Thursday, October 07, 2004


Sanctions weren't working, they were being used.

This story in the economist is interesting.

Here are some excerpts:

"YES, the weapons stocks that America, Britain and indeed most governments expected to find in Iraq after last year’s invasion are still not there. But no, that is not proof, as critics claim, that United Nations sanctions were working. On the contrary, Saddam Hussein was trying to play the UN and everyone else for fools; left to his own devices, he would have been quickly back to his chemical, biological, nuclear and missile tricks. If America’s intelligence services and others were victims of too much certainty about Iraq’s weapons, Saddam fell victim to his own deceit.
That is the gist of the latest, 1,200-or-so-page report from the American-led Iraq Survey Group (ISG), published on Wednesday October 6th. Since Charles Duelfer, the chief inspector, last reported in March, his team have ploughed through millions of pages of documents and watched thousands of videos. They have interviewed scores of Iraqis, including the man himself and many of his inner circle. In the ISG’s most exhaustive report so far, Mr Duelfer tries to pin down not just what was going on in Iraq, but why."

The article continues and mentions the multiple breaches of UN resolutions, intelligence agencies testing chemicals and poisons in secret labs, human test subjects, plans for missiles well outside the range allowed by the UN. There is also this bit about how he used UN sanctions to make money.

" By using some of his $11 billion of illicit income from sanctions-busting schemes to try to buy off politicians and companies in various countries, including Russia, France and China—each of which has a veto on the UN Security Council (and each of which ended up opposing the American-led invasion). The report says that, of Saddam's total illicit earnings, $2 billion came from corrupting the UN’s oil-for-food programme, under which Iraq had been allowed to export a limited amount of oil in return for using the proceeds to feed its impoverished people. To finance his illicit imports as well as buying influence, Saddam issued oil vouchers, which could be re-sold at a profit under the oil-for-food scheme, to those who were prepared, it seems, to take a slice of money that ought to have gone to malnourished Iraqis. "

Those of you who know me know that I don't really care about the WMD aspect of the war. I have always argued very strongly that even if we knew he did not have WMDs that the continued violation of the terms of surrender under the 1st Gulf War was sufficient reason to go in and get Saddam. If other countries know that they can surrender and then fail to live up to the terms of surrender then our credibility in global conflict becomes greatly diminished. We should have gone in years ago, but I think late is better than never. Was this the reason that was given to the public as justification? Partly, but it was never echoed so strongly as the potential WBDs. Part of the problem is that I don't think you could sell the U.S. public on going to war to enforce the terms of surrender and UN sanctions.

Anyway, that is my take for the day.

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