Iraq's weapons dodges won't change outcome

Wednesday, October 9, 2002

Last week, Iraq agreed to a plan for the return of United Nations weapons inspectors for the first time in nearly four years -- with the usual Saddam Hussein weasel-clause and unacceptable wiggle room: The Iraqis ignored U.S. demands for access to Saddam's palaces and other contested sites.

It is useful to recall that Saddam recently categorized eight new structures as presidential palaces. These occupy a staggering 12 square miles of territory. Thus, there are eight huge, new potential sites for hiding his weapons of mass destruction: chemical, biological and nuclear.

This is wholly unacceptable, and strengthens the already overwhelming case President Bush has been making for action against the outlaw Iraqi regime. It is a case the president made again Monday night in his important national address on the subject.

It now looks as though both houses of Congress are moving inexorably toward overwhelming votes favoring the necessary granting of authority to the president for the coming action.

No amount of Iraqi dodges on weapons inspection will change this reality.

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