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Snow vs. Aldouri
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Here's an interesting description of the interchange between Fox commentator Tony Snow and Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations Mohammed Aldouri (from The New Republic). It's a microcosm of the Iraqi attitude toward inspections and repeated demands that they cooperate and disclose.

Here's a sampling:

Why, Snow asked, had the Iraqis failed to offer Blix any proof to back up their claim that they had destroyed 6,500 chemical bombs and 100,000 tons of chemical agents? "There's still some questions, some remaining issues," Aldouri conceded. But then he refused to answer those questions, simply declaring, "[A]nd we are ready always ... to discuss all these issues so we can reach a final solution for all these questions that are still standing." Snow asked again for proof that Iraq had destroyed the chemical bombs and chemical agents. "Yes, and I think we did ask Mr. Blix several times to discuss this issue on a concrete ground to see what has happened, trying to convince the people of UNMOVIC to know exactly what the situation is." All clear?


Giving up on the chemical stockpile, Snow moved on to the 30,000 weaponized missiles Blix cited in his report to the Security Council. Why does Iraq have those, he asked? "We don't have these missiles, we don't have these rockets," Aldouri said bluntly. Snow pushed on, "You are going to tell us then that you have no serin gas, you have no VX nerve agents, you have no mustard gas, correct?" "Absolutely right," Aldouri replied.


So Snow asked Aldouri, once again, for proof that Iraq no longer had these things. Aldouri merely circled back to the beginning. "We have in the past such a program, in the '80s, not after '90s. And as I told you, the big bulk of this armament is destroyed completely. So now we are trying to convince people and try also to present all what we have as evidence to show that everything is destroyed, Iraq is clean." If this is characteristic of the exchanges weapons inspectors are having with Iraqi officials, no wonder they're getting nowhere.

Now Colin Powell has just finished his presentation of evidence to the U.N. Again, the issue isn't really what we find or don't find. The issue is Iraqi behavior and compliance. The 17 U.N. resolutions don't say jack about "what is found or not". They continually use the words "We call upon Iraq to...", to what? Grant access to inspectors. Provide accurate documentation. Allow the interview of scientists. Allow surveillance flights over Iraq. They've done the first, but not the last three. This is not complying with the U.N. resolutions, and enough is enough.

All Powell really had to do was quote this bit from Hans Blix's recent report to the U.N.:

In this updating, Im bound, however, to register some problems. The first are related to two kinds of air operations. While we now have the technical capability to send a U-2 plane placed at our disposal for aerial imagery and for surveillance during inspections and have informed Iraq that we plan to do so, Iraq has refused to guarantee its safety unless a number of conditions are fulfilled.

As these conditions went beyond what is stipulated in Resolution 1441 and what was practiced by UNSCOM and Iraq in the past, we note that Iraq is not so far complying with our requests.


These reports do not contend that weapons of mass destruction remain in Iraq, but nor do they exclude that possibility.


Regrettably, the 12,000-page declaration, most of which is a reprint of earlier documents, does not seem to contain any new evidence that will eliminate the questions or reduce their number. Even Iraqs letter sent in response to our recent discussions in Baghdad to the president of the Security Council on 24th of January does not lead us to the resolution of these issues.


The nerve agent VX is one of the most toxic ever developed. Iraq has declared that it only produced VX on a pilot scale, just a few tons, and that the quality was poor and the product unstable. Consequently, it was said that the agent was never weaponized.

Iraq said that the small quantity of agent remaining after the Gulf War was unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991.

UNMOVIC, however, has information that conflicts with this account. There are indications that Iraq had worked on the problem of purity and stabilization and that more had been achieved than has been declared. Indeed, even one of the documents provided by Iraq indicates that the purity of the agent, at least in laboratory production, was higher than declared.

and on and on.

Hell, if Powel just read Blix's report out loud to the U.N. one more time, it should be enough to show noncompliance and justification for the use of force.

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