IT'S SHOWDOWN TIME AT U.N. AS POWELL TAKES ON EURO-WEASELS
February 14, 2003 -- WASHINGTON - Weasel so-called allies France and Germany will hear fresh evidence today of Iraqi stonewalling, at an 11th-hour showdown with the United States in the U.N. Security Council.
As chief weapons inspector Hans Blix gives his final report, Secretary of State Colin Powell has vowed to confront the war wimps - who are leading the push against American military action - and ask them if they are simply buying time to get Saddam Hussein "off the hook."
With the United Nations set to decide whether to impose the "serious consequences" it threatened in a unanimous vote last year, President Bush yesterday bluntly challenged France and Germany to get some "backbone."
"The decision is this for the United Nations: When you say something, does it mean anything?" Bush told troops yesterday at the Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Fla.
"I'm optimistic that free nations will show backbone and courage in the face of true threats to peace and freedom," added the president, who sported a military jacket and spoke flanked by rows of sailors in crisp uniforms.
Bush stressed that America must protect the world "from these thugs" but U.S. troops won't have to go it alone even if the United Nations balks since there are plenty of "friends and allies" who agree that Saddam must be stopped.
If it comes to war, "America will act deliberately, America will act decisively and America will act victoriously with the world's greatest military," he vowed to the cheering troops.
Chief weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei today are expected to report that Iraq has longer-range missiles that explicitly violate the 93-mile U.N. limit aimed at keeping Saddam from attacking his neighbors.
ElBaradei said yesterday that he will ask for more time for inspections to continue.
Blix gave a surprisingly tough report on Jan. 27 and has since spoken of only limited progress and no real sign Iraq will disarm. The big question is how tough he'll be today.
France and Germany insist there's not enough to justify war - not the missiles, nor Saddam's failure to account for tons of lethal VX nerve gas and 25,000 liters of anthrax, as well as a host of other mass-murder weapons.
Powell and other foreign ministers will be at the Security Council for the huddle that could begin the countdown to war - and Powell has vowed to confront the reluctant French and Germans.
"The question I will put to them is, 'Why more inspections? And how much more time? Or are you just delaying for the sake of delaying in order to get Saddam off the hook and no disarmament?' That's a challenge I will put them," Powell told Congress.