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The Observer paper 12/26/14

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How long should the U.N. weapons inspection program continue in Iraq before George W. Bush and the rest of the world say enough is enough?

Based on the report of United Nations weapons inspectors this week, Bush has acted correctly in lining up American forces to take on Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power.

Chief weapons inspector Hans Blix reported that Saddam has failed to genuinely accept U.N. resolutions demanding that he disarm.

One bright spot is that the inspectors have not found evidence that Saddam has resumed pursuing nuclear weapons. Inspectors say they need more time to verify this conclusion. But nuclear arms are only part of the picture. The world must also have assurances that Saddam is not producing or stockpiling chemical or biological weapons.

How patient does America need to be with Saddam to know he is fully complying with the U.N. resolutions? Has he ever shown himself to be trustworthy?

Another report from the inspectors is due out in February. If significant progress is not made in the next two to three weeks, showing that Saddam is moving toward full compliance with what the U.N. is requiring, President Bush should call a halt to Saddam's games. He should move with dispatch to remove Saddam from power.

Abortions decline

Some celebrated while others mourned the 30th anniversary this month of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's 1973 decision that legalized abortions in America.

Those celebrating are happy about the decision that allowed a woman the right to choose whether a life conceived in her body should be brought to full term or be terminated.

Those mourning wish the clock could be turned back to a time when babies were protected, and only the most cavalier mother would seek out the services of a back-alley abortionist.

Pendulums have a way of swinging from one side to another over a period of time. Some day it may swing toward providing more protection for the unborn.

Meanwhile, people on both sides of the abortion issue should be happy that America's abortion rate has declined over the years. In 2000, the 1.31 million abortions translated into a rate of 21.3 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. That compares to the 29.3 rate during the peak years of 1980-81

Even the most vocal advocates of abortion in America should be pleased when more women are taking steps to avoid unplanned births through contraception or abstinence.


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