Endgame: Solving the Iraq Problem -- Once and for All

Endgame: Solving the Iraq Problem -- Once and for All

by Scott Ritter

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Overview

WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT IRAQ?
Scott Ritter spent seven years in Iraq as an arms inspector for the United Nations. His 1998 resignation as the U.N.'s chief weapons inspector there made front-page headlines around the world. In Endgame, Ritter draws on his experiences to take us inside Saddam Hussein's Iraq and to explain where U.S. policy in Iraq went wrong.
Ritter describes in detail the ways that Saddam tried to foil inspectors by concealing his weapons programs. He brings readers with him inside some of Iraq's most carefully guarded sites and shows us dramatic face-offs between U.N. inspectors and hostile Iraqi guards and officials. But Ritter criticizes the U.S. for squandering an international consensus on Iraq and trying to use the inspections process for uniquely American goals. He argues strongly against the proposed American military strike against Iraq, suggesting instead a bold and innovative solution to the long-standing crisis.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743247726
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 10/28/2002
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Scott Ritter was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1984 and served for eight years as an intelligence officer, reaching the rank of major. He was an arms control inspector in the Soviet Union and served on the staff of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf before joining Unscom, the U.N. weapons inspection program in Iraq.

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Prologue

UNSCOM 255

August 2, 1998. We were 10,000 feet over the Persian Gulf, headed out of the haze for blue skies and Baghdad. Even then we knew this was our last shot at beating Saddam Hussein at his own game. In the seven years since being pummeled by Desert Storm, he had proved himself to be the master of deceit -- playing his sly, winning hand of concealing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction from the world, specifically from UNSCOM, the United Nations Special Commission inspection apparatus, of which I was chief inspector. But now we had an ace up our sleeve, a counterdeception all our own that would break the case wide open. It would all hinge on timing and the clock was running.

We'd lifted off from our base in Bahrain in UNSCOM's leased L-100. The white, lumbering aircraft was a civilian variant of the cavernous C-130 and there were only three of us in the flight cabin, sitting on a bench just behind the cockpit crew. I was briefing my boss, UNSCOM's executive chairman, Richard Buffer, who was en route to Iraq with his deputy, Charles Duelfer, for routine talks with the Baghdad government. Officially, I was in Butler's party, which included an entourage of about twenty disarmament experts in the rear cabin, to provide technical assistance and advice during the course of his visit. But my real purpose, as chief inspector, was to command a series of surprise inspections -- an operation we called UNSCOM 255 -- so called because it was UNSCOM's 255th inspection since its inception. We were set to begin as soon as Butler's visit ended on the 5th and he was out of Iraq. I had forty-two men on the ground in Bahrain and Baghdad ready to move in, awaiting Butler's green light.

The four inspection sites we were ready to pounce on were all exceptionally promising but one was a real gem, chosen on the basis of one of the hottest intelligence tips we'd ever scored: the precise location of a cache of ballistic missile guidance and control components, enough to equip a dozen missiles -- the hardware and the heart of Iraq's chemical, biological, and nuclear delivery potential.

Under the 1991 Security Council resolution providing for Saddam's disarmament, Iraq was permitted to retain ballistic missiles with a range under 150 kilometers. Suspicion arose from the very start however that Iraq would seek to maintain a covert long-range missile capability. It had agreed to declare its inventory of long-range missiles and associated production capabilities. UNSCOM's job was to destroy this inventory. Within months of that declaration, it became clear to us at UNSCOM that our initial concerns were soundly backed by fact: Iraq had lied on every level. For example, aerial photographs revealed that Iraq had more mobile launchers than it had declared.

