2003 January 23 Thursday
David Kay on the Limits of UN Inspections Teams

Former UNSCOM chief nuclear weapons inspector David Kay describes why its foolish to expect a weapons inspections team to find hidden weapons.

When it comes to the U.N. weapons inspection in Iraq, looking for a smoking gun is a fool's mission. That was true 11 years ago when I led the inspections there. It is no less true today -- even after the seemingly important discovery on Thursday of a dozen empty short-range missile warheads left over from the 1980s.

The only job the inspectors can expect to accomplish is confirming whether Iraq has voluntarily disarmed. That is not a task that need take months more. And last week's cache is irrelevant in answering that question, regardless of the U.N.'s final determination. That's because the answer is already clear: Iraqi is in breach of U.N. demands that it dismantle its weapons of mass destruction.

Kay points out that it took 4 years for UNSCOM to find the Iraqi biological weapons program. An extension of the UNMOVIC and IAEA inspections into the rest 2003 will accomplish nothing more than buying Saddam more time to develop more weapons. Kay reiterates the argument he's repeatedly made in the past: a country like Iraq is too big, its intelligence agencies are too resourceful, and the inspections teams are too small for inspections to be a viable way to discover prohibited weapons. The government that is having its territory searched has a far easier task to keep things hidden than the inspections teams have in trying to find the weapons and labs.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 January 23 12:42 AM  Inspections and Sanctions


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