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pudge (1)

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Journal of pudge (1)

Friday February 14, 2003
11:50 PM

Material Breach, Working Inspections, and Antiwar

[ #10600 ]

Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, said today, "Many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for."

Blix added, "One must not jump to the conclusion that (the proscribed weapons) exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded."

UN Security Council Resolution 1441 says the UN Security Council "decides that false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq's obligations."

To sum up: according to the UN inspectors, Iraq is not accounting for forbidden weapons. According to Resolution 1441, Iraq is therefore in material breach.

There is no way around this.

But, can it be fixed? Can the inspections yet "work"? What does it mean that inspections "work"?

UN Security Council Resolution 687, which ended the Gulf War, is clear on the purpose of inspections. It says that the Security Council "unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of:

      1. All chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities;

      2. All ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometres and related major parts, and repair and production facilities."

And that to implement this, a Special Comission shall be establish for the "inspection of Iraq's biological, chemical and missile capabilities, based on Iraq's declarations and the designation of any additional locations by the Special Commission itself," as well as to accept those weapons from Iraq "for destruction, removal or rendering harmless, taking into account the requirements of public safety, of all (the weapons)."

Inspections work if Iraq is honest to the UN about all questions about their weapons, and those weapons are submitted to the UN for destruction. That is the only standard by which inspections "work," if those things happen.

Yet, Blix says, "Many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for." Therefore, inspections are not working.

France says that inspections are working. Many people say Iraq is not in significant material breach. Both statements are above demonstrated to be false.

That said, what of war? Resolution 687 also says the UN Security Council "decides ... to take such further steps as may be required for the implementation of the present resolution and to secure peace and security in the area." The UN Security Council has already decided that if inspections do not work -- and they are not working, and there is no sign they will work -- that it will take further steps. The one thing I can say is that I am unconvinced there are not intermediate steps between inspections and renewed hostilities.

To you antiwar protestors, a word: I can't believe you will convince significant numbers of people by saying war is evil, Iraq is not in breach, inspections are working, other countries are just as bad, the US just wants oil, and other things that are wrong or miss the point. What we need are more people to make the case that though Iraq is bad, though Iraq is in material breach, though insepctions are not working, though the Security Council has decided to disarm Iraq through other means if inspections do not work, that the case has not been made that the step after failed inspections is war. Emphasize that there must be another way, that, as Colin Powell said today, war must be a last resort, and that you are not convinced we have reached the last resort. Offer alternatives. Say there are steps between inspections and war.

Make that case, and you have more of a chance of making a difference, I think. Make that case, and you can convince people like me.

The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
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  • I read it, skimmed over it again, and then it hit me:

    "Not time to 'splain, let me sum up."
  • First of all, I do think that it's worth saying that other nations are just as bad, inspections may work (for certain value of "work"), and that it is just about oil.

    But if you don't buy all that, another point that could be made is simply that it is in our (the US's) own best interests to _not_ go to war, no matter what. To make this point successfully, I think it's simply necessary to show that the consequences of the war are worse than not going to war. The consequences of war would include _massive_
    • And you therefore will not convince very many people. You are not addressing, in any way, the primary issue of disarmament, the issue which has been the primary focus of the UN resolutions, the issue which is before our leaders. You will only convince those people who already tend to agree with you, which isn't very helpful to your cause.
      • My goal (and the goal of protests in general) is not to convince other people to think like me. The goal is to convince the current administration that there is a large segment of the population that doesn't support their endeavors to go to war.

        The latest polls (NYT/CBS) show the majority of Americans as unsupportive of military strikes without UN approval, and they show the majority of Americans supportive of more time for the inspectors. Bush has said repeatedly that he will gain the support of the A
        • The goal is to convince the current administration that there is a large segment of the population that doesn't support their endeavors to go to war.

          And, what do you hope to accomplish by that? Do you think lack of support will change their minds, that they will wake up and say, "Well, we know inspections failed and that Iraq is in material breach, but because a large segment of America -- that knows who Joe Millionaire is, but has never heard of Hans Blix -- thinks we need to continue with inspections,
      • First of all, I do think that it's worth saying that other nations are just as bad,
        inspections may work (for certain value of "work"),

      I see no reason to believe inspections will "work" for any value of the term. Inspections didn't work for the allies after WWI in Germany, the UNSCOM inspections in Iraq didn't work (nothing was turned up for years until Saddam's son-in-law defected and told us where all the weapons were), and they didn't work in North Korea.

      Well, if you in favor of delaying, dragging t