UNSCOM had engaged Saddam in a frustrating game of cat and mouse, trying to hunt down the evidence of Iraq's wrongdoing. Saddam had covered his tracks well, yet UNSCOM continued to isolate inconsistencies in the stories told by Iraqi officials, pressing so hard on their inherent contradictions that gradually aspects of the truth emerged. Many of these breakthroughs took place over the issue of ballistic missile guidance and control components. Iraq was gradually forced to admit to clandestine dealings with several German and British companies that had provided critical support. But it never revealed the entire truth, just tantalizing bits and pieces wrapped in a cheesy fabric of lies, old and new. Even now Saddam was hiding something and even more so, he was hiding how he hid it. We called this phenomenon "the concealment mechanism" and we were resolved to find out how it worked.

As we made our way north, skirting Kuwait and ascending the fertile valley between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, the briefing was going well. Butler was fired up, and even Duelfer appeared upbeat. He was the pessimist among us. A longtime State Department official, he had risen through the ranks to become a national security expert.


We had been planning this inspection for some time, but things had been going downhill for UNSCOM for months. It had begun in April, with the U.S. pressuring Butler to radically restructure the controversial Concealment Investigations Unit, which I headed. We were controversial because the Iraqis vehemently opposed our operations -- opposed them because we were good at what we did. And what we did was continually penetrate the mantle of lies by which Iraq retained prohibited weapons.

Our most recent and dramatic success had come in March, on the heels of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's February agreement with Baghdad, reiterating UNSCOM's "unconditional and unrestricted access" to inspection targets. As a result, the Special Commission had been pressured into carrying out a quick test of that agreement. We had argued in vain for more time, but the United States had prepared a military option that required UNSCOM to make this test -- and inevitably, it seemed, to generate a crisis -- by the 7th of March. The pilgrimage of the Islamic faithful to Mecca, the Haj, would begin on the 15th, and the military strike, planned as one week of sustained air bombardment, had to be completed by that time. The U.S. had assembled a powerful armada in the region, and many in Washington were eager to use it.

We went ahead, of course, but insisted on fielding special support. For over a year I had been requesting, even demanding, that the inspection team be furnished with rapid assessment of all-source intelligence information. For example, I requested the interception of Iraqi communications by special teams of UNSCOM inspectors. This particular technique, considered the most sensitive of the work carried out by UNSCOM inspectors, provided us with unique insights into the Iraqi response, including how material was hidden from the inspectors. Such information would be transmitted to me and my team in Iraq, where we would be able to fuse it with the detailed observations we made. The result would give us the clearest picture yet of how the Iraqis responded to an UNSCOM inspection, and whether or not they were hiding material from a team during the course of an inspection. I had finally secured that capability and it had proved to be invaluable.

We went in that first week in March and by the time we left on the 9th the whole world was informed of how the Iraqis had met the test. We had attempted to gain access to a dozen facilities deemed sensitive by Baghdad. The Iraqis, in keeping to the letter of their understanding with the secretary general, had thrown open their doors at every one -- and, yielding no apparent violations, had thus forestalled any excuse for a U.S. military strike. March passed peacefully.

What the world did not know, however, was that our new intelligence capabilities -- specifically, communications intercerpts -- had racked up a major success. My team had been able to detect how the presidential security apparatus responsible for the protection of Saddam Hussein -- the Special Security Organization -- had evacuated material from sites in advance of our team's arrival, and how, when we got to a site where material was still stored, the SSO had created delays until it had been safely withdrawn. Here at last was the concealment mechanism in full-blown Operation, and the man directing it, we knew, was Iraqi presidential secretary Abid Hamid Mahmoud -- one of the most powerful men in Iraq, second only perhaps to Saddam Hussein himself. Senior defectors had long talked about the immense secrets kept under Mahmoud's personal protection. But his close relationship to Saddam had kept us at bay. Now we had the goods on him. All we needed to do was catch him in the act.

But that was not to be.

Armed with the stunning results of our March inspection, I was trying to mount an inspection campaign aimed directly at where it made the most sense, at Abid Hamid Mahmoud himself. Butler, Duelfer, and I had agreed that the tests of the Kofi Annan agreement were nothing but political eye-candy; the real tests would come afterward, when Iraq would drop its guard and UNSCOM could send in a team armed with high-value intelligence.

