That Whole Rigamarole

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Very Serious Consequences Indeed

I watched Fox News Sunday today. One of the guests was Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan). He used the word "complete" in connection with