Saddam defeats … well, no one, really.

NEWS FLASH: Saddam Hussein won the ballot tuesday in Iraq with 100 percent of the vote, according to this article in the New York Times. As the headline yesterday on ABCNews.com said: “U.S. skeptical.”
I should say so! Regular readers — both of you — will recall I reported on this last week and talked about the reasons for holding the referendum now. But what’s most interesting to me, for some odd reason, is that Saddam got 99.96 percent of the vote in 1995, and 100 percent now. Perhaps the war threat from America has rallied Iraqis around their leader?
But a better question is this: What happened to the 0.04 percent — about 3,600 people, according to the Times — who voted “no” in 1995? Were they suicidal or just stupid? No doubt they have paid for their mistake.
Of course this was hardly a free and fair ballot, and I should think that every person on the planet, except maybe those living under the North Korean regime, can see through this sham. But it’s an interesting phenomenon that Saddam feels the need to legitimize his rule of fear.
“With a leader such as this,” asked a Bedouin tribal elder at the end of the Times piece, “how could Iraqis want to say anything but yes?”
Indeed.

Not so fast, Mr. President

There is a time when politicians should be applauded. This is one of those times. Reps. Spratt of North Carolina and Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Ark., will introduce into the House debate on war with Iraq this alternate resolution. (It’s a PDF to be downloaded.)
In essence it allows military action but only after the UNSC has been allowed to do everything it can, including muscular and intrusive inspections. If the UNSC fails in its duties, the President must come back to Congress and ask for authorization for war against Iraq. (It actually says “military force” instead of war, but still.)
In the case of shooting, “the President should endeavor to form a coalition of allies as broadly based as practicable to support and participate with United States Armed Forces, and should also seek multilateral cooperation and assistance, specifically including Arab and Islamic countries, in the post-conflict reconstruction of Iraq.”
And this:

In the event that the United Nations Security Council does not adopt a resolution as described in section 3, or in the event that such a resolution is adopted but does not sanction the use of force sufficient to compel Iraq’s compliance, and if the President determines that use of the United States Armed Forces is necessary for such compliance, the President should seek authorization from Congress to use military force to compel such compliance.

Clear enough? In essence, come back to us, Mr. President, when you’ve got some proof. Proof that Iraq is the clear and present danger you say it is, and proof that the UNSC is an impotent organization that can’t do its job. Only then do you get the guns.
The House rules committee has allowed this resolution in, so the whole House may vote on it. It likely won’t pass, but it’s a saner voice than what we’re hearing from the White House.
I don’t know Spratt or Snyder or other other sponsors of this resolution, but I suspect that I should. Thank you, gentlemen.