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The New York Times
THE NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2002
By Gary Milhollin and Kelly Motz
grams mobile. Laboratories, compo nents and materials are ready to hit the road at a moment's notice Once, as an experiment, Unscom had pho tos taken from a U2 spy plane of a site that it was about to inspect. First the photos showed no activity, then large numbers of Iraqi vehicles leaving the site, then no activity, then the inspectors' vehicles arriv
WASHINGTON any voices are
now calling for renewed United Nations inspec tions Iraq. Some
belong to critics of the Bush administration who are opposed to war. Others be long to those who favor war but see Inspections - which they fully ex.
A lying regime makes verification an endless chase.
Unmovic is also stuck with a deal the United Nations made in 1998 on "presidential sites." Irag is allowed to designate vast swaths of land (big enough to contain eadre factories) that the Inspectors can visit only after announcing the visit in admace, disclosing the composition of the inspection toum (muclear or bio logical experts, for example) and taking along a special group of diplobate. This loophole creates refuges for mobile items and could defeat virtually any inspection etfort
New inspections will occur under the threat of imminent American military action. Any announcement that Iraq is not cooperating could be 1 casus belli. Such a risk might encourage Unmovic to monitor what 1 already nowe rather than a pressively try to find what is hidden. This could mean that the goal o inspections - the disarmament of Irag-might never be achieved.
pect to fai - as the needed triegering event for war. Suul other Iraq perts believe that Saddam Huesain himself will invite the inspectors back as I means of forestalling lavaslon troops begin to move in his direction.
Whatever one's starce on how best to handle Saddam Hussein, it is crucial to understand one thing United Nations Inspections they are currently constituted, will never wort
There are several ressons for this Consider the record of the United Nation Special Commission, an ageacy that was charged with inspecting Iraq's weapons programs from 1901 to 1904. While Uascom did manage to destroy tons of missiles and chemical and biological weap ons, i could not complete the job. Iraqi obtuscations prevented it trom ever gouing full picture of the entir weapons production offort. The commission's replacement, the United Nations Monitoring. Verific tion and Inspection Commission watch has not you been allowed to anter Iraq, will have even less success given its structure and policies
Unscom was scatted mainly by oficials a loan from national gov. ernments who did not owe their jobs to the United Nations; Unmovic per sonnel, on the other hand, are United
Nations employees who are likely to de hobbled by the United Nations' notoriously inefficient bureaucracy.
These inspectors are not set up to make effective use of Intelligence information. In the 1990's, American intelligence officials supplied secret intormation to selected Unscom in spectors, knowing that the information would be protected and be used to uncover hidden Iraqi weapons faculties. At Unmovic, however, no inspector will be allowed to receive intelligence Information on a privileged basis, 1 policy that increases the risk of leads to the Iraqis. Unmovic bas also declared that it will not low any information gathered from its inspections to flow back to national intelligena agencies. This eliminates the main incentive for intelligence sources to provide un movic with useful information to the first place
Even if it is allowed into long Unmovic will run up against obatcles at least is formidable us those that stymied Unscon. After years of practice, Unscom becane adept at launching surprise Visits to weapons sites, yet frag's intelligence opera tive defeated it more often than not It wu a rure Inspection when the Iraqis did not know what the inspec. tors were looking for before they arrived Most Unmovic inspectors have little experience in ing and even less in handling Intelligence. information
Compounding this handicap is the fact that Irag has taken consider able pains to make its weapons pro
can only do one thing well: vertly that a couptry'ı declaracions about I weapons program are honest and complete. It s feasible for inspectors to look a sites and equipment to see whether the official story about their use is accurate. Inspectors can rely on scientific principles, Intelligence intor mation and surprise visits to know Weapons production sites to test what they are cold. It is a different proposition altogether to wander about a country looking for what has been deliberately concealed. That is
task with no end
For inspectors to do their job, they have to have the truth, which can anly come from the Iraqis. As President Bush cold the Unlead Nations Last veel, the world needs an Iraq goverment that will stop lying and furreader the weapons programa That is not likely to happen as long as Saddam Hussein rematas la pow. er.
Gary Mihollin is director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Con trol. Kelly Motz is the editor of Iraq Watch.org
Iraq: The Snare of Inspections
Gary Milhollin & Kelly Motz
may allow UN arms inspectors to return. Similarly, every time war clouds gather over Baghdad, voices in the United States and elsewhere, including some in or near the Bush administration, can be heard urging a new and improved system of inspections. Today, some of those voices belong to critics of administration policy who are opposed to war with Iraq. Ochers favor war but think a provocation, or "triggering event," is lacking, and they see inspections (which they fully expect to fail) as providing the necessary trigger.
The inspectors departed Iraq in 1998 after enduring more than seven years of tricks and obfuscations, all aimed at protecting the country's programs for building weapons of mass destruction. Since then, Saddam's interest in renewed inspections has been aroused in direct proportion to the perceived risk that his country will be invaded. When things are quiet, he has refused even to consider letting che United Nations back-in egregious violation of his pledges under UN resolucions and therefore of international law. But now
that Washington is seriously contemplacing "regime change,” he may well announce that inspectors are once again welcome.
If he does, he can count on Russia and France, Iraq's allies on the Security Council, to rally the world in favor of giving peace a chance. Any delay on Saddam's part in admitting or cooperating with inspectors will then still look better than war, and it will become that much harder to argue that Uncle Sam should use soldiers and bullets to do what international civil servants could do with blue helmets and notebooks. If inspectors go back in, said Jack Straw, Britain's Foreign Secretary, only last month, “plainly the case for military action recedes."
Whatever one's stance on the question of how best to handle Saddam Hussein, it is vital to understand one thing. Unless the Iraqi dictator should suddenly and totally reverse course on arms inspection and everything that goes with it, or be forced into early retirement—in other words, unless Saddam Hussein's Iraq ceases to be Saddam Hussein's Iraq-inspections will never work.
of changes in the UN's own inspection apparatus. Others inhere in the nature of the man, and the regime, we are dealing with.
Almost three years ago, a new UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC)
on Nuclear drms Control in Washington, D.C., and KELLY Motz edits the Project's Iraq Watch.org website. The present article is based in part on the conclusions of a panel of five former UN inspectors and a former intelligence official who met in June under
the auspices of the Wisconsin Project to asress the
prospects of a resumed inspections regime in Iraq.