Posted by Jeff from pcp02828637pcs.roylok01.mi.comcast.net (188.8.131.52) on Saturday, October 19, 2002 at 4:28AM :
A.M. Rosenthal is a Daily News Columnist.
George Shultz is right:
Hit Iraq hard and fast
"Preemption," said George Shultz. "You can't negotiate with the terrorists. You've got to put them down. People are shocked by that word. Get used to it."
Americans unwilling to confront Saddam Hussein's Iraqi despotism or any other terrorist movement, government or axis of terrorism should start understanding and absorbing that word - preemption - immediately.
Shultz spoke strongly when he was secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan, and he speaks strongly now. Recently, he talked before an audience of several hundred in New York that received him the way he spoke: openly, soberly.
Dictatorships fight hard when they attack - or are attacked. Shultz reminded the audience that terrorism is "not a task for law enforcement." Politically and militarily, preemption would mean the U.S., and its allies that remain faithful, would use their nonnuclear strength to wipe out the greatest danger existing: Saddam-directed world terrorism.
The heart of preemption would be full-scale U.S. air, sea and land attacks to destroy swiftly and completely Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
A war of preemption carried out early and swiftly would probably ravage Iraqi cities, but it would prevent Saddam from wiping out millions of his opponents at home. They were forced to vote for him with their blood. That political hideousness simply emphasizes Saddam's awareness of his own political fears.
A war of preemption might end the danger of the elimination of Israel that is never out of the minds of Muslim fanatics. "Preemption" would become a shouted cheer for Saddam's enemies everywhere.
For all his supporters, it would mean complete defeat and elimination of the Iraqi dictatorship he has been master and executioner of for decades. Some of his high officers might remain alive under preemption, but not many.
Preemption is almost always carried out to the point of "regime change," as the Bush administration puts it. Throughout history, leaders of dictatorships have been far more likely to be carried to the execution block than home to hearth and family. The distaste for capital punishment has not yet spread from Europe to the Mideast. Saddam and the entire high command of his private and huge spy apparatus would die - an essential for the creation of a new regime.
The choice between preemption of Saddam and some form of Munich-ism is now at the root of the struggle between the United States and its allies and Iraq and the UN chorus of former American allies like Germany.
Several key realities, aside from military power, will decide loss or victory. President Bush is a forthright leader on foreign affairs. He earned his place by understanding that all terrorists are America's enemies and have to be treated that way. What other Western leader looked at that reality straight and tried to educate his country about its truth? If Bush gives in to appeasers of Iraq here and abroad, he will quickly lose the reputation and the strength that goes with it.
Now Bush owes to Great Britain's Tony Blair what Roosevelt and Churchill came to owe to each other: trust and strength. France and Germany insult and desert the United States, but they are already in the garbage pail of international respect.
Bush and Blair carry a burden that Roosevelt and Churchill never felt. It is called the United Nations. The organization we all had so much hope for is no longer a great working ideal. It is mostly a collection of sycophants, liars, double-crossers. A partial translation is in order: Saddam supporters inside the secretariat, North Korea, a couple of dozen other countries whose last words of honesty cannot be remembered and now, of course, France and Germany.
There also are some good folk at the UN, but their influence is only now and then. One day, after Saddam's wars are over, we will have to drop our membership in our own self-interest - or carry out diplomatic preemption against the organization whose members we have saved so often and from whom we receive, so often, little but the contempt they see in their own mirrors.
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