But the enhanced intelligence system so painstakingly put together began to be dismantled piece by piece at the behest of my own country. Washington, even while claiming to be well disposed toward the idea behind this mission, was working behind my back to undermine critical support of two of the most important proponents of the kind of concealment inspections I was charged with undertaking, the united Kingdom and Israel.

The U.K. withdrew three specialists from my full-time investigations team in Baghdad, gutting that operation. The Israelis were next, informing me that support they had previously agreed to provide could no longer be given. The screws were then applied to my own boss. Butler was suddenly less than enthusiastic. He began to question the political viability of my work, citing French and Russian criticism of my methods.

I was up against a wall, my options being continually whittled away. I disbanded my unit. I proposed a revised organizational structure to accommodate the new reality, the current operational and political environment. Duelfer and I traveled to Paris, trying to engage the French. Together with Butler, we went to London, where we explained my new operational concepts. Both capitals promised support. But it was in London and ultimately in Washington where I got my new marching orders.

The criteria for launching confrontational inspections had changed, I was told. What had proved successful in the past -- "shaking the tree," as we called it, by sending in inspection teams to stimulate and monitor Iraqi responses -- was now viewed by the U.S. and the U.K. as too controversial. Now we could act only when the results would be guaranteed.

The Clinton national security team knew there was no quicker way to provoke Iraqi noncompliance with Security Council resolutions than through an UNSCOM effort to inspect Saddam's inner sanctums, regardless of the compelling nature of the evidence presented. Afraid to provoke such a response, especially without knowing what Iraq might be hiding, the Clinton team instead decided on an uninspired, no-endgame strategy of containment through economic sanctions of indefinite duration.

The inspection regime to achieve arms control was rapidly being reduced to a mere illusion of arms control. But my job wasn't containment, it was inspections.

Although disheartened by the new conditions being imposed on my operations, the one narrow door of "guaranteed results" had been left open and I got straight to work. I went about reassessing the data I had regarding Iraq's concealment practices, identifying critical areas, hoping to develop them into something that could be used in an inspection.

Then we had two important breakthroughs:

* One involved specific information about how Iraq was conducting covert procurement via Romania of prohibited ballistic missile guidance components;

* The other -- the extremely perishable intelligence windfall mentioned above -- was a site where Iraqi authorities were hiding ten crates containing guidance and control equipment that had been taken from dismantled Iraqi missiles.

The first item led me to develop an inspection target folder for Iraq's Economic Department of the Presidential Office, located inside the Republican Palace. An inspection target folder was a file where we would assemble all information pertaining to a given location in Iraq that we wanted to inspect -- the background details, our all-source intelligence, high-resolution photography and detailed maps. This information would be used to plan the inspection, brief the UNSCOM executive chairman on the proposed inspection operations, and, if he approved the mission, to assist in the actual inspection itself. These folders were invaluable to the inspection effort. This meant that UNSCOM would have to undertake a new presidential site inspection. From our viewpoint this was an added bonus, since we knew that Kofi Annan, during discussions with Saddam's deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, in April, had promised that inspections of presidential sites would be finished by June 23. We now had a great opportunity several weeks in advance of that date not only to catch the Iraqis in the course of an illegal activity, but also to expose the underlying hypocrisy of the agreement.

But it was the site where that second piece of information led us that contained dynamite. From a description provided by our source, I had easily identified the building in question, which was located in Baghdad's downtown Aadamiyah section. The ten crates of missile parts were stashed in a basement of the Baghdad headquarters of Saddam's own Ba'ath party. If we could achieve surprise and surround the site before the Iraqis could evacuate the crates, we would obtain the ultimate catch-22 situation: let us inside as promised and we would find the prohibited material; bar our entry and violate the Kofi Annan compromise, and in the process invite a devastating air strike by the United States. UNSCOM would be prepared to camp out around this site until the situation had been resolved one way or the other.

