Will war come?

Is the headline in the New York Post approvingly proclaimed, President George W. Bush’s January 28 State of the Union speech was an instance of "Pounding the War Drum." After a dutiful résumé of his domestic proposals, Bush launched an impassioned and emotionally effective presentation of the reasons for disarming Iraq and, short of that, for war with Hussein’s regime. He asserted, without offering new or compelling proof, that Iraq has ties to Al Qaeda and continues to pose an imminent danger to the United States and the world. "Imagine those nineteen hijackers with other weapons, and other plans-this time armed by Saddam Hussein," Bush suggested. "We will do everything in our power to make sure that day never comes."

Is Bush telling the truth? Or is he exploiting the national trauma of September 11 for political gain and adventurism abroad?

Those are not easy questions to answer. Bush’s skepticism about Iraqi compliance with UN disarmament mandates was given considerable weight earlier that week by the report of Hans Blix, the UN’s chief weapons inspector. Blix told the UN that Iraq remains uncooperative and has failed to account for known quantities of biological and chemical agents. Blix "Finds No Proof Hussein Has Disarmed," said the New York Times headline. As we go to press, Secretary of State Colin Powell is about to present previously undisclosed "evidence" to the UN Security Council that Iraq...

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