Thursday, February 06, 2003

No rally to Powell's evidence at U.N.
"British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw compared the current U.N. approach to Iraq to the inactivity of world powers between the wars that led to the rise of Hitler and World War II. Straw said the United Nations' predecessor, the League of Nations, "had the same high ideals as the U.N." but failed to take action. As a result, "small evils went unchecked, tyrants were emboldened, then greater evils were unleashed. At each stage, good men said wait; the evil is not big enough to challenge," Straw went on. "Then before our eyes the evil became too big to challenge. ... We owe it to our history as well as to our future not to make the same mistake again."

It is ridiculous to compare Saddam Hussein and Iraq - a ruined, disarmed and impoverished country which poses no real threat to any of its neighbours, much less to the United States - to Hitler and Nazi Germany. The statement fits far more closely if the United States itself is in the dock. As John Pilger has said, Tony Blair and his government are presiding over the worst case of appeasement since the 1930s - and that is appeasing the aggressive, unilateral warmongering of the Bush Administration, the Third Reich of our time. The credibility of the United Nations is directly on the line in this historic crisis - whether it will live up to its charter and purpose and take a stand against aggressive war, or whether it will fail, stand aside, and watch helplessly as war, violence and catastrophe gathers pace.

"The French foreign minister proposed doubling or tripling the number of inspectors, opening more regional offices, and setting up a clearing house of intelligence information to make it available to the inspectors in real time. He also suggested appointing a permanent U.N. coordinator for disarmament in Iraq, stationed in Baghdad and working under the authority of Hans Blix, the U.N. head of the inspection process."

It has fallen to France to lead the world in opposing US aggression. Unfortunately, most commentators believe that in the end France and the Security Council will buckle under to US pressure, as they have always done in the past.

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