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Is Half-Compliance Compliance?
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It seems to me that the fundamental justification for war boils down to this question. Let's look again at the now infamous Security Council Resolution 1441 just one more time.

After quite a bit of "recalling" and "deploring" of Iraq's previous behavior regarding U.N. resolutions, we get to what's being asked of them this time:

1. Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq's failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors and the IAEA, and to complete the actions required under paragraphs 8 to 13 of resolution 687 (1991);

2. Decides, while acknowledging paragraph 1 above, to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council;

It then goes on to talk about what compliance entails, and finally wraps up with what's going to happen if Iraq doesn't comply:

13. Recalls, in that context, that the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations;

So then, it's very clear what the resolution calls for, and it's very clear that if Iraq doesn't comply then there are to be consequences.

But the real question to be answered is: Is half compliance compliance?

Most of the anti-war crowd points to the 20,000-page "declaration" and says, "Well, no it wasn't a complete farce. They turned one in, didn't they?" They point to Iraq agonizingly slowly relenting to U2 flights, interviews with scientists, and the piecemeal destruction of banned missiles, and they say "See? It's working."

Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Or more to the specific point, is a half-full glass completely full?

The question is rhetorical of course, and at this point I would ask those Americans and those in other countries who dissent against military action to disarm Iraq to please forgive us for being impatient with dictators storing and developing horrendously powerful weapons.

We lost four plane-loads of Americans, one side of our Pentagon, full of people, and a jagged scar was ripped into our most vibrant, diverse city, killing thousands more. Forgive us for realizing that it could have been a whole lot worse if the terrorists had not just turned our own jets against us, but had gotten their hands on the even more powerful weapons they desperately crave.

Forgive us for finally taking a strong stand against petty thugs, for backing up international will with principled threats of force, and for acting on those threats if need be.

We were viciously, indiscriminately attacked. We paid the price of complacency and inaction. We ignored the threats and warning signs until it was too late, and now we no longer have the luxury of deluding ourselves.

We can no longer afford to see the half-full glass as full.

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