No WMDs in Iraq? Why It Matters: The Bush Administration Insisted That We Must Go to War Because Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Posed an Imminent Threat. Surprise! It Was Really a War to Strengthen the UN
Jasper, William F., The New American
David Kay's disclosures touched off a firestorm. After retiring on January 23 as the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, Dr. Kay reported that not only did his teams fail to discover any weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) but that he now believes the weapons didn't exist when President Bush launched the war against Iraq in March 2003.
As to be expected in an election year, the Kay revelations stoked the already-burning political debate about whether the administration cooked intelligence reports to make Saddam's WMD threat appear large enough and imminent enough to justify going to war.
Partisan wrangling over this issue has almost completely obscured what is perhaps the most important and alarming development to come out of the Iraq War: a major boost for the United Nations.
Charles J. Hanley, Associated Press special correspondent covering WMD-related issues for the past two decades, is one of the few reporters who have put two and two together. In a January 25 article entitled, "Iraq WMD Flap May Bolster U.N. Position," Mr. Hanley wrote:
Whatever the political backlash in election-year America, the U.S. retreat on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction signals a victory in the larger fight to control the deadliest of weapons. Sanctions and inspections, the United Nations and global teamwork appear to have worked in curbing Iraq's ambitions.
Hanley went on to note that:
Kay had concluded that years of earlier U.N. inspections had "got rid off" weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. "The weapons do not exist," he told National Public Radio. That finding, if accepted in the corridors of power in Washington, may help revive a unified, U.N.-led strategy on arms proliferation, a strategy in which economic pressure, diplomacy and inspectors supplant the threat of unilateral U.S. attack. In North Korea, Iran and wherever else WMD ambitions may grow, Kay's words could help clear the way again for a peaceful approach to arms control.
Empowering the UN
Hanley's point deserves emphasis: It was, he says, years of UN inspections that "got rid of" Saddam's WMDs. And the "peaceful approach to arms control," he implies, is an expanded, empowered global UN inspection regime. That inspection regime is expected, ultimately, to have authority to inspect all U.S. weapons sites or possible weapons sites as well.
Mr. Hanley is not alone in this analysis. We would do well to pay attention to Robert Wright on this score as well. Professor Wright, an unflinching advocate of world government, noted in a New York Times column last year that President Bush, despite his seeming anti-UN rhetoric, has bestowed upon the UN "a prominence it has rarely enjoyed in its 57-year history." "In fact," Professor Wright mused, "there remains a slim chance that the president could, however paradoxically, emerge as a historic figure in the United Nations' own evolution toward enduring significance." Wright's point that "if Nixon could go to China, President Bush can go through New York," was especially telling.
For those too young to understand the significance of the professor's Nixon-China reference, it was President Richard Nixon, a reputed conservative Republican, who sold out Taiwan, our anti-Communist ally, leading to its expulsion from the UN, and its replacement in that world body by Communist China. And it was the same Nixon, who had built a reputation as an anti-Communist and an opponent of Red China, who went to Beijing and paved the way for completely reversing U.S. policy and establishing relations with Mao's Communist regime. Those betrayals more than three decades ago started the massive loans, aid and technology transfers that have transformed Red China into the global economic and military power that now poses one of the greatest dangers to our lives and livelihoods. …