Inspections Did Not Work

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People keep saying the fact there were no WMD in Iraq means inspections worked.

This is demonstrably false.

First, we still don't know there were no WMD. That seems likely, but the work is not done. But let's assume for the sake of argument there were none.

So assuming that, we therefore conclude that Iraq was largely disarmed. It had some illegal missiles, and it could not account for everything it had.

But this does not mean inspections worked. Far from it.

The group performing the inspections is called UNMOVIC, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission. The name clues us in to the essential truth: it's not enough to inspect. You have to be able to monitor and verify. You cannot say inspections worked if they've not been verified.

That was the whole justification for war: that Iraq refused to cooperate with the inspectors to verify conclusively that he had no weapons. Blix said several times that Iraq was not fully cooperating in January through March 2003. Some of the times he came back he said they were cooperating more, but they were not fully cooperating, and we therefore could not have confidence they were actually disarmed.

I used this analogy a lot before the war began: a cop tries to apprehend a convicted felon, and tells the felon to take his hands out of his pockets and put them on his head. The felon refuses. What is the cop to do? His partner moves in to grab him, the felon flinches, the cop fires.

Now, some people say we could have verified, we could have gained complete cooperation, given enough time. But this kind of stalling is what UN Resolution 1441 -- approved of unanimously -- was designed to avoid when it said cooperation must be full and immediate.

Kerry himself echoed this sentiment in February 2002, when Chris Matthews asked him if Iraq "can be reduced to a diplomatic problem -- can we get this guy to accept inspections of those weapons of mass destruction potentially and get past a possible war with him?" Kerry responds, "Outside chance, Chris. Could it be done? The answer is yes. He would view himself only as buying time and playing a game, in my judgment. Do we have to go through that process? The answer is yes."

We did go through the process. We went through the UN. We gave him multiple chances over those three months. Hussein bought time, he played a game.

It's unfortunate it came to what it did, but let us be clear: finding out after the fact that there were no WMD does not mean inspections worked, and does not mean we were wrong to act.

Some might think I am trying to justify the war in light of the lack of WMD. But no, I said the same thing before the war. I never believed WMD existed in the couple months leading up to the war (and Powell's UN speech only made me more skeptical): I only believed Iraq was clearly not in compliance and as such we could not know that disarmament had occurred, and must therefore act as though it had not.

Also, I found the real reason for war.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on October 6, 2004 4:43 PM.

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