Confronting Iraq, again

November 13, 1998

An excerpt of a Tuesday New York Times editorial

EVEN as it considers air strikes against Iraq, the Clinton administration seems ready to abandon the 7-year-old U.N. weapons inspection program there. That would be a premature and costly decision.

Though slowed by Baghdad's obstructions and evasions, the international weapons specialists working inside Iraq have provided an effective first line of defense against Saddam Hussein's efforts to produce and hide usable germ and nerve gas weapons.

Diplomacy backed by the threat of force has moved Mr. Saddam before, and may again. If it does not, Washington will have no choice but to launch missile strikes and bombing raids aimed at the pressure points of his dictatorship, including bases of elite security units like the Special Republican Guards. The goal would be to persuade Mr. Saddam to cut his losses by letting the inspectors go back to work.

The risks that such action would fracture international support for economic sanctions against Baghdad are much reduced. Mr. Saddam's recent actions have left him isolated.

Washington has a few more days to see whether diplomacy works.

Pub Date: 11/13/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.