OPINION

Peaceful means

We have to date found no evidence that Iraq has revived its nuclear program.» Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, left no room for misinterpretation when presenting the UN weapons inspectors’ findings in Iraq so far to the UN Security Council. «Our work is steadily progressing and should be allowed to run its natural course,» he said, adding that a «few months» will be needed before the UN inspection team can provide credible assurance that Baghdad is currently harboring no nuclear program. ElBaradei tried to convince the Security Council not to abandon diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis, even more so in the light of the lack of any evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq’s arsenal. «These few months would be a valuable investment in peace, because it could help avoid a war,» ElBaradei said. ElBaradei’s counterpart, top weapons inspector Hans Blix, asked for more time to bring the disarmament task to completion. «It would appear from our experience so far that Iraq has decided in principle to provide cooperation on the process, notably access. A similar decision is indispensable to provide cooperation on substance in order to bring the disarmament task to completion, through the peaceful process of inspection, and to bring the monitoring task on a firm course,» Blix said. As was expected of them, the inspectors said two things: First, that nothing reprehensible has been found so far and, second, that they need additional time, a few months perhaps, to bring their mission to an end. It would be a grave mistake not to give the inspectors that extra few months that will enable them to come to final conclusions. War is always undesirable. But it becomes atrocious when its causes are not sufficiently substantiated, when the people are not convinced that war has been declared only in order to avoid a greater evil. Even France and Germany, the EU’s prime movers, remain unconvinced of the need to attack Iraq. Millions of people worldwide – in America as well – are holding anti-war rallies. The cross-Atlantic ties are suffering their worst crisis in decades. There are many reasons – above all, the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians – why we must exhaust all possibilities for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Nothing seems to mandate the US-backed war against Baghdad.