Sunday, September 22, 2002



For a while we thought maybe, just maybe, the Bush administration was engaged in a sophisticated and convincing bluff, talking imminent
war in order to bring Iraq into compliance with UN inspection requirements. In the last two weeks, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and Mr. Rumsfeld
destroyed that fleeting hope with rejection of inspections as a "ploy" and declarations that only Saddam Hussein's departure from office
would avert war.

Mr. Hussein is an evil, despicable ruler, but he is not alone in that attribute. And Iraq is not the only nation disregarding UN resolutions. But,
apparently, the administration considers Iraq, even a weaponless Iraq, such a threat to the U.S. that we can invoke this newly-minted
pre-emptive strike doctrine. We contained the much more dangerous Soviet Union for 50 years, but now the world's superpower is acting
like a frightened bully.

Noone can tell what our invasion of a sovereign nation will cost in civilian lives, stalemate in rebuilding of Afganistan, turmoil in Middle East
and slowdown in the hunt for Ben Ladin and the Al Qaeda network. Mr. Bush seems determined to find out.