Duelfer and I put together what we call a concept of operations, a plan that would enable us to carry out this inspection without tipping our hand to the Iraqis. At the same time, UNSCOM charted two other operations:

* unmasking an Iraqi remotely piloted vehicle (RPV) program that was suspected of being developed for the purpose of delivering biological agents;

* conducting an investigation of the Iraqi Defense Ministry's Chemical Corps aimed at uncovering evidence of a much larger chemical weapons program than Iraq had admitted to date.

By mid-June, the multiphase operation was in place. While the first two inspection teams were being pulled together, I flew to London, where I briefed British officials coordinating UNSCOM-related issues. Much to my surprise, there seemed to be genuine support for these operations. Buoyed by this visit, I returned to the U.S. to work with my counterparts in Washington, who likewise seemed favorably inclined toward the inspection. Butler was enthusiastic.

The countdown to a perhaps decisive four-day blitz of confrontation began, with the first inspection -- Ba'ath party headquarters -- due to take place on July 20. On short notice I was able to reconstitute my intelligence support. The first two inspection teams were dispatched to Bahrain. I was set to arrive there on the 18th. I would be joined by my deputy chief inspector as well as several operations staff. All of us were veteran inspectors, requiring no additional training. Instead, the clock was stopped.

The U.S. and U.K., Butler told me, were uncertain about going ahead. He needed to consult with them, he said, and on the 15th -- my thirty-seventh birthday -- I found myself pacing the floor of my office on the thirtieth floor of the United Nations Secretariat Building in New York, waiting for the results of these talks.

Butler came back. It was all bad news. The inspection was canceled. My carefully assembled team dispersed.

Clinton administration officials, torn between pressure from the Republicans to go forward and a reluctance to respond to any Iraqi confrontation (and there was sure to be one) with military force, had tried to convince Butler to postpone the inspection until "a more opportune time." Butler was convinced. To me, he called it a case of "bad timing." I viewed it as something else -- an appalling lack of leadership, not only in Washington and London, but also on Butler's part. He was allowing a golden opportunity to slip through his fingers. I said as much in a long, critical memorandum that I wrote to him the next day.

The onus of leadership fell on him, I said, and if he would seize the initiative, Washington and London would have to follow. That may have been somewhat naive, but I firmly believed, I wrote, that UNSCOM was fighting for its very existence as a meaningful disarmament body, and inspections aimed at uncovering concealment remained imperative. It was a fight worth fighting, I said, recommending that we go ahead with the planned inspections regardless of the naysayers, though not without continuing to seek support. "In reengaging on concealment," I concluded, "the Special Commission will be waving a red flag in front of the Iraqi bull. It is essential that this red flag be backed by a sword, or else the commission will not be able to withstand the Iraqi charge. In short, the Special Commission's push on concealment must be 100 percent."

It was as hard-hitting a memorandum as I could make it. Butler accused me of overstating the lack of resolve in both Washington and London. But my argument over the need to get a concealment-based inspection on track did resonate with him. He authorized me to put together an updated inspection plan to take place following his August visit to Baghdad.

I didn't have much time. July was half through, and I needed to get a new forty-odd-person team assembled, trained, and deployed prior to Butler's arrival in Iraq on August 2. We would use the same basic inspection concept that had been prepared for July; the intelligence on both sites, I was assured by sources, was still valid but not for much longer. I would make use of some twenty-five inspectors resident in Baghdad with the monitoring groups, and I added twelve experts, selected on the basis of what the team needed for the planned inspection. I had a five-person command element fly to Bahrain with the twelve experts to train them. They were to stay in Bahrain after the training to carry out last-minute preparations and receive intelligence updates until they flew into Iraq on the same plane that would take Butler out on August 5. Somehow it all came together. The inspections would begin on the morning of the 6th.


