October 10, 2003

Taking up a challenge

First a technical note. It's 2003. Can somebody please tell the UN that gopher is dead.

UNSC resolution 687 (yes, if your browser doesn't support gopher, you're kind of stuck) marks out the basic requirements for Iraqi disarmament.

8. Decides that Iraq shall unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of:

(a) All chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all
related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and
manufacturing facilities;

(b) All ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometres and
related major parts, and repair and production facilities;

Since there were secret labs under the Iraqi secret police undergoing research and development, it seems like Dr. Rice isn't too far out of bounds to say that Iraq never complied with the disarmament requirements of UNSC 687 (and every other subsequent resolution incorporates the requirements of 687 by reference). Iraq was also in violation of articles 9, 10, and 12 on the face of them and likely other sections as well (it's late and art. 8 is sufficient to prove the point). Now given 1441 announced that this was Saddam's last chance and Iraq's full and final declaration did not include many R&D facilities banned by 687 I think it's pretty fair to say that Saddam didn't comply with 1441.

If the secret labs, the centrifuge parts and plans and all the rest were made available at the time, it would have been hard to maintain the anti-war line successfully. This might have led to another resolution or a wider coalition of the willing. That's alternative history and I'll let it end there.

Personally, I think that the Iraqis have been coached at hiding weapons since at least the mid to late 70s and it was part of Soviet doctrine to do so. The evidence on that point is clear.

I think that Pacepa is, as usual, grandstanding a bit in his public declarations but has grasped the heart of the matter and is sharing with us an important truth. Soviet doctrine, which Iraq was steeped in, called for WMD destruction. They had plenty of time to do it and very good and old friends from the USSR days to oversee the execution of the WMD destruction plan right before the war.

Did Iraq fulfill its obligations under UNSC resolutions? From the text and the interim Kay findings, it's clear that they did not. There has been a great deal of historical revisionism going on with regard to Iraq. It's easy to forget what exactly Iraq was supposed to do in order to be considered disarmed. The actual text of the resolutions is important. Every once in awhile it would do us all a little good to go back and read them.

UPDATE: BruceR responds: Nowhere near good enough, TM, I'm afraid. Leaving aside the fact that a US government that thwarted the will of the UN in going to war, along with its defenders, can hardly cite chapter and verse on UN resolutions now without a couple heaping spoonfuls of hypocrisy, your argument is not on-point here.

I asked the assemblage for any evidence that Iraq had actually pretended to have arms that it did not. There is no doubt Iraq was not in full compliance with the resolutions you state, in any quarter: that was a dead issue before the war, and did not require Kay's investigation to prove. The Iraq argument was that compliance was an onerous burden on a country that, they said officially, had already destroyed all its extant weapons. So why do people now say that Iraq was "bluffing" about their possession of actual weapons? When, exactly was this bluff?

Posted by TMLutas at October 10, 2003 12:26 AM