What WOULD BE a Smoking Gun?
Vol: 16 Issue: 28 Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Hans Blix has given what he calls his ‘update’ on the progress (or lack thereof) of the UNMOVIC inspection team following almost two months of an international game of cat and mouse.
Everybody has been waiting for the ‘smoking gun’ report from UNMOVIC head Hans Blix. While some might argue that no smoking gun was produced, when he finished, there was a definite whiff of cordite hanging over the Security Council chamber.
Blix issued a surprisingly tough assessment of Iraq’s performance in the two months since the inspections resumed after a four-year pause. Blix began by saying, “Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament that was demanded of it.”
Among the findings of the Blix report was the refusal of Iraqi scientists to consent to private interviews. Not one interview guaranteed by Resolution 1441 has been granted.
According to Resolution 1441, any false statements or omissions in Iraq’s arms declaration, coupled with a failure to comply with and cooperate fully in the implementation of the resolution, would place Baghdad in material breach of its obligations.
Blix essentially told the Security Council the December Iraqi weapons declaration declared nothing.
Blix said, Iraq’s 12,000-page arms declaration was filled with inconsistencies, contradictions and old material.
Blix cited Iraqi non-compliance concerning surveillance flights mandated by 1441.
Blix said that more than 6500 bombs containing VX gas has not been accounted for.
Blix noted that Iraq’s denial it had weaponized VX was a lie.
Blix said there is no evidence that Iraq destroyed its declared stockpile of anthrax – some eight thousand five hundred liters of it.
Moreover, he said that there are indications Iraq produced more anthrax than it declared. Three thousand pages of documents discovered in a private home support the allegation Iraq is hiding its weapons programs in homes throughout Iraq.
Also among Blix’s findings: Iraq is not so far complying with our requests. I hope this attitude will change. He noted that inspectors, off duty and out of uniform, visited a Baghdad mosque. Blix noted the inspectors were welcomed, shown around and were invited to return. Shortly thereafter, official protests were lodged by the Iraqis saying the inspectors forced their way in to the mosque and desecrated it by their presence.
Blix had this to say of the incident. Demonstrations and outbursts of this kind are unlikely to occur in Iraq with initiative or encouragement from the authorities. We must ask ourselves what the motives may before these events. They do not facilitate an already difficult job, in which we try to be effective, professional, and at the same time correct. Where our Iraqi counter parties have some complaint, they can take it up in a calmer and less unpleasant manner.
Further, Blix reported, Paragraph 9 of Resolution 1441 states that this cooperation shall be, quote/unquote, active. It is not enough to open doors. Inspection is not a game of catch as catch can. Rather, as I noted, it is a process of verification for the purpose of creating confidence. It is not built upon the premise of trust. Rather, it is designed to lead to trust, if there is both openness to the inspectors and action to present them with items to destroy or credible evidence about the absence of any such items.
(Note that Blix reminded the Security Council (and the world) in no uncertain terms that Iraq does NOT enjoy the presumption of innocence. It is up to Iraq to prove it destroyed its WMD arsenal, not the other way around. Not that the Security Council was listening. )
Blix said, The discovery of chemical warheads prohibited under previous resolutions did not mean Iraq didn’t have more. According to Blix those discoveries were actually the tip of the iceberg. While Blix did not use the words material breach there is no other way to describe failure to comply with Resolution 1441. And Blix DID use the words Failure to comply to describe Iraq’s behavior so far.
Given all that information, the United Nations did not rise enmasse, indignant with the cavalier attitude exhibited by Iraq to the UN’s stern, ‘last chance to have a last chance’ but rather, argued that Iraq should have one more last, last, we-really-mean-it-this-time last chance.
El Baradei asked for several more months for the inspectors to do their work. He was joined by Canada, France, Germany, Russia, China etc., in his call to allow the inspectors more time.
Saddam must have been dancing in one of his palaces at the news.
Let’s try and boil it down, one more time. IF more time is granted, and the inspectors are unable to find where Saddam hid 6500 VX bombs or 8000 litres of anthrax, then Saddam is safe since we can’t find anything.
IF more time is granted and the inspectors DO find more evidence of weapons of mass destruction, then Saddam is safe since the inspection regime can be said to be working.
In either case, Saddam is safe to continue to do all the things he is doing right now. The fact the UN resolutions are rendered meaningless by this tactic somehow escapes the brilliant logicians at the UN who are advancing this bit of circular logic.
It isn’t a case of my being eager for war, lest anyone misunderstand. I am simply slowing down the spin cycle so we can see what is currently being tumbled at high fluff.
Because spinning reality doesn’t change it. It just makes it seem less real.
And therefore that much more dangerous.
Musing Right Along . . .
We were planning to pack up and head for home today, but for some reason, I was unable to sleep a wink all night. I tossed and turned, but sleep never came.
We don’t mind, although we were anxious to get home to see the kids. The Lord knows what He is doing. Somewhere along the road between here and home is an accident I won’t be in today.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Even sleepless nights.