I'd learned to read Butler's body language and he was getting a little nervous as we flew deeper and deeper into Iraqi territory. The reality of what we were about to do had begun to hit him. Duelfer teased him about how the Iraqis could solve everything if they just shot us out of the sky. Butler was not amused. He kept asking probing questions, reassuring himself that these inspection targets were of a legitimate disarmament character. "What makes us go to that site?" he asked. How do I explain it to the Iraqis?...How do I explain this site to the Security Council?...What do we expect to find at this one?...What happens if the Iraqis stop us from entering?"

Over Baghdad, he signed off on the required authorizations. UNSCOM 255 was on.

We landed and were greeted by senior Iraqi officials from the Foreign Ministry. We loaded up in their Mercedes sedans and were driven to the Al Rashid Hotel. A mob of journalists was waiting for us when we arrived. The ones with the better noses for news wanted to know what I -- UNSCOM's concealment man -- was doing in Butler's party. I whisked by mutely.

The tension was mounting hour by hour, of course, so I was pleasantly distracted when I ran into a colleague I hadn't seen in a while at UNSCOM's field headquarters in the former Canal Hotel. It was Jason Driscoll, commander of a small team of U.S. Navy divers that operated out of Bahrain. He'd worked for UNSCOM in the past to help scour the bottom of Iraqi rivers and lakes in an effort to find weapons components dumped by the Iraqis to conceal their existence. Driscoll had been in the news a few days back, the subject of Iraqi allegations that he was an American spy caught red-handed photographing Iraqi troop movements. The incident was quickly revealed to have been a misunderstanding and the matter dropped, but at the moment he was taking a ribbing from his men, who were calling him "Bond, James Bond." They were just back from a diving mission, unloading their equipment. Driscoll and I went off to the cafeteria for a Diet Coke break.

He and his men had been dredging the Saqlawiyah Canal, which links the Euphrates and the Tigris and feeds an irrigation system for the farmlands along the waterway. They had been looking for the same kind of missile guidance and control components that I was about to swoop down on, so after we had a chuckle over the spy business, I leaned in when he began to speak of the dive.

"Scott, you wouldn't believe what we saw out there," he said as his eyes suddenly took on a haunted look. At a loss, I speculated about unexploded ordnance, the bane of underwater work in a riverine environment. I stared back at him, the sensation growing that it was something far worse. I listened intently as he related his story. The team had been diving east of an area where components had earlier been found. It was the height of the flood season, when the flow of canal water moves faster than usual and underwater visibility -- in conditions normally known as "Braille diving" -- increases to about two feet. The divers were investigating likely spots where the Iraqis might have dumped the missile components, where roads or trails lead directly to the bank of the canal. It was in one of these locations where the team made a grisly discovery.

"It was a plastic bag," said Driscoll, "and it contained an object with some weight and mass, so we opened it to see if the Iraqis had placed some of the components inside before throwing it into the river..." He paused. "It was a baby, a newborn...and there were more bags around us. We probed around and found bodies of men, their arms and legs bound...body parts, torsos of women...we didn't count how many, but it was clear this was a dumping ground for people being disposed of in a Mafia-like fashion."

That day, forty-eight hours before our initial surprise inspection, Saddam's deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, a man I had heard more than once refer sarcastically to UNSCOM's search for components as looking for "dead bodies," met with Butler and threw his newest wrench into the works. He informed Butler that Iraq had decided to stop cooperating with UNSCOM. There would be no more UNSCOM inspections. Neither would there be any talks; they were suspended.

A few hours later, Butler, Duelfer, and I were formulating a strategy in response to Tariq Aziz's move. We were locked inside a secure conference room at the UNSCOM monitoring center in Baghdad. It was an electronically swept facility with double-door access and an encrypted telephone link to U.N. headquarters in New York, but we still didn't trust it completely. We had the air conditioner running as loud as we could and repeatedly used the large white marking board instead of talking.

