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From the Hardcover edition.
From the Hardcover edition.
|1||Disarming Iraq : moments of truth?||3|
|2||Inspection : why, how, when?||15|
|3||Out of the ice-box and into the frying pan||41|
|4||Inspections, yes, but how?||69|
|5||The December declaration||99|
|6||To Baghdad and back||127|
|7||Approaching the brink||145|
|8||Search of a middle road : benchmarks?||175|
|10||Bashing Blix and ElBaradei||215|
|11||Diplomacy on the brink : the breakdown||237|
|12||After war : weapons of mass disappearance||255|
Barnes & Noble.com: Your book is entitled Disarming Iraq. Considering that the UN has pretty much determined that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) after 1994, it's apparent that your inspections worked. Do you feel personally vindicated?
Hans Blix: It is of importance to the world and not just a matter of personal satisfaction to me that inspections in Iraq from 1991 and onward, together with military, economic, and diplomatic pressures, in fact contained the Saddam regime and deterred it from keeping or rebuilding WMD capacity. The inspections that UNMOVIC (United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission) carried out from November 2002 to March 2003 and our analyses of them pointed to many open questions but did not conclude that there were any WMDs.
We were more critically minded than some governments and avoided rushing to conclusions. We warned about the weakness of some of the evidence they referred to, but our comments were ignored. I feel more sadness than satisfaction about that.
B&N.com: In February 2004, the CIA admitted that it did not share all of the intelligence it had amassed on potential arms sites with the UN. How did you feel when you learned that the United States had not been fully cooperative with your efforts?
HB: United States authorities did not tell us that they had given us all the suspect sites they knew about but said that they had given us "the best." When we found no WMDs at these sites, I asked myself, What is the rest? The reality was that they were 100 percent convinced that there were WMDs and had 0 percent knowledge where they were.
How could they? There were no weapons. This made us skeptical about the evidence that was invoked.
B&N.com: There have been allegations that some UN offices, including that of Kofi Annan himself, were bugged by the U.S. and the U.K. Do you believe your office was bugged?
HB: I have no evidence that my office and my private apartment were bugged, but I assumed at the time that it was quite possible. The Iraqis would do it if they could, and I thought the U.S. -- and perhaps others as well -- might do likewise. While this was an unpleasant feeling, it did not worry me unduly. We were not involved in any conspiracy, and what I said on the internal lines did not go in directions different from what I said publicly.
B&N.com: Was there anything Saddam could have done to forestall an invasion, in your opinion?
HB: Saddam should have wholeheartedly welcomed inspections and invited them everywhere and gone out of his way to help us in every respect, because convincing the inspectors that there were no WMDs was about the only way he could convince the world. It would believe us -- not him. He opened the doors and let us in everywhere, but he could have presented relevant witnesses for interviews at an early stage and asked them to be absolutely open.
It was only in February 2003 that Iraq began to understand that witnesses could be of value. Since there were no WMDs, they could not run any risks in encouraging their people to speak freely. I think Saddam was too proud and felt humiliated by being forced to accept international inspection. He should have seen them as an opportunity, not a penalty.
B&N.com: How did the events of September 11th affect the perception of whether Iraq had WMDs or not?
HB: September 11 led the U.S. administration to look at old evidence in a new light. It was looking for more guilty parties to punish than Al Qaeda. It became convinced about the existence of witches and simply looked for evidence confirming it. It was not examining evidence with a sufficiently critical mind.
For instance, an expansion of a building that used to have nuclear activities was proof enough that there were new nuclear activities. When the expansion was inspected it was found to be empty. Satellites can see roofs, but from roofs alone you cannot draw so many conclusions. Inspectors can see the inside of buildings. The combination of satellites and inspectors is good.
B&N.com: Didn't the massive American troop buildup during the time you were conducting arms inspections pretty much guarantee war?
HB: By the end of February, the U.S. and U.K. had painted themselves into a corner. With several hundred thousand men sitting in the desert, they would have needed something very spectacular to happen to enable them to call it victory and reduce the military threat. The destruction of 70 Al Samoud 2 missiles was not enough. If the military buildup had been more modest -- say, to 50.000 men -- the pressure could have continued while inspections went on in March, April, and May and the summer. It would then have become apparent that there were no WMDs at any sites known to intelligence (because there were no WMDs). The main argument given for the war, that there were real weapons of mass destruction, would have been drastically weakened and the war might have been avoided.
Lots of deaths and destruction would have been avoided. Loss of credibility for Bush and Blair would have been avoided and loss of authority for the Security Council would have been avoided. But Saddam and his terror regime would have remained. He was not a threat to his neighbors, nor to the world but, indeed, to his own people.
B&N.com: With Saddam now out of the way, was the war worth it?
HB: It is, indeed, welcome that Saddam is out, but the U.S. and UK did not justify the war by a need to finish a bloody regime. Nor is it likely that the U.S. Congress and the U.K. Parliament would have authorized war to get rid of Saddam. WMDs were the ground chosen because it was the only one that could secure authorization by the lawmakers. The inspectors and the world at large were not impressed by the evidence and so withheld authorization. Now we have to look forward. Bad and good consequences flow from the war. We must seek to minimize the bad ones and be pleased that that there is one big good consequence in Saddam's disappearance.
B&N.com: Did the war and the events leading up to it do more damage to the UN's credibility or that of those who pushed for war?
HB: The majority of the Security Council, which refused to authorize armed action, did not thereby make itself irrelevant. On the contrary, it denied legitimacy to an action that should not have been legitimized: The grounds invoked did not exist. How would we today have looked upon the inspectors if in March they had simply said, "We have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the evidence presented," and how would we have looked upon the Security Council if it had simply said, "Amen" to a request to authorize armed action to eliminate weapons which did not exist?
I think the authority of the Council is greater for not having allowed itself to rush to the wrong conclusions but urging longer time for inspection and examination of evidence. There was no other hurry than that created by an unnecessarily fast buildup of troops that could not sit idle very long. At the same time the Council's authority was damaged by the fact that a minority of its members chose simply to ignore the view of the majority. The U.S. and U.K. must have come to realize, however, that the resulting lack of legitimacy for the action turned out to be a greater handicap than they had foreseen. Perhaps it will lead them to be more cautious in the future.
Finally, it is remarkable that the differences in the Council did not relate to conflicting strategic or ideological interests. After the end of the Cold War there is even an eagerness to cooperate. All wanted assurances that Iraq had no WMDs. The only question was how. Was this difference worth all the porcelain that was broken in the Council?