Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Press Release

Iraq: Still Failing to Disarm Byliner on Iraq by AIT Director Douglas H. Paal

Secretary of State Colin Powell recently posed this question, which brings all that has been said and written about the crisis with Iraq clearly into focus:

"Let me put the question to you directly and clearly in the simplest terms that I can. The question simply is: Has Saddam Hussein made a strategic political decision to comply with the United Nations Security Council resolutions? Has he made a strategic political decision to get rid of his weapons of mass destruction? That's it, in a nutshell."

That has been the same question on the table for 12 years, and the only reasonable answer is no.

Saddam Hussein has been trying to avoid the consequences of his non-compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, hoping to escape the moment of truth. It is now time for the United Nations to come together once again and send a message to Saddam that no nation has been taken in by his transparent tactics.

Nothing we have seen since the passage of 1441 indicates that Saddam Hussein has taken a strategic and political decision to disarm; moreover, nothing indicates that the Iraqi regime has decided to actively, unconditionally and immediately cooperate with the inspectors. Process is not performance. Concessions are not compliance. Destroying a handful of missiles under duress, only after being pressed and when he can't avoid it, that's not the kind of compliance that was intended by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441.

Iraq's too little, too late gestures are meant not just to deceive and delay action by the international community, he has as one of his major goals to divide the international community, to split us into arguing factions. That effort must fail.

Saddam's response is consistent with his answers to all the previous resolutions. He has met each one of them with defiance and deception, with every passing year since 1991 and with every passing day since the adoption of Resolution 1441.

If Baghdad really were cooperating, if they really wanted to comply, if it really were disarmament that they were interested in, they would be bringing all of these materials out, not scattering them for concealment. That is not what is happening.

Unfortunately, the inspection effort isn't working. Why? Because it was never intended to work under these kinds of hostile circumstances.

We have seen a dribbling out of weapons -- a warhead here, a missile there -- giving the appearance of disarmament, the semblance of cooperation. And in recent days, they have promised more paper, more reports. But these paltry gestures and paper promises do not substantially reduce Saddam's capabilities, they do not represent a change of heart on his part, and they do not eliminate the threat to international peace and security.

If Saddam leaves us no choice but to disarm him by force, the United States and our coalition partners will do our utmost to do it quickly, do it in a way that minimizes the loss of civilian life or destruction of property. We will do our utmost in such circumstances, should they be forced upon us, to meet the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people.

And soon after the immediate needs are met and internal security is established, we would want to move as quickly as possible to civilian oversight of the next stages in the transformation of Iraq, working with Iraqis both inside and outside Iraq, and the many coalition partners we will have, working with all the elements of the international community that would be willing to play a role in such an effort. Then, legitimate Iraqi institutions representing all Iraqis, representing the people, can be raised up.

To be sure that there will be lots of work to do. The work of reconciliation and rehabilitation and reconstruction will be a long and hard one, but the United States and its allies are up to the task.

The United States and the international community want to help free the Iraqi people from fear, and let them achieve freedom from want.