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Inspectors should be given time

Even though Chief U.N. Weapons Inspector Hans Blix reported Monday that Baghdad has not completely accepted resolutions demanding disarmament, President George W. Bush must not push for war against Iraq. Instead of increasing the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf, Bush should be patient, allow weapons inspectors enough time to do their job and stop making the United States the world’s greatest threat to peace.

The United States’ emphasis on weapons inspections in Iraq is severe compared to the more relaxed policies applied toward other countries with reputably more nuclear firepower, such as North Korea. Even though Saddam Hussein is a volatile dictator, Iraq has not done anything since the Gulf War to threaten the United States. The only reason weapons inspectors are in Iraq is because Bush has made the country his personal war-on-terrorism scapegoat.

Most analysts estimate it will take another few months for thorough weapons inspections to reach completion. If Bush’s true intentions behind the inspections is to move toward disarmament, he has no logical justification to oppose giving weapons inspectors more time to do their job. Iraq can never “prove” they do not have weapons of mass destruction, because Bush won’t take officials at their word.

Granting inspectors more time to search Iraq wouldn’t increase the imminence of a threat against the United States. The weapons inspectors’ presence in Iraq itself acts as a deterrent against Hussein initiating or continuing any possible weapons programs. Hussein might be ruthless, but he’s not irrational: He would not construct weapons of mass destruction in front of inspectors who could then give Bush the green light for war.

Bush should realize he will gain credibility if weapons inspectors are allowed to find the weapons he claims exist — something he might value in light of his recent decline in approval ratings.

University Wire — U. California at Los Angeles