These reports make it all the more likely that Saddam may possess large amounts of WMDs, but the UN inspectors may be unable to locate them. If the inspections are unreliable, then ISTM we have two unsatisfactory choices: Attack Iraq, even though no WMDs were found, or don’t attack, allowing Saddam to continue to stockpile ever more powerful WMDs.
Which of these options is better? Or, can anyone think of other, better courses of action?
December, you can store a bomb in somebody’s basement.
You cannot hide the massive chemical processing facilities necessary to create these weapons, and this, I suppose is our real concern.
Additionally, assuming that these weapons are widely distributed, all that American intelligence services/UN weapons inspectors must do is find a couple of these weapons in private homes to adequately demonstrate that the Iraqi government is attempting to conceal and protect their WMD’s.
Hey, I’m as hawkish as the next guy, but a consistent routine of unfettered weapons inspectons should be capable of revealing an Iraqi weapons program.
Damn. Let me qualify my remarks thusly: I am not for war with Iraq. I am for elimination of the weaponry Saddam Hussein seems hellbent to retain and develop, with force as the last option.
Okay, now, also let me say that I have actively searched for expert opinion on the validity of weapons inspections in Iraq. I have read articles, transcripts, or watched live coverage of past inspectors in news interviews as well as testimony given before Congress. Among those inspectors are Dr. David Kay, Dr. Richard Spertzel, Tim McCarthy, Terry Taylor, David Franz and Tim Trevan. The media include Frontline, Nightline, VOA and C-SPAN coverage of the House Armed Svcs. Committee. And these are just the names and occasions I have noted specifically. I’ve also caught as much in the general news from cable as anyone, I dare say. In short, I’ve tried to pay attention to the bulk of available information regarding this situation. And, yes, I have heard Scott Ritter and his point of view.
My conclusion is this: inspections are likely a waste of time. As Tim McCarthy noted in the Nightline segment, which was largely repeated just last night, in the course of several years’ involving hundreds if not thousands of inspections, the Iraqi’s were surprised by inspections less than a dozen times. This ought to cause avid supporters of inspections at any cost to reflect on just what could be accomplished through this course of action.
So, what do I expect to see? Continuation of the same. Inspections that uncover nothing. Decreasing cooperation by the Iraqi’s commensurate with a drop in news coverage. An increasing lack of availability of scientists, information, aw heck, the same ol’ hide and seek previous inspectors are all too clear about. But even this won’t be sufficient to convince doubters.
Here’s the problem in a nutshell; for all the news regarding Saddam and his manipulation of the UN mandate of disarmament, unless this information is in black and white, too many will continue to discredit the source or conclusion, leaving Saddam wiggle room and war inadvisable. In other words, it’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove.
So, to make my point after much length, the U.S. should put Saddam on notice that the very first evidence of non-cooperation will result in the bombing of one of his many palaces. Keep the Iraqi people out of it, as much as humanly possible. Punish the man responsible. Focus.
whenever a weapons inspector is refused access to a site, it should be noted (maybe he should have a GPS unit in his pocket). When the inspectors are satisfied that they will not be able to find any more WMDs, they should leave, along with all foreign citizens. At that time, all sites to which they have been denied access should be destroyed.
If someone at the CIA is thinking, they should do whatever necessary to take over the Al-Jazeera signal (temporarily) (at least in Iraq) and announce that the locations of all the hidden laboratories, storage sites, production facilities, etc. have been discovered. At that point, every surveillance satellite available should be pointed down over Iraq. When you see the roaches running, you can finally find out where they’ve been holed up.
The thing is, just because a home is hiding a weapon, doesn’t mean that the folks living there want it there. This is Iraq. And if we go around bombing people’s homes, weapons or not, then we’re killing innocent Iraqi citizens. Hell, Saddam might force people to stay at home during such a bombing so he can show what barbarians the US are.