First Round to Saddam

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AMMAN, Jordan: In one of the more humiliating retreats since MacArthur left the Philippines, U.S. arms inspectors arrived here Friday after a grueling night drive across the Iraqi desert having been forced out of Baghdad by Saddam Hussein a day ahead of their international colleagues.

The six Americans had at least a measure of international support they were accompanied by Australian and British U.N. workers. The other 66 inspectors were allowed to wait until a U.N. plane arrived to take them to Bahrain. For the last 11 days, U.N. inspection teams have been turned away from Iraqi weapons facilities because of the presence of the Americans, who got their marching orders Thursday.

That the Americans were allowed to be divided off from the rest of UNSCOM at the end was at least a symbolic victory for Saddam, and the kind of "illegal separation of nationalities" that chief inspector Richard Butler had railed against. Not to worry. "We have a job to do, and we hope to return," said inspector Alan Dacey. MacArthur couldn't have said it better.