That’s exactly what the inspectors are working on as we speak. This topic was explicitly mentioned in the report.
So why are so many people willing to give Saddam the benefit of the doubt? It is up to HIM to provide the proof, not just sit back and allow the inspectors to go on a treasure hunt.
It's really quite simple. We know for a fact that he had these weapons a few years ago. We simply want to know where they went. I mean, I know the Arabs are not the most efficient people in the world in terms of bureaucracy, but there must be SOME trace, considering the importance of this material. If he does not provide such a trace, that appears to be very strong evidence that he still has them.
A lot of people like to say "innocent until proven guilty". He has already been found guilty - the various UN resolutions to that effect since 1991 testify to that. It is up to Saddam to prove otherwise, not for inspectors to have to prove it again.
"Nothing" would mean:
- no political pressure
Political pressure works against democracies, but not against dictators who feel no need to heed anyone except themselves. Political pressure has been tried for 12 years on Saddam, and has been proven to be insufficient.
- no surveillance
Spy satellites can show some things, but all you need is a tarpaulin to cover up and cast enough doubt that people can ignore the photos if they want to (like what happened with Powell's presentation).
- no inspections
Saddam blocked the inspectors for 7 years. When they finally started to figure out how he operated and started turning up hidden caches of WMDs with regularity, he had them kicked out and spent the last 5 years finding ways to hide them more effectively, knowing that one day the inspectors would probably return.
What did the international community do when he booted them out in 1998? Nothing.
- no destruction of illegal weapons or material
they tend to be difficult to destroy when they are well hidden.
- no sanctions
Economic sanctions do not work on dictatorships. 12 years of ruinous sanctions, and no result. Look at Cuba. Sanctions are a politically expedient method of seeming to do something without angering the "love-not-war hippies", but don't actually do anything except starve the innocent and provide opportunities for the well connected to become fabulously rich through smuggling operations. Saddam is now a multi-billionaire, and I'm sure a couple hundred of his cronies are well into the multi-millionaire range. It's the same elsewhere. I met the son of former president Milosevic of Yugoslavia, and the smuggling of fuel, food, cigarettes, weapons, etc. into Serbia during the 1990s all had to pay him a "royalty".
I believe that the deaths from starvation and lack of medical supplies to date is squarely on Saddam's head - he had the power to get rid of the sanctions simply by obeying the UN. But now that we have seen that even the toughest sanctions have no effect, I believe that the sanctions should be lifted. It is unconscionable to continue the suffering of the Iraqi people when the effect desired does not materialize. In addition, the sanctions provide fuel for the arguments of some Arabs that Westerners hate Arabs and will jump on the slightest chance to starve them and abuse them.
However the sanctions did have one positive result, although it was relatively unintended. They did limit (but not eliminate) Saddam’s ability to acquire a new army and additional WMD capability. If sanctions were lifted with Saddam still in power, there is no doubt that he would toss out all UN resolutions, use the immense natural wealth of Iraq to rebuild his military capability and start threatening his neighbors again. Refer to Hitler, 1933-36 as a precedent.
So in my mind, continuing the sanctions is not an acceptable option, given the huge human cost and limited return. At the same time, removing the sanctions while Saddam is still in place is not acceptable either. Leaving permenant inspectors is hardly a practical solution – he can just kick them out again one day. So what is left? We have to get rid of Saddam. Do you see another solution that would offer a better chance for long-term peace?
- no military threat on non-compliance.
A military threat is only effective it is credible. France and Germany have done everything possible to remove the credibility of the threat. The only reason that military threats have garnered some limited success recently is that the U.S. and a few allies have gone on their own, but at a very high cost in terms of American image and prestige overseas. I have no doubt that if France, Germany, Russia and the others had aligned themselves with the U.S., there would be a much greater chance to accomplish the task without a fight.
…He already has responded. Reluctantly, no doubt about it, and only under military and political pressure (in that order), but responded he has
As it is, the fracture of the UN and NATO is playing into Saddam’s hands. Knowing how people are very simple-minded and only read the headlines, he makes empty concessions hoping to strengthen the French position in the eyes of the public. Witness the protests around the world today.
But the concessions are empty. True, the inspectors are back, but he has had several years to prepare for their return, and they are faced with the impossible task of searching half a million square kilometers. Talk about a needle in a field of haystacks…
True, Iraqi scientists can now be interviewed in private, but a tape of the interview must be handed over to Iraqi authorities after the interview. Hardly an improvement.
surveillance flights have been authorized. But they must give 48 hours warning before their flight, allowing time to cover things up. No improvement there either. To be effective, such flights must be constant, random, and unpredictable.
True, Spy satellites don’t need such approval, but their orbits are very easy to predict – the Iraqis know to the minute when one passes overhead.
Again, if the world was united against him, I expect that he would give some real concessions. But as long as the UN and NATO squabble, he will fuel the side which wants to go easy on him. Saddam maybe an insane megalomaniac, but he’s not stupid. He got to where he is now by knowing how to manipulate people.
And the - very unusual - lively applause for the French statement wasn’t just coming from anybody. As far as I know, we’ve heard the applause coming from a large number of international UN ambassadors who just happened not to be members of the Security Council at this time and were therefore sitting in the audience.
I found this interesting too. The meaning was clear. In the opinions of most nations of the world, the UN shall be a toothless paper tiger. A place where governments can send their buddies, political hacks and other useless people on cushy diplomatic assignments. Where UN resolutions can be ignored with impunity, because getting enough people to agree on tough, expensive, and potentially unpopular foreign endeavors is almost impossible. I can see where they are coming from. Most nations do not want a strong UN, because one day they might run afoul as well. I expect most countries have already ignored the UN before – why change a cozy arrangement which the public swallows as effective?
The only thing you should feel when shooting a terrorist: Recoil.