U.S. should step back, let U.N. team do its job

What others say

Posted: Monday, November 25, 2002

Many of us assume President Bush or one of his key associates would play the key role in deciding the outcome of the United Nations' revived search for weapons laboratories in Iraq. The president most assuredly will decide whether the American military should get involved, but for now he will step back and let a Swedish inspector, Hans Blix, take the lead.

Blix, who was part of the U.N. team in Iraq for several years after the Persian Gulf War, is the leader of the group that soon will return to the Middle Eastern country. ...

Blix, who previously ran the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, was a compromise choice to lead the inspections team. Since his appointment ... he has built a close relationship with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and made clear that his allegiances are strictly to the Security Council, which oversees his mission.

From the start, the Iraqis will almost certainly test Blix's, and the U.N.'s, resolve. For example, will the inspectors have free rein to look anywhere they choose, including Saddam's palaces?

We shall soon see. It is instructive to remember that, in the seven years that U.N. inspectors spent in Iraq during the last decade, they uncovered and destroyed plenty of nuclear and chemical weapons programs. It is up to Blix's team to finish the job.

-- Enterprise-Journal, McComb, Miss. - Nov. 17

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