I argued that at the moment Iraq's position was merely verbal. We had to test this latest refusal as a means of forcing a definition of exactly what no cooperation really meant. Was it the total rejection by Iraq of the guarantees it gave to the secretary general back in February? Those commitments had been endorsed in the Security Council, which had promised "severe consequences" if Iraq were to be found in noncompliance. It was clear to all of us that such a test of intent would be the planned inspections.

We knew that by moving forward with this inspection we were entering a highly charged political arena. However, Iraq had thrown down the gauntlet. The consequences of this challenge had to be very stark or else the Security Council and the secretary general would seek a politically motivated compromise. All three of us were in agreement that such a compromise would only harm the commission and strengthen Iraq.

Butler ordered me to remain in Baghdad and assemble my team for the scheduled start of UNSCOM 255. He needed to return immediately to Bahrain and go on to New York to coordinate closely with the Security Council on this matter. He was resolute in his belief that this was the right course of action. He threw up his fists in a boxer's pose, and said, "I'm ready for a fight, Scott...Let's take it to them." I could only agree.


Five days later I was back on board the L-100, flying out of Iraq for the last time. After meeting in Bahrain with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who strongly opposed the inspection going forward, Butler had sent me instructions to postpone until August 10, giving him enough time to return to New York, present his report to the Security Council, and carry out additional consultations. On the 8th, he called me from New York to say that I was to leave Baghdad at once. The inspections had been canceled. There was, he said, no support for this kind of activity at this time. I was upset, to say the least, but there and then, high over the Persian Gulf, at last I knew for certain what lay on my horizon. I began to form the words...

"Iraq has lied to the Special Commission and the world since day one concerning the true scope and nature of its proscribed programs and weapons systems," I wrote Butler in my letter of resignation later that month. "This lie has been perpetuated over the years through systematic acts of concealment." I was high above the East River now, in the thirtieth-floor U.N. office I would shortly vacate, as I wrote reminding Butler of what I believed was our very reason for being. It had been Butler who had created dedicated investigations of Iraq's weapons concealment activities, which I had had the privilege to lead, and we had uncovered indisputable proof of a systematic concealment mechanism, run by Saddam Hussein and his security forces.

This investigation [I went on] has led the commission to the doorstep of Iraq's hidden retained capability, and yet the commission has been frustrated by Iraq's continued refusal to abide by its obligations...[and] the Security Council's refusal to effectively respond to Iraq's actions, and now the current decision by the Security Council and the secretary general, backed at least implicitly by the United States, to seek a "diplomatic" alternative to inspection-driven confrontation with Iraq, a decision which constitutes a surrender to the Iraqi leadership that has succeeded in thwarting the stated will of the United Nations.

Inspections do work -- too well, in fact, prompting Iraq to shut them down altogether....The illusion of arms control is more dangerous than no arms control at all. What is being propagated by the Security Council today in relation to the work of the Special Commission is such an illusion, one which in all good faith I cannot, and will not, be a party to. I have no other option than to resign from my position here at the commission effective immediately.

Following my resignation, I found myself in September seated in front of a combined session of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees. I was testifying about my decision to resign, which ultimately had been based on what I viewed as the failure of the United States to develop and implement a coherent policy to effectively deal with Iraq. I still had no answer as to what needed to be done. At that time, I saw myself as a messenger hearing firsthand experience from seven years at the arms inspection front rather than a strategist in the dangerous game of how to tame Saddam Hussein.

Following a warm welcome from the leaders of the two committees, I read my statement to that effect, and settled in to field the questions. Senator Joseph Biden was first to get down to business. He asked me if I should be the one "to pull the strings" on when the United States uses military force against Iraq. I replied that this had not been the case, that I had had a job to do, which the U.S. claimed it supported, but I had found the truth to be otherwise. Biden was relentless, suggesting that the question of taking the nation to war was a responsibility "slightly beyond your pay grade." Secretary of State Albright had more to consider, he said, than whether "old Scottyboy" did or didn't get into a suspect weapons site. The use of force was the kind of decision that people like Colin Powell and George Bush made, said the senator from Delaware.

I bristled but held my tongue. I fully expected this line of inquiry and had been warned in advance by Senator John McCain not to lose my temper. I had made some very serious allegations condemning the foreign policy of the Clinton administration regarding Iraq, and as such could not expect a free ride. I had an obligation to account for my actions.

Senator McCain, in his remarks, made a point that I greatly appreciated, that he "wished someone had listened to someone of your pay grade during the Vietnam War and perhaps there would not be so many names on the Wall." The U.S., he went on, was articulating one policy and doing the opposite, and that was "what was disturbing so many of us." Cut from this same cloth was Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry, who said that Saddam's aim was to continue to build weapons of mass destruction at any cost. The U.S. should be prepared to use force to achieve its goals, Kerry said, though it would be ill advised to do so without mobilizing public support. But sliding into a policy of containment, he emphasized, was disastrous.

In the months that followed, I have had occasion to reflect on the words spoken by the various senators that day. I had tried to speak from the viewpoint of an arms inspector, and not a national policy expert. For this reason, I felt that my response to Biden, avoiding elaborating on the specifics of a solution regarding Iraqi obstructionism, were appropriate at the time. But it was the words of Kerry and McCain that struck home the hardest: Kerry's observation on the need for decisive military action against Iraq, and McCain's comment that if people had listened to someone of my pay grade during the Vietnam War there might be fewer dead Americans. As Senator Charles Robb, a Democrat from Virginia and a former Marine veteran of Vietnam, noted near the end of my testimony, history was replete with cases where failure to act early resulted in greater suffering later.

Events have changed the Saddam problem dramatically since then, Desert Fox, Washington's pre-Ramadan, four-day war in December 1998 to "degrade" Baghdad's weapons of mass destruction capability provided the final proof that the U.S. was fully committed to an open-ended policy of containment and little else. Precision bombardment with cruise missiles made many walls crumble. They fell precisely as targeted, but few today will argue that there was anything of substance within those walls, and cement, even in Iraq, is cheap. UNSCOM crumbled with the buildings in Baghdad. Weapons inspections ceased. And a once-mighty coalition of our allies has disintegrated.

Indeed, I have grown convinced that there has been a total breakdown in the willingness of the international community to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein is well on the road to getting sanctions lifted and keeping his weapons in the bargain. A resurgent Iraq, reinvigorated economically and politically by standing up successfully to the United States and the United Nations, will be a very dangerous Iraq -- one that sooner or later will have to be confronted by American military might. No matter how difficult stopping Saddam Hussein is today, it will become more and more difficult, and extract a higher and higher price, the longer he is left to rebuild his arsenal.

If Desert Storm and its aftermath have come to an end with the relatively puny Desert Fox, what now is the correct policy to pursue to stop Saddam Hussein? That is the subject of this book.

Copyright © 1999 by Scott Ritter

Table of Contents

Contents

AUTHOR'S NOTE

PROLOGUE: UNSCOM 255

1 A Journey of Discovery

2 The Road to Auja

3 "He Who Confronts"

4 School for Weapons of Mass Destruction

5 "Dr. Germ" and "The Chemist" — A Family Business

6 The Two-Day War

7 Burying Treasure

8 The Year of the Gun

9 Fortress Saddam and the Concealment Mechanism

10 The Ghost in the Machine

11 The Lean, Mean Politics of Sanctions

12 What's in the Briefcase: The Anatomy of an Inspection

13 Black-Umbrella Days

14 The End of UNSCOM As We Know It

15 Trumping Saddam

APPENDIX: Iraq's Arsenal of Weapons of Mass Destruction

NOTE ON SOURCES

INDEX

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