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Remember when Hans Blix said: "We have found no smoking gun." He should have been called on carpet right there. He used a turn of language that misdirected debate from outset. It implied that 'inspectors' were looking for 'something.' That phrase in itself changed nature of UN Resolution and no one seemed to notice. He was not challenged.
Further semantic confusion has been introduced: disarming Iraq, regime change, destroying weapons of mass destruction. The use of these terms places burden on US to disarm Iraq, to do job Iraq should be doing. Spelling out definition of 'serious consequences' introduces into debate additional and troubling notions: strategy of preemption, a preference for unilateralism instead of multilateralism, charges of bullying, war vs. peace, and so forth. Too many unsettling issues are before public, contributing to venom that is now directed at US from quarters everywhere.
The debate should be limited as much as possible to terms: 'Prove' and 'Verify'. The UN doesn't need more inspectors. They don't need more time. Iraq needs to prove veracity of their claims plain and simple. The simple truth is: after months, Iraq is not willing to comply with UN Resolution 1441. Yet, it was up to Iraq to demonstrate their status from time UN Resolution was first passed.
Language is important. Indeed, it may be as critical as policy itself because it provides ethos within which policy is implemented.
Gerald L. Campbell served as senior staff to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives for nine years. He became Senior Advisor to the Director of the United States Information Agency (USIA) under President Ronald Reagan and President George Bush.
Campbell went on to serve the administration of President George Bush and later, he served Texas Governor Bush as Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of Health at the Texas Department of Health in Austin.