I think we’ve seen this movie before
President Bush plans at least two more weeks of diplomacy before deciding whether to attack Iraq and may support a deadline for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to visibly destroy his chemical and biological weapons, administration officials said Monday.
Officials said the United States and Britain are likely to push for an enforcement resolution in the United Nations Security Council this week. One option being considered, a senior administration official said, was a demand for â€œactual disarmamentâ€ by Iraq within a specified number of days.
â€œIt would say, â€˜This is your last window,â€™â€ the official said.
As the administration has tried to keep the pressure on Iraq, it often has implied in the past two months that a final deadline was near. Officials suggested Monday that Bushâ€™s rough timetable has always been slightly longer than many diplomats assumed when he announced on Jan. 30 that the issue of how to deal with Saddam would be resolved in â€œa matter of weeks, not months.â€
But this time, the administration appears to have left little room for retreat from a timetable heading toward a final decision in about two weeks. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice on Sunday implied that what she called a â€œdiplomatic windowâ€ would close following the next council meeting at the end of this month, when members will again hear an assessment of Iraqi cooperation from Blix. She was dismissive of a French suggestion that the council schedule yet another meeting on March 14.
Military action against Iranâ€™s nuclear program is not the United Statesâ€™ first choice but can never be ruled out, President Bush said Friday.
â€œFirst of all, you never want a president to say never, but military action is certainly not, is never the presidentâ€™s first choice,â€ Bush told Belgian television channel VRT, when asked if he could rule out military action against Iran.
â€œDiplomacy is always the presidentâ€™s, or at least always my first choice and weâ€™ve got a common goal, and that is that Iran should not have a nuclear weapon,â€ he said in the interview taped in Washington earlier and broadcast before his arrival in Brussels on Sunday for summits with NATO and the European Union.
EU officials want Washington to show more explicit support to efforts by Britain, France and Germany to win guarantees from Tehran that its nuclear program is peaceful â€” for example by easing U.S. resistance to Iranâ€™s candidacy for the World Trade Organization.
But Bush, applauding the European efforts, suggested there was no divergence between the policy of Washington and Europe on Iran and voiced confidence that they could succeed together in ensuring that Iran did not develop a nuclear device.
…and if you really want to re-live the run-up on Iraq, this is quite a hoot.
Some ask how urgent this danger is to America and the world. The danger is already significant, and it only grows worse with time. If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today — and we do — does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?
Whoops. Our bad. Nevermind. Strike that. Sorry….