Trust in Saddam: What Hans Blix Doesn't Tell Audiences Nowadays
11:01 PM, Oct 22, 2005 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
Yesterday, in an address at Tufts University, former UN inspection chief Hans Blix harshly criticized the Bush administration over Iraq and then added something quite interesting and very much at the heart of the debate over the March 2003 decision to remove Saddam from power. According to the Boston Globe,
The "anything" Blix is referring to includes the unaccounted for weapons of mass destruction -- the anthrax, VX, chemical & biological precursors, chemical rockets & shells, etc. -- that UN inspectors knew Saddam had produced but could not verify had been destroyed. The inspection regime agreed to by the Security Council was never about the number of inspections completed. It was about Saddam's regime actively engaging in disarmament and providing "verifiable evidence" to the Security Council that it had. The UN insistence on this "verifiable evidence" standard began in 1995 when Iraq was caught in a massive deception campaign to hide the scope of its weapons programs from the inspectors. From then on, the UN inspection team's conclusions on the state of Iraq's disarmament were to be solely based on "obtaining verifiable evidence including physical materials or documents; investigation of the successful concealment activities by Iraq; and, the thorough verification of the unilateral destruction events." In other words, Saddam had to prove he got rid of the stuff to ensure that he did not just stash it away somewhere beyond the eyes of the UN. Clinton Defense Secretary Cohen explained it this way in 1998:
Here's what Hans Blix said on the verification standard in late January 2003 -- though somehow I doubt he reminds today's audiences of what he said back then.
Blix also gave some concrete examples of the difficulty in verifying Iraq's disarmament without the active help of Saddam's regime. For instance,