Jewish World Review Feb. 6, 2003 / 4 Adar I 5763

Paul Greenberg

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The Prosecution rest: Colin Powell at the U.N. | If you haven't read Kenneth Pollack's "The Threatening Storm," or you've been paying more attention to the NFL than the Middle East for the last few months, Colin Powell's hour-long presentation Wednesday before the United Nations summed up the overwhelming case against Saddam Hussein.

The American secretary of state, and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made some things very clear: Just pointing with alarm won't do anymore. Nor will dispatching more U.N. inspectors to find little or nothing. The time for the U.N.'s Inspector Clouseaus and Mister Magoos has almost run out. It is time to act. Before the world is facing not just a dangerous megalomaniac but a dangerous megalomaniac with nukes.

Then there are the scary chemical and biological arsenals that Saddam Hussein has been busy not quite hiding from spy satellites, radio interceptions and American and Western intelligence in general. Secretary Powell's evidence was overwhelming, and you know there's a lot more of it where that came from in the still classified files.

It is not Colin Powell whose word is at stake here; it is the will of the United Nations. That debating society can finally act, or it can join the League of Nations in the museum -- the latest sad example of the world's failure to build an effective system of collective security.

General Powell demonstrated something else yesterday besides Saddam Hussein's perfidy. He demonstrated good faith. He shared some valuable intelligence with the United Nations, possibly jeopardizing means that might have been of considerable value in the coming war with Iraq. The administration's decision to go public with some of these revelations may have been the only debatable aspect of the secretary of state's presentation.

But a nation founded on "a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind" could do nothing less. This country has gone the extra mile and then some to make its case.

It's no secret that Secretary Powell has been the most influential voice in the administration's counsels urging the president and commander-in-chief to go through the United Nations before taking action against this clear and ever present danger. Well, the secretary of state won out, and, whatever happens now, this country, with Great Britain and a whole Coalition of the Willing at our side, will have given the United Nations every chance to disarm Iraq. If it does not, it will have chosen irrelevance over action, just as its predecessor did.

General Powell's comprehensive case may have persuaded all those open to reason and experience, but the dawdlers we will always have with us -- the appeasers at home and abroad, the Hate America crowd overseas, and of course the French and Germans, who seem bent on reliving the sad saga of the Thirties.

Listening to the French ambassador, the surreal question occurred: Was this the Security Council or a time warp? Wasn't this the voice of the Third Republic rather than the Fifth? The spirit of appeasement hovering over the Security Council was as thick as the sanctimony.

God bless the French, someone once said, they're always there when they need us. Well, Lafayette, we have arrived twice this past century to rescue Europe, and that debt has been paid in full. With the blood of our finest. This country is not prepared to pay for Europe's follies a third time, not after Sept. 11.

It is time to move on with the new Europe at our side, and leave the old to hesitate, debate and generally wallow in indecision. Colin Powell has now made the case for action. Clearly, comprehensively, conclusively. If the critical front in every recent conflict is the home front, Secretary/General Powell may have just enlisted it in the war effort.

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