Sunday, September 29, 2002


The Iraqis have further refined their concept of "unconditional." "’Our position on the inspectors has been decided, and any additional procedure that aims to harm Iraq is unacceptable,’ [vice president] Ramadan told reporters here." That is, the Iraqis will only accept "unconditional" inspections based on the 1998 agreement between the UN and Iraq that set up completely toothless and hence acceptable inspection procedures. This makes it all the more shameful that the French would consider the mockery of Iraqi-defined "unconditional" inspections acceptable. The French accepted them so fast that it is clear they wanted any excuse to be able to go bat for the Iraqis. (Let me just say thanks to the French for their military’s efforts to protect Americans in Ivory Coast. My frustration with French foreign policy in general does not blind me to the fact that we are friends. It makes France’s attitudes toward Iraq all the more dismaying)

We insist on inspections that actually are unconditional (even as I consider the armed inspections completely silly). But the Iraqis like the old agreement—it clearly does not "harm" Iraq’s ability to develop weapons of mass destruction. It is no wonder that the Iraqis raise objections to inspections that might possibly find something that would give us the excuse to invade. The Iraqis probably are stuck now after denying all knowledge of programs to create weapons of mass destruction. We’d only have to find one lie, and then withdraw the inspectors and attack. The French, supposedly an ally of ours, should be ashamed to consider the Iraqi proposal acceptable.

On the other hand, the efforts of the French, or the three American Representatives from Congress who recently went to Iraq to show their support, for that matter, contribute to Iraq’s perception that they can continue to hang tough and won’t have to face our wrath. If the Iraqis had no hope, they might capitulate enough to stall action for months or years. Instead, the opponents of war serve a very important service for the pro-invasion forces. I kind of enjoy that.