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IMHO

February 14th, 2003

People rush out to the stores to buy plastic and duct tape, water and batteries. The streets of DC now have military vehicles, armed with stinger missiles and solders armed with M16’s. The terrorist have already achieved their first goal; most people are terrified that something is going to happen.. Sorry but I don’t think that plastic and duct tape are going to keep the VX nerve gas out any more then they will keep the air in.

‘m not scared. I’m disgusted with the whole situation. I live 10 blocks from the White House, and I’m not going to change my routine. I’m not running down to the hardware store in a futile effort to prevent chemical weapons from getting into my house. I’m going to go out to the coffee shop, drive to work everyday, visit my friends and live my American life, without looking nervously at every truck that drives down the road, every plane in the air or every person on the street.

I don’t know what the number are, but many people are opposed to the push towards war. Unfortunately seeing armed guards on every street corner will, even as it scares, anger many people and they will push harder for war. Rather than begin the long hard task of looking the causes, the grievances against the US, that drive the terrorist, and the institutions which bread new recruits, it is easier to send our military now to kill those who hate us.

Anyone with half a brain, if they use it can see that war may solve the problem for the next few years, at least at that location, but unless we want to continue to police that place forever — becoming another Israel in Palestine — it will not solve the long term problem and will, there and elsewhere breed more hate, that will sting us later.

George Bush challenged the UN to stand up and decide if they want to be relevant or fad away to become an unimportant debating society. Whatever forces, Powell or otherwise within the Bush administration that are pushing for the a UN resolution are correct. The UN is caught up too much in politics, those nations who have permanent seats on the Security Council, including the US, have too much power and use this power as a bargaining tool against the other permanent nations. Nations, like France, who have little more international clout than any other country have distinct importance because they can single handedly veto any security action in the UN. France in particular seams determined to play a dangerous game of ‘oppose the US, because it is too powerful’ (which I don’t believe is wrong) combined with a ‘appease Iraq because of our economic interests.’ The appeasement bares too much similarity to the European policies which allowed Hitler and the Nazi to rebuild the German war machine in the years leading up to WWII.

Saddam may not be another Hitler, but the power of todays weapons means that he does not need a zealous following to rain horrors on the world. Missiles that can reach far off countries armed with chemicals, diseases or radiation are threat enough. For 14 years the UN, the body charged with keeping the international peace has played cat-and-mouse with Saddam. Hopelessly caught up in it’s own red tape and inflated sense of importance they have allowed Saddam to violate resolutions and ignore the UN’s will. Like a child who knows that his parents will bark but never bite Saddam has learned to give just enough to keep the dogs at bay and do what he wants. The UN needs to stand up, and deal with the situation — if that means sending in a few hundred thousand troops under command of the UN/weapons inspectors to seek out and destroy weapons rather than try to verify Iraq’s lies or to send in troops from ALL the UN member states to deal with Iraq. The decision needs to be made. Debate away, but come to an action. Non-action will lead the UN to irrelevance in the world.

The UN needs to also deal, swiftly and in one voice, with North Korea. The UN has an opportunity to set a prescient in dealing with countries who violate their treaties and agreements. To deal with countries who threaten other countries. The UN should call together Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea — at a minimum should be told involved in any talks. North Korea wants to talk with just the US. I agree with Colin Powell who yesterday said that this was unacceptable. Clinton played into North Korea’s weapons blackmail because he did not have the support of North Korea’s neighbors. Now they seam to agree that North Korea with Nukes is a bad idea. Now is the time for those countries to stand up and take a position in the international world. To say to North Korea that they will not sit ideally buy and wait while North Korea makes and test nuclear weapons. We need to isolate North Korea with such local international pressure, but with the offer of friendship should they give up their desire for weapons, so as to make it in their best interest to back down and negotiate economically with other countries and to ask the UN to watch as they dismantle any weapons programs they have.

Iran too should ask the UN to come and watch as it works with it’s nuclear plants, to allow the international community to relax, knowing that it is not seeking to make weapons. I know that this is something no sovereign country would like to do, but if they really have not desire to make weapons then ANY country should swallow it’s pride and ask that the UN observe then so as to develop a record of cooperation and non-aggression. Once the world trusts them, then they will be able to benefit from that trust, but they must regain the worlds trust,

Of course all this will lead to more hatred of ‘the west,’ and the US in particular. But that is a problem that only a long term commitment to pulling the rest of the world up to equal footing with us can possible hope to defeat. Those countries in a position of power or wealth in the world, (read industrialzed not just the USA) must deal with threats, be they in Africa, the Middle East, Asia or anywhere, that threaten any part of the worlds security today. This may include short term solutions like military action, but it must also include long term commitmant %G–%@ in money, time, and any other nessisary things to fixing the root of the problems. It will not be a short struggle and it will not be easy — much of what causes the problems steems from hate, hate rooted in different ideologies what will never see eye to eye. Bur either we live in a world full of threats forever or we lay the foundation now for a possible future will less threats and maybe even a peaceful world.

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