The Secretary of State’s presentation before the U.N. Security Council was powerful, concise, detailed, and persuasive. All the more so because of the integrity of Colin Powell, who has been publicly at odds with President Bush’s intentions of waging war with or without U.N. approval. Revelations of al Qaeda’s active presence in Baghdad, the existence of unmanned aerial vehicles that can deliver chemical and biological weapons over hundreds of miles, efforts to evade inspectors, intimidate scientists, develop nuclear weapons…. Powell made a compelling case that Saddam is in stark violation of the U.N. mandate. Those opposed to forcibly disarming the Baath regime will find it hard to argue anything other than an unwillingness to accept the risks and costs of doing so. Taking that position will, as Powell reiterated, render the U.N. Security Council irrelevant, and it will mean accepting the likelihood of terror attacks on America, Israel, or Europe far worse than any in recorded history.
— Mark Bowden is author of Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War.