2003 March 17 Monday
Bill Clinton Defends Tony Blair On Iraq

Writing in The Guardian Bill Clinton defends the moves that Tony Blair has made at the UN and criticizes Germany, France and Russia.

On the other side, France, Germany and Russia are adamantly opposed to the use of force or imposing any ultimatum on Saddam as long as the inspectors are working. They believe that, at least as long as the inspectors are there, Iraq will not use or give away its chemical and biological stocks, and therefore, no matter how unhelpful Saddam is, he does not pose a threat sufficient to justify invasion. After 150,000 US forces were deployed to the Gulf, they concluded the US was not willing to give inspections a chance anyway. The problem with their position is that only the threat of force from the US and the UK got inspectors back into Iraq in the first place. Without a credible threat of force, Saddam will not disarm.

Of course the inspections are never going to work unless the country being inspected actively assists in allowing itself to be disarmed. Inspectors do not have sufficient investigative resources and control to be able to hunt down most of what a regime decides to keep hidden. Also, it is impractical to keep one or two hundred thousand troops in the Gulf for years in order to compel Saddam to keep allowing the inspectors to go about their work.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 March 17 11:40 PM  Inspections and Sanctions


Comments
Chris Burgwald said at March 18, 2003 8:14 AM:

At The Corner, Jonah Goldberg noted part of the passage you cite, and then quoted what Mr. Clinton said last week in New York: "the White House sent 150,000 troops to the gulf, which convinced everybody we weren't serious about UN inspections. That's how we got into this political mess."

I suppose Mr. Clinton might believe that a massive military was both necessary to get Saddam to disarm and yet was also a political disaster, but somehow, I doubt he even bothered to try to reconcile the two statements. After all, the NY speech is part of ancient history now, in Clinton-time.

Bob said at March 18, 2003 11:22 PM:

"After all, the NY speech is part of ancient history now, in Clinton-time."

That depends on what you mean by "is", in Clinton-speak.


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