Monday, September 17, 2007

Legally Blonde

IAEA chief ElBaradei went way outside his lane in arguing that Iran should not be struck to prevent it from getting atomic weapons:

Saying only the U.N. Security Council could authorize the use of force, ElBaradei urged the world to remember Iraq before considering any similar action against Iran.

"There are rules on how to use force, and I would hope that everybody would have gotten the lesson after the Iraq situation, where 700,000 innocent civilians have lost their lives on the suspicion that a country has nuclear weapons," he told reporters.

He was alluding to a key U.S. argument for invading Iraq in 2003 without Security Council approval_ that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear arms. Four years later, no such arsenals have been found.

First, the UN charter does not preclude nations from waging war in their own defense without a UNSC authorization. Just two wars have met that standard of approval--Korea and the Persian Gulf War.

Second, there is not chance in Hades that Iraqi civilian casualties are much more than a tenth of what he claims. And the responsibility for those casualties rests with the enemy who targets civilians with bombs and murder and the enemy who fights among the enemy for protections.

Third, we never claimed Saddam had nuclear weapons. We knew he had and used chemical weapons, so suspected he still had them (and our discovery after the invasion of massive amounts of basic ingredients for nerve gas shows Saddam was ready to roll, while our discovery of hundreds of old chemical shells shows we don't necessarily know if more recent shells are still buried); we knew that Saddam had hidden his nuclear program prior to 1991, and so feared that Saddam's obstruction of inspectors' work could mean Saddam had restarted the program; and, based on mind-1990s revelations of Saddam's work on biological weapons, we worried that Saddam could have restarted this work in even a small laboratory.

ElBaradei should stay within his lane. His opinions on other matters are apparently worthless. He should focus on his job of keeping Iran from using nuclear technology to build atomic weapons.

Honestly, I sometimes wonder if he even cares to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.