DANIEL MCKIVERGAN, Deputy Director
Duelfer, the UN, and the New York Times
Yesterday, the Washington Post reported ("Search for Banned
Arms In Iraq Ended Last Month") that the conclusions reached in Charles
Duelfer's September 2004 report on Iraq's weapons programs will be the
"final word" on the subject. The New York Times editorial
board weighed in today. The Times notes that what the "Iraqi
invasion has actually proved is that the weapons inspection worked, that
international sanctions - deeply, deeply messy as they turned out to be
- worked, and that in the case of Saddam Hussein, the United Nations worked."
One wonders if anyone
at the Times bothered to read the hundreds of pages in the Duelfer
report, let alone all the UNSCOM and UNOMIC reports to the UN Security
Council going back over a decade. The job of the inspections regime was
to verify, based on the active cooperation of Iraqi officials, that Iraq
had destroyed its weapons and was actively complying with multiple UN
disarmament resolutions. Saddam Hussein's regime did no such thing, as
Hans Blix stated to the Security Council on January 27, 2003:
Resolution 687 (1991),
like the subsequent resolutions I shall refer to, required cooperation
by Iraq but such was often withheld or given grudgingly. Unlike South
Africa, which decided on its own to eliminate its nuclear weapons and
welcomed inspection as a means of creating confidence in its disarmament,
Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance - not even today
- of the disarmament, which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry
out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace.
President Clinton's Defense Secretary William Cohen made Blix's point
five years earlier: "Hussein has said, 'we have no program now.'
We're saying, 'prove it.' He says he has destroyed all his nerve agent.
[W]e're asking 'where, when and how?'" Cohen added: "The onus
for this is firmly on Saddam Hussein".
The uncontested fact is that there were unaccounted for weapons and bulk
agent the day Operation Iraqi Freedom began on March 19, 2003. According
to UNMOVIC's May 30, 2003 report, "... the long list of proscribed
items unaccounted for and as such resulting in unresolved disarmament
issues was not shortened either by the inspections or by Iraqi declarations
Finally, on the question of sanctions, the September 2004 Duelfer report
concluded that "as UN sanctions eroded there was a concomitant expansion
of activities that could support full WMD reactivation." In addition,
"the steps the Regime took to erode sanctions are obvious in the
analysis of how revenues, particularly those derived from the Oil-for-Food
program, were used. Over time, sanctions had steadily weakened to the
point where Iraq, in 2000-2001, was confidently designing missiles around
components that could only be obtained outside sanctions.... ISG's investigation
also makes quite clear how Baghdad exploited the mechanism for executing
the Oil-for-Food program to give individuals and countries an economic
stake in ending sanctions." The New York Times may choose
to believe "the United Nations worked." It didn't.