We are dancing on a tightrope in the Persian Gulf.

The war of words continues, day by day. Each hint ratchets up the tension on the rope. Each time it becomes more difficult to keep our balance.Meanwhile, the armies gathered in the dunes and at sea prime their engines of destruction and wait. Restlessly. Knowing that sooner or later the rope must snap.

The killing will begin.

It's difficult to see any other logical resolution to the Persian Gulf crisis. George Bush knows it. So do the leaders of our allies around the world. And so, probably, does Saddam Hussein.

The reason is Saddam himself, his intransigence and the threat he poses to the world.

Saddam is no tinhorn. Saddam is a cold, calculating, ruthless tyrant who understands the way the world works. He understands its dependence on oil. Above all he understands power. He knows he was only fingertips away from total power after he seized Kuwait. The rich oil fields of Saudi Arabia were almost within his grasp.

With control of the oil of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as well as Iraq's, he would control a major share of world oil. He would have the West dancing on his puppet strings. He could determine the economic health of the West.

Those who march in our streets protesting sending an army to the Mideast say our aim is to protect "cheap oil" or "Big Oil." A more accurate statement would be a war to protect our economic freedom, our standard of living and, ultimately, to preserve our liberty.

Those who doubt Saddam's agenda should examine the fact that he retained the million-man Iraqi army, along with thousands of Soviet-made tanks.

Saddam also continued to build his forces, buying weapons of all kinds and pushing manufacture of poison gas, euphemistically referred to these days as "chemical weapons."

Strong evidence indicates Saddam is only a few months away from producing nuclear weapons. A production plant to produce Uranium 235, a necessary nuclear ingredient, apparently has been built in mountains near Turkey.


Certainly not to protect Iraq against the likes of Israel, Iran or Syria. But to enable Saddam to achieve world power through control of Persian Gulf oil, thus becoming the Arab world's new Saladin.

Saddam has thus become the greatest threat to the West since Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. It's not surprising European and other nations rallied so swiftly to the side of the United States in the United Nations.

U.N. sanctions have been squeezing Iraq for nearly four months now, but Saddam is still in Kuwait and showing no indication he's ready to pull out. Even if he did, it's doubtful it would resolve the problem.

If Saddam pulled his army out and announced he'd be a good member of the family of nations, foreswearing aggression, etc., no one would believe him.

Thus, it's difficult to see how the hoped-for "peaceful solution" now being pursued would diminish the threat to the world.

Saddam would still be dictator of Iraq.

He would still have his million-man army, tanks, chemical weapons, long-range cannon and missiles. He would still have the capability of unleashing nuclear horror on the world.

Could the United States of America and its allies permit such a threat to the world to remain unhampered in the middle of the world's largest oil supply?

Of course not.

That would be nothing short of insanity.

The only other possibility might be a successful coup by Iraqis against Saddam. This could make war unnecessary. But the possibilities of such an overthrow appear extremely unlikely, given the strength of the dictator.

Which leaves only the war option, as insane as war must always be.