Please Don't Inspect Iraq!!
Jude Wanniski
April 29, 2002


Memo To: Rep. Henry Hyde, House International Relations
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Iraq’s Threat to its Neighbors

I tuned in Saturday to watch you interviewed on CNN’s Novak, Hunt & Shields, Henry, and decided I had to e-mail you the column by Gordon Prather that I had just read on You indicated on air that you believed we may have to intervene militarily in Iraq if our intelligence discovers that it is getting close to acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and that you thought they may be in that position now. Dr. Prather, who is a nuclear physicist who served as deputy assistant secretary of the army for science and technology in the Reagan administration, believes the Pentagon’s civilian intellectuals know that Iraq does not have nuclear weapons or chem/bio weapons. He believes they are no threat to their neighbors, which is why we see the Pentagon trying to prevent the United Nations from sending chem/bio inspectors into Iraq along with the nuclear inspectors that have been there all along. They want to demolish the Baghdad regime and will invent any excuse it can to do so. Why? They want to eliminate any theoretical possibility that Iraq could threaten Israel as Israel refuses to permit a Palestinian state. The story they spread about Iraq’s weapons is what they hope to use as the pretext for another engagement. You really should make a serious effort to sift through the material coming to you, Henry, if only to assure yourself that you are not being manipulated.

Supercritical Thoughts Gordon Prather
WMD in Iraq? Don't ask

By Gordon Prather

You remember Bill Clinton, don’t you? The guy who bombed tents in Afghanistan, aspirin factories in Sudan and just about every structure in Iraq left standing after the Gulf War? To take your attention away from minor embarrassments – such as the House of Representatives impeaching him? Yeah, that’s the guy.

Clinton claimed he did most of that bombing because he suspected Saddam was about to produce ‘weapons of mass destruction’. Of course, you were led to believe Saddam was about to produce nukes, not another crock of wheat smut.

You see, Saddam was known to have already developed and stockpiled chemical and biological weapons – and never used them. Nothing to suspect, there. But Saddam hadn’t been able to develop nukes. Aha! Bombs Away!

Now, U.N. Resolution 687 -- which establishes the terms and conditions for the formal cease-fire in the Gulf War -- never defines ‘weapons of mass destruction’. The authors simply declare that they were “conscious of the threat that all weapons of mass destruction pose to peace and security in the area and of the need to work towards the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of such weapons”.

Resolution 687 required Iraq to accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless -- under the supervision of a special UN commission called UNSCOM -- of all chemical, biological weapons and ballistic missiles [with a range greater than 150 kilometers] as well as any subsystems or components or any research, development, support or manufacturing facilities. It also required Iraq to accept “urgent on-site inspection and the destruction, removal or rendering harmless” -- under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency -- of all “nuclear-weapons-usable material or any subsystems or components or any research, development, support or manufacturing facilities”.

So, nukes, chem-weapons, bio-weapons and ballistic missiles have become in the lexicon ‘weapons of mass destruction’.

The primary purpose of UN Resolution 687 is to force Iraq to comply with certain existing UN agreements.

First, there is the UN Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons -- to which Iraq is a signatory. The NPT verification mechanism is provided by the IAEA.

Then, there’s the UN Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction -- to which Iraq is a signatory. The BTWC of 1972 didn’t provide for an effective mechanism for verifying compliance. Resolution 687 effectively provides such a verification mechanism for Iraq.

Finally, there’s the UN Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction – to which Iraq is not a signatory. An effective mechanism for verifying CWT compliance has been established – the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Resolution 687 effectively provides the OPCW verification mechanism for Iraq.

OPCW has already inventoried all 8.6 million chemical weapons “declared” by CWT signatories. One fifth of these chem-weapons -- together with 6,000 tonnes of chemical agents -- have actually been destroyed. All former chem-weapon production facilities have been shut down and more than half have been either dismantled or converted to peaceful purposes. And although no CWT member has yet issued a ‘challenge’ – a request that OPCW inspect an undeclared site or facility – the mechanism is available to be exercised.

Nevertheless, in spite of that record, the United States has just got OPCW Director General Bustani fired. Why? Well, among other things, Bustani has been trying to talk Iraq into signing the CWT. We formally charged that – in so doing -- Bustani “[c]ontinues to attempt to interject the OPCW into what is a United Nations Security Council matter; the mandate for WMD inspections in Iraq that flows directly from a UNSC resolution. Thus, he would supplant the UN inspection regime in Iraq and undercut the Security Council.”

Well, if Iraq did become a CWT signatory, the UN probably would turn over to OPCW the job of verifying compliance for chem-weapons, just as it turned over to the IAEA the job for nukes.

Last week we learned there had been an attempt to discredit the efforts of IAEA Director General Hans Blix, who had been checking Iraq for nukes under Resolution 687. This week we have OPCW Director Jose Bustani getting fired before he gets a chance to check Iraq for chem-weapons. Doesn’t it strike you that someone in the Bush-Cheney Administration doesn’t want to really know whether Saddam Hussein is in compliance with Resolution 687 or not? At least, not until after the invasion?

© 2002 Saturday, April 27, 2002