Wednesday, November 20, 2002


I read this one after I wrote the inspections note below. “Iraq's vice president said Wednesday there would be limits on the U.N. weapons investigation, though the top inspector says Baghdad has agreed to unannounced checks even on Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s "special" sites.”

Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said Wednesday that Iraq would fully cooperate with weapons inspectors, but he vowed to prevent them from gathering "intelligence."

"Any demand or question or a manner of work that conforms with the objective of the inspectors who want to verify that Iraq is free of weapons of mass destruction will be met with full cooperation," Ramadan said in an interview from Baghdad with the private Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.

"But for demands which are clearly (meant) for intelligence or for other objectives that have nothing to do with the weapons of mass destruction, we will act in such a way so as to safeguard the country's sovereignty and security," he said.

Iraq had raised sovereignty in barring inspectors from Saddam's palaces and other sites in the 1990s.

What kind of limits do the Iraqis have in mind? Here’s hoping the big-knuckled Iraqi guy is getting ready for Blix. He deserves it after this gem: “The question of unannounced checks on sites like Saddam's palaces, an issue that helped derail inspections in the 1990s, "is settled by the resolution. It wasn't even discussed," chief weapons inspector Hans Blix said Wednesday after departing Baghdad at the end of a two-day visit inaugurating a new U.N. oversight program, four years after the last inspections.” Wasn’t even discussed, huh. I guess that’s because the Iraqis have their own ideas about what it means and Blix didn’t want to appear rude by asking them just what they planned on doing. What a piece of work. It is just not possible for Blix to learn from experience, apparently.

Lord, that man will probably get a couple inspectors killed before this one is over. But Blix left Iraq. I hope he has the decency to go back. He probably will. I think he may actually believe the Iraqis will come clean this time. Of course, some have said they will need a year to determine whether Saddam Hussein is complying with his 1991 agreement to surrender all weapons of mass destruction and cease efforts to produce them.

Earth to Blix: he hasn’t and he won’t. And you have until Christmas to figure this out.