Now comes word that Chief U.N. Weapons Inspector Hans Blix, in giving his positively upbeat address to the U.N. Security Council last week, neglected to mention the discovery of unmanned drones in Iraq that are capable of spreading chemical and biological weapons. These are the same drones Secretary Powell claimed Iraq had in his Feb. 5 address to the Security Council.
Blix defended his decision, saying he decided not to mention the drones at all because he wasn’t sure they were illegal. What does he think the drones are for? Spreading fertilizer?
True to form, Blix is enacting his own agenda: to slow the momentum toward war (and thereby prolong his ineffective inspections regime) by trumpeting minor concessions by the Iraqis and deemphasizing their overall substantial noncompliance with disarmament resolutions.
Here’s what the Bush administration should do now. First, forget the inspections and forget the draft resolution (which was a serious blunder with no chance of passage anyway). Instead, propose a short, simple resolution that declares Iraq has still not met its disarmament obligations and is in further material breach of the 17 previous resolutions. The resolution should demand immediate compliance with resolution 1441 with several actions, including producing all stocks of banned chemical and biological weapons that have previously been documented by U.N. weapons inspectors (or proving that they have already been destroyed).
It should not include a deadline, since it is now too late to set a deadline date late enough for the Security Council to accept but soon enough for an attack in March.
Instead, this new resolution would assuage the concerns of fence-sitting council members by setting several benchmarks that the Iraqis will never comply with, and it would force Blix into a binary argument for all future reports: either Iraq has complied with the benchmark or it hasn’t. And the wording of the resolution would appear so reasonable that a French veto could be framed as a vote against inspection progress, not against war.
Second, have Blix report to the Council, say, 10 days after passage. Sieze on Iraqi non- or half-compliance and declare Saddam Hussein has missed the deadline of “immediately” complying with 1441. Tell the inspectors to leave and get on with the business of deposing this man.
Third, put me on the White House payroll, because if I had the president’s ear instead of the right-wing wackos currently there, this diplomatic fiasco wouldn’t have happened in the first place.