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Volume 68, Issue 82, January 27, 2003


Staff Editorial


Matthew Dulin        Ray Hafner       Geronimo Rodriguez
         Shaun Salnave          Cara Sarelli

Don't attack Iraq

It probably shouldn't be surprising that everyone expects us to attack Iraq. Colin Powell is jaunting around the world, making statements about the United States acting with or without the approval of any other world governments: "When we feel strongly about something, we will lead, we will act, even if others are not prepared to join us," quoted the New York Times.

What should surprise us is that these statements are being made, that this position is being taken, with no clear mandate from the public Powell and his boss are supposed to represent.

The number of those who approve of the Bush administration's treatment of Iraq, according to Washington Post-ABC News polls since August, have been steadily declining, while the number of those who do not approve has been climbing. As of the 20th, only 50 percent of those polled (down from a high of 68) approve -- hardly the mandate the Bush administration pretends it to be.

Perhaps even more telling, only 39 percent believe that Bush has enough evidence to justify military action against Iraq -- 58 percent would like to see more.

Seven in 10 Americans would like to give UN weapons inspectors more time in Iraq. Colin Powell, however, does not share the majority opinion. According to the New York Times, he has stated that it would be useless to give the inspectors more time.

At some point, the leaders of the world seem to have accepted U.S. conflict with Iraq as a foregone conclusion. Take, for example, King Abdullah of Jordan's statement that "we are a bit 'too little, too late' to see a diplomatic solution," the New York Times reported.

If the United States acts against Iraq, it will do so with the support of a dozen nations, according to Colin Powell. Powell doesn't name those nations, so it's difficult to say exactly how strong their support would be, but it's easy enough to see what nations they won't be.

Germany, until recently one of our strongest allies in international relations, is against military confrontation with Iraq. France has promised to use its Security Council veto power to block any movement proposal to that effect. While Tony Blair may not be against it, the overwhelming majority of his people are.

It's nice of Bush and Powell to take into consideration not only the opinions of the international community, but also those of their own people. It's nice that they're waiting until the inspectorsi report comes out to say it's useless.
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