In the fog of war plain words travel best. And it is time to say it is time to make war on Iraq. Even before Sept. 11, evidence mounted for the United States to make a case for going to war against Saddam Hussein.
The regime has been in violation of a UN agreement it signed in 1996 to allow inspection of sites with potential to produce chemical and biological weapons. Saddam agreed to the inspections as a condition for resuming oil exports after the Gulf War.
This month oil exports are running above 8 million barrels a week; at the same time, a U.S. spy satellite spotted a 60-truck convoy entering a known biological weapons facility. But Saddam Hussein has barred all weapons inspectors since 1998. Talk now of resuming inspections is irrelevant. Think of Neville Chamberlain negotiating with the Third Reich as the tanks rolled into Poland.
Beyond stockpiling chemical and biological weapons, Saddam Hussein is the only sitting head of state known to use them. And on his own people. His 1988 attack on Iraqi Kurds killed 100,000 people and nursed a keen opposition, well versed in the costs of cohabitation. They met this month with Vice President Dick Cheney. When former diplomats like Edward Peck say, "The Iraq liberation groups are nothing that we can rely upon or use," think instead of the Jewish brain trust that survived Hitler's ovens.
Saddam is paying Palestinians to kill themselves in acts of terror. And there is evidence his intelligence service paved the way for Mohammed Atta to board American Airlines Flight 11. The report of a meeting between Mr. Atta and an Iraqi agent in Prague, intelligence analysts now say, holds up. Think of the exposed land scar in lower Manhattan.
The pundits will prattle the pros and cons right past the first salvo. Already they may have. This month gunmen associated with the Iraqi opposition attacked and wounded Saddam's son Qusai, who heads the Republican Guards. On Aug. 7 a bomb exploded in the national assembly building.
U.S. Special Forces made forays into northern Iraq beginning earlier this spring, two eyewitnesses have told WORLD. They have inspected airstrips in the rugged but friendly territory ("'In the belly of a shark,'" June 1). It's time to remember the long peace and those who've made it possible. And time to make a long peace possible again.