neither Bush nor Blair has seen any proof of Iraqi nuclear weapons because the cited report doesn’t give any.

Bush and Blair gave statements on Iraq’s weapons capability based on one another’s comments to the press, never truly giving any real evidence. The IAEA report that was cited actually stated, in summary, that Iraq has not produced nuclear weapons, has not retained the ability to produce nuclear weapons and has not obtained the material to do so.

No matter what Iraq has done in the past, the primary focus of the Bush administration should be to prevent a war that could potentially take American lives. With little or no evidence available and Iraqi officials agreeing to weapons inspections, Bush should give Iraq a chance to comply and continue seeking U.N. support in case Iraq changes its position.