View Full Version : Oh Oh, Not Good

Dave Fleming
12-19-2002, 05:11 PM

December 19, 2002
Powell and U.S. Ambassador Cite Gaps in Iraqi Report

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said today that Iraq had violated a United Nations resolution by turning over what he said was a false and incomplete list of its weapons a finding that he said could lead to "serious consequences."

"We are disappointed," Mr. Powell said. "We are not deceived."

Until the Iraqis decide "to come clean," the secretary said, "we should be very skeptical and, I'm afraid, we should be very discouraged with respect to the prospects of finding a peaceful solution."

Mr. Powell said that Iraqi defiance could not continue, and that Iraq would be disarmed by force, if necessary. But he sought to dispel any notion that war was imminent and signaled that Saddam Hussein still had a chance albeit a fading one to comply peacefully.

"Iraq is well on its way to losing this last chance," Mr. Powell said. "Iraq's noncompliance and defiance at the international community has brought it closer to the day when it will have to face these consequences."

The secretary has been the Bush administration's chief advocate for sending United Nations inspectors back to Iraq rather than pursuing an independent course of action that he feared would be more likely to lead to war.

The weapons declaration offered by Baghdad, as compelled by the United Nations Security Council, consists of "recycled information and flagrant omissions," Mr. Powell said.

The secretary said the Iraqi offering essentially contained what United Nations weapons inspectors already knew before they were expelled by the Baghdad regime in 1998.

"Most brazenly of all, the Iraqi declaration denies the existence of any prohibited weapons programs at all," Mr. Powell said.

Mr. Powell cited Iraqi efforts to develop weapons using anthrax, biological agents, mustard gas and nerve gas all programs that have been well documented by intelligence but were not mentioned in the Iraqi declaration.

Before Mr. Powell's afternoon speech at the State Department, there had been conjecture over whether he would say that the Iraqi response to the United Nations contained "material omissions" or constituted a "material breach," a more ominous term that could be read as a prelude to war.

Instead, Mr. Powell used both terms. "These are material omissions that constitute a material breach," he said.

(The State Department, on its Web site, www.state.gov, (http://www.state.gov,) provided a "fact sheet" containing examples of what it said were omissions in the Iraqi declaration.)

Responding to questions, Mr. Powell said too much had been made of the supposed differences between the two terms, and that the reality was the same in any event.

Iraq's defiance brings it "closer to the day when it will have to face the consequences," he said. "The world will not wait forever."

The secretary said the United States would continue to sift through the Iraqi documents; consult with allies and other Security Council members, and work to intensify weapons inspections in Iraq all to avoid war, if possible.

"The burden remains on Iraq," the secretary said. "Not on the United Nations, not on the United States the burden remains on Iraq to cooperate fully and for Iraq to prove to the international community whether it does or does not have weapons of mass destruction. We are convinced that they do until they prove to us otherwise."

Mr. Powell, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1991 Persian Gulf war that drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, said, "This situation cannot continue."

While the secretary said there was "no calendar deadline" for Iraq to avoid war, he reminded reporters that American military units were being deployed in the Middle East now, just in case.

If war does come, Mr. Powell said, "the only thing I would say about the nature of that conflict is that it will be done in a way that would minimize the loss of life."

He went on to say that any military campaign would be designed to achieve its mission "in as swift a manner as possible, and for the purpose of getting rid of weapons of mass destruction and liberating the Iraqi people."

Mr. Powell's words were foreshadowed earlier in the day when the chief United Nations weapons inspector and the American envoy to the organization both voiced deep dissatisfaction with Iraq. Speaking at the United Nations, they, too, emphasized that war with Baghdad was not imminent.

The United States ambassador, John Negroponte, said that Iraq had been so evasive, and its information so incomplete, that it was in "material breach" of the United Nations resolution that compelled it to give a complete inventory of its deadly weapons.

But he declined to say whether he believed Iraq's unsatisfactory response brought the United States any closer to war with Iraq.

The inspector, Hans Blix, and Mr. Negroponte told reporters in New York this afternoon that Iraq needed to provide many more details to prove that it was not developing weapons of mass destruction.

"An opportunity was missed in the declaration to give a lot of evidence," Mr. Blix said, referring to the volumes of weapons-related paperwork and computer disks that Baghdad handed over under orders from the United Nations.

The language of Mr. Negroponte, who like Mr. Blix spoke today after conferring with the United Nations Security Council, was stronger. "It is truly unfortunate that Iraq has begun what was supposed to be a new chapter in compliance with council resolutions by falling back on the regime's practice of omissions, evasions and untruths," Mr. Negroponte said.

But Mr. Negroponte emphasized, as did Mr. Blix, that they were not looking for a trigger to start a war, and that in fact they hoped that conflict could be avoided.

"In the days ahead, we intend to continue our analysis of this declaration," Mr. Negroponte said. The ambassador said Washington would continue to consult with the Security Council and well as American allies on what to do about the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, also tried to dispel any sense that war was imminent. Mr. ElBaradei, who stood alongside Mr. Blix, went so far as to praise Iraqi cooperation in allowing access to suspected weapons sites.

"Iraq is cooperating well in terms of process," Mr. ElBaradei said, adding that much more cooperation was needed "in terms of substance."

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Memphis Mike
12-19-2002, 05:17 PM

12-19-2002, 05:27 PM
More posturing without evidence.

ken mcclure
12-19-2002, 06:25 PM
Heh. A friend of mine is a federal employee. He got a circular last week encouraging him to get his smallpox vaccination and instructing him how to put together a survival kit.

Let's see here. Two plus two is how much again?

Peter Malcolm Jardine
12-19-2002, 06:32 PM
I hate to sound republican, but you can only give Saddam so many opportunities to come clean. Unfortunately, we are not privy to the supposed intelligence information that contradicts the iraqi declaration. Nevertheless, it seems everyone knows there are ommissions. tick tick indeed.

Nicholas Carey
12-19-2002, 07:10 PM
The stupid thing is that with the way this whole thing is set up, it doesn't really matter what Iraq says or doesn't say. It's a classic "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" scenaro:

1. Iraq says, "we got nukes, we got bio- and chemo munitions."

Result: "Told you so..." War.

2. Iraq says, "we got squat. Got rid of it all. Here's the accounting."

Result: "You're lying." War.

3. Iraq says nothing.

Result: "Aha! Your'e hiding something." War.

12-20-2002, 04:15 AM
Originally posted by Nicholas Carey:
The stupid thing is that with the way this whole thing is set up, it doesn't really matter what Iraq says or doesn't say. It's a classic "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" scenaro:

1. Iraq says, "we got nukes, we got bio- and chemo munitions."

Result: "Told you so..." War.

2. Iraq says, "we got squat. Got rid of it all. Here's the accounting."

Result: "You're lying." War.

3. Iraq says nothing.

Result: "Aha! Your'e hiding something." War.4. Iraq announces they sold all the oil to Exxon and signed a management deal with Haliburton. Result: No war and Cheney resigns to take up his old post as VP of Haliburton. Dubya declines reelection in 2004 so he can come with Rice to be part of the Exxon management team.

[ 12-20-2002, 04:19 AM: Message edited by: Meerkat ]