They didn't wait a day. Even as Saddam's statutes were still being toppled, even as the blood of journalists killed in the Palestine Hotel was still being cleaned up, a top American official long-known for his close ties to the Israelis was threatening all the regimes in the region -- plus of course North Korea and Pakistan -- that the US Empire was now in charge and they better comply...or else.
U.S. Official: Iraq a Lesson for Others
By VICTOR L. SIMPSON
The Associated Press
Wednesday, April 9, 2003; 10:10 AM
ROME - A top U.S. State Department official said Wednesday that the war on Iraq should be a lesson for other regimes pursuing weapons of mass destruction, but insisted that the United States is seeking the peaceful elimination of those weapons programs.
John R. Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, spoke to reporters after meetings with Vatican officials on proposals for humanitarian assistance and postwar reconstruction in Iraq.
He was asked about speculation that Syria and Iran could be America's next targets after the war in Iraq.
"We are hopeful that a number of regimes will draw the appropriate lesson from Iraq that the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is not in their national interest," Bolton said.
He called the pursuit of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons programs a terrorist threat and said it "will remain our priority to achieve a peaceful elimination of these programs so that supporters of terrorism cannot use them against innocent people."
Bolton emphasized that the United States considered Iraq a distinct case because attempts to eliminate its weapons have gone on for 12 years.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for Syria to forswear the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and, as with other governments in the region, to see if there are not new possibilities in the Middle East peace process," Bolton said.
At the Vatican, Bolton held talks with the Holy See's foreign minister, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran.
The Vatican has been a staunch opponent of the war, but a brief statement it issued on the meeting made no mention of this.
It said Bolton explained the danger of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, repeated his government's commitment to respect the rules of war and its "appreciation for the availability of the Catholic Church to collaborate in the humanitarian field to alleviate the sufferings of the Iraqi people."