Sanctions and suffering

The United Nations inspection team, which has resumed its work in Iraq, offers the best way of curtailing Saddam Hussein's weapons program. In its seven years of operation, the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) has reportedly destroyed over 40,000 chemical weapons, 700 tons of chemical weapons agents, 48 missiles and 30 warheads.

President Clinton was well aware of this when he canceled a threatened air strike on November 15. Though a military attack would demonstrate the resolve of the U.S. and its allies in enforcing the sanctions on Iraq, it would be less effective than UNSCOM in uncovering and destroying Iraq's weapons. Since a military strike is also bound to cause civilian casualties, create dissension in the UN Security Council, and undermine U.S. relations with Arab countries--and do nothing, meanwhile, to dislodge Hussein--it is not an option that has much to recommend it.

 

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