At the urging of the United States, the United Nations Security Council passed on Wednesday a resolution permitting Iraq to have a civilian nuclear program.
The resolution, which also lifted prohibitions on exports to Iraq of certain materials that could be used to develop nuclear and other unconventional weapons, was one of several U.S.-backed measures to end restrictions that dated from before the invasion that removed Saddam Hussein from power.
The Council's action represented a retreat from its earlier position that it would not lift the nuclear restrictions unless Baghdad accepted an additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that provides for more intrusive international inspections. The Council's action in affirming Iraq's right to a peaceful nuclear program is ironic in view of the obsessive campaign to deny the country on its eastern border the same right.
This is one more demonstration of the hypocrisy and inconsistency that characterize much nonproliferation policy, especially as it relates to the Middle East. What ostensibly is a concern about a certain category of weapons is actually much more a concern about the coloration and even the rhetoric of certain regimes that might get those weapons.
Considering that the Bush administration used the threat of a looming mushroom cloud of a reconstituted Iraqi nuclear program to justify its invasion and occupation of the country and not a week goes by without some pundit fear mongering on Iran's nuclear capability, the news that the UN has approved Iraq's civilian nuclear program is more than a little bizarre.
Okay, so let me see if I get this straight: Iran, with a democratically elected president (nutty as he may be), is a threat to us in developing a nuclear energy program. But Iraq, with a fragile government installed despite clear evidence of electoral fraud and corruption, their nuclear program is just fine.
Alrighty then. Anyone else seeing this biting us in the ass in the decades to come?