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Iraq: The Snake Op Inspections

nceal, the nonconfrontational model was of far ss benefit.)

In the present instance, however, a policy of

x>kiing confrontation wilJ be dangerous in the ex

■* "^etne. Inspections will then be aimed only at mon

r oring what is already known rather than at

'-arching aggressively for what is still hidden.

'Moreover, the very failure to find anything new

"' rvill feed the demand that the embargo against Iraq

"t*r>c lifted without the goal of inspections—namely,

■ Lisarmamem—ever being achieved. The price to

* ^c paid will be all the higher in view of the ele

"tnentary fact that, since the day inspections began

'- in 19°1, Iraq has consistently tried to defeat them.

ri But that brings us to the heart of the matter.

What is it that inspections are designed to do?

-=aiTney are designed to verify that a country's decla

- ■* rations about a weapon program are honest and

Commentary

complete. And that sort of verification is indeed a feasible goal for an inspection team: to look at sites and equipment and sec whether the official story about their use is accurate. 'lb do this effectively, inspectors can rely both on scientific principles and on information gained through intelligence-gathering. It is a different proposition altogether to go ranging about a country in search of things that have been deliberately concealed; that is a task with no beginning and no end.

In short, without a full and coherent description of the entire Iraqi weapon program, inspectors can never verify that it has been eliminated. The truth must come first, and it can come only from the Iraqis themselves. What the world needs is an Iraqi government that will stop lying and surrender those programs. That is hardly likely to happen as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power.

October 2002 *

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