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December 6, 2004
Jack Straw Suffers From UN Delusions Of Adequacy

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, commenting on the proposed structural changes to the UN currently under review, asserted that the rules change on pre-emptive military action would have resulted in an approval of the Iraq invasion had they existed prior to 2003:

New rules being proposed for a reformed United Nations might have allowed the United States and Britain to carry out their invasion of Iraq with the approval of the world body, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said.

"Had this new jurisprudence been there, I think the Security Council would probably -- you can't be certain -- have decided to take Chapter 7 action against Iraq in respect of human rights abuses," Straw told the daily The Independent.

"That would have been as much a basis for determining an ultimatum by the Council as weapons of mass destruction became. They are dealing with situations before a latent threat becomes imminent. That's very important," he added.

You can't be certain, indeed. Straw has performed magnificently over the past few years, but he must be suffering from delusions if he thinks the Security Council would ever have approved military action against Saddam Hussein. Whatever the new rules propose, the UNSC always had the option of using military force to disarm Hussein. The terms of the Safwan cease-fire had been continually violated by the Iraqi regime, and sixteen UNSC resolutions had been roundly ignored. The UNSC could have acted at any time to re-open hostilities on those bases alone; it simply chose not to.

Why? The member-nations of the UNSC disparage pre-war intelligence on Saddam's WMD activity now, but they supplied a good deal of it themselves. Everyone agreed that Saddam had not only not complied with requirements to destroy his existing WMD stocks but appeared to be producing even more. They simply lacked the will to do anything about it other than continue a ridiculous sanctions regime that wound up enriching Saddam himself beyond all dreams of lucre, as well as a few of these same UNSC member-states.

While Straw is correct that the new rules would have allowed one more mechanism to bring justice to Saddam, they do nothing to supply the will required to do so -- or to remove the corruption that made it impossible.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 6, 2004 6:01 AM

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