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What is the Deal?
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December 1, 2002
What is the deal with UN Inspections?
By Jan A. Larson
The United Nations weapons inspectors started “inspecting” in Iraq last week. So far, they haven’t found anything. Surprised? Not me. It really doesn’t matter how long they “inspect” in Iraq, they aren’t going to find anything that qualifies as a “material breach” of the recently approved UN resolution.
First of all, Iraq is roughly as big as California. Have you ever driven around California? Just getting around Los Angeles can take days and it would take much, much longer if there were inspection stops along the way.
Second, with a group of just 80 or so inspectors, it would take months if not years to do an inspection of every suspected weapons facility, chemical plant, presidential palace and bunker. However, there are no rules that state that Saddam Hussein must keep his prohibited weapons in weapons facilities, chemical plants, presidential palaces or bunkers. Hussein undoubtedly has placed his weapons and weapons manufacturing facilities not in the obvious places, but in some not-so-obvious places such as schools, hospitals and private shops and residences.
Third, Hussein and his minions are not going to simply leave their weapons and weapons making facilities in plain sight for all to see. With no inspectors in Iraq for four years, there can be no doubt that Hussein is fully prepared to play “cat and mouse” with his weapons for as long as it takes. He will disguise them and move them and, considering that he’s on his “home field” will do whatever it takes to delay and obstruct the UN inspectors, without of course, appearing to be delaying or obstructing.
OK, let’s assume that all of this is true. Let’s assume that Hussein, as deranged as he may be, is smarter than Hans Blix and his crack team of inspectors. Even if he is not, the fact that he knows what he’s doing and the inspectors don’t gives him the advantage.
Hussein is due to turn over a statement disclosing the nature of his weapons of mass destruction and their locations on December 8. Care to place a wager on what that report will contain? It is going to say that Iraq has no such weapons. That is consistent with the stance that Iraq has already taken and there is no reason to think that Hussein is going to change his stripes now.
So, what we’re going to end up with is Iraq stating that they don’t have any weapons of mass destruction and the UN inspectors unable to find any. Now what? I wonder if the Bush administration has a plan for this scenario? They had better, because I’d be willing to wager a dime to a dollar that this is the scenario that will come to be.
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