Bush’s Iraq policy ‘sliding into Clintonesque exercise,’ former Pentagon official warns

President Bush’s tough line against Saddam Hussein risks falling into a Clinton-like trap at the United Nations, a former senior Pentagon official warns. The president’s entire policy is in danger of being undone as the UN changes the goalposts while parts of the administration appear to go along.

France, Russia, and the UN in general are backing away from the US-led and UN-endorsed policy of “zero tolerance” of any Iraqi violations of Security Council disarmament resolutions. Just a week after the Security Council unanimously passed the zero tolerance resolution, the US announced that Iraq had violated it by firing on American and British warplanes enforcing the UN-established no-fly zones.

It looks like the UN is looking for another excuse to give Saddam an extra day. A former senior Bush Pentagon official has issued a stark warning.

Robert Andrews, who until July was President Bush’s principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations, surveys the diplomatic landscape and cautions: “We seem to be sliding into a Clintonesque exercise that will provide an infinitely elastic definition of what ‘zero tolerance’ really means.”

“Who said the United Nations is powerless?” Andrews writes. “It just disarmed the United States.”

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