BY word and action, the Bush Administration signaled clearly yesterday that
it was pressing ahead with plans to remove Saddam Hussein from power in the near
In spite of growing opposition abroad to an American military operation against Baghdad, Condoleezza Rice, the US National Security Advisor, said that Washington did “not have the luxury of doing nothing” and hinted broadly the Iraqi leader would be gone sooner rather than later.
Her threat coincided with moves by Washington to recruit international relief agencies to work in Iraq, possibly to provide humanitarian aid in the event of a war.
The State Department sent a letter to various charities and non-governmental
organizations, inviting tenders to undertake medical care, refugee relief, shelter,
water supply, education and sanitation — rebuilding that will be necessary after
any military campaign.
The department is linking the bidding to a $6.6-million fund to establish at least five US relief projects in and around Iraq, the first time the US has funded such work since the beginning of the UN sanctions 12 years ago.
The reason for the preparations became clear yesterday when Ms Rice, President
Bush’s closest adviser on foreign policy, said that Saddam was a threat to world
security and should go. “This is an evil man who, left to his own devices, will
wreak havoc on his own population, his neighbors and, if he gets weapons of mass
destruction and the means to deliver them, on all of us,” she told the BBC. “It
is a very powerful moral case.”
Although she insisted that Mr Bush had not yet made a decision about military action against Iraq, she said that Washington was committed to removing the threat soon.
The fresh saber-rattling in Washington provoked outrage among opponents of
the war in London. Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat spokesman on foreign
affairs, said “moral authority” did not justify breaking international law.
“There will be no world order if the most powerful states are entitled to remove other governments at will,” he said. “There is no doctrine of international law which justifies regime change.”
Copyright 2002 Times Newspapers Ltd