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War & Peace

War. Who Could Possibly Be For It?

By Francisco Javier Cimadevilla

February 13, 2003
Copyright © 2003 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

War. Who Could Possibly Be For It?

Saddam Hussein, it seems. He’s been given every reasonable opportunity, and then some, to do what was required of him by the United Nations: to prove he had disarmed and destroyed all weapons of mass destruction. According to the U.N., the burden of proof is on Saddam. Those who argue the United States and Great Britain haven’t "proved their case" for war are wrong. It is Saddam who has to prove his case for peace. He hasn’t.

The U.N. Weapons inspectors who left Iraq years ago because of lack of cooperation from Saddam knew then that he was working on weapons of mass destruction. What has happened with those weapons and materials in the ensuing years? The burden is on Saddam to prove he stopped the buildup and disposed of whatever he had. To this day, he hasn’t satisfied the inspectors. He has just cleverly played with them.

The proposal advanced by Germany and Russia this week to triple the number of U.N. Weapons inspectors and send in U.N. Peacekeepers are a misguided effort to avert war, which will only give Saddam more time to cover up. Three hundred inspectors will be no more effective than 102 at covering 172,476 square miles of Iraqi territory, a landmass equivalent to the states of Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia combined.

Besides, the credibility of the U.N. At this point has been seriously compromised. What can you expect from an international organization whose human rights committee is chaired by Libya and whose disarmament committee is about to be chaired by. . .you guessed it. . .Iraq!

Time has run out for Saddam. And so it is all but certain that before the month is over, the U.S. Will lead a group of nations in an all-out invasion of Iraq to force him out and ensure all weapons of mass destruction have been destroyed.

In all likelihood, it will be a short engagement. Experts indicate Iraq’s military force is half the size of the one the allies encountered during operation desert storm 12 years ago. It is ill-trained and equipped with old weapons. Except for the complications that could arise from Iraq’s use of chemical or biological weapons, and perhaps fierce retrenchment into downtown Baghdad, which could complicate the operation some, the thrust of the war is expected to be over in less than two weeks. The aftermath, including the transition to a democratic regime in Iraq, is, of course, another matter.

Peace. Who is willing to pay the price?

We all should. All war is, of course, terrible. But the price of not acting against Saddam now would be higher later. The silver lining here is that a short war will finally clear up the uncertainty that has bogged down the recovery of the U.S. economy, including Puerto Rico’s, for the past year.

As reported in our front-page story this week, the economic impact of the war will depend on what scenario unravels. Given the expectation of a short war, both the mainland U.S. And island economies could be experiencing a more vigorous recovery by midyear. While the overall, long-range war on terrorism will continue to cast a cloud, dispelling the uncertainties of war with Iraq will provide a positive boost to both consumer and investor confidence.

In 1991, following victory in desert storm, the u.s. Economy started to recuperate quickly from the recession. The effect was also positive on the island. Today, the economic conditions are more favorable. So, a quick resolution of the conflict, including a stabilization of the price of crude oil, is likely to yield even more positive results.

Businesses in Puerto Rico would do well to revise their plans for the year to make sure they are prepared to take advantage of a moderate pickup in the economy as soon as the war with Iraq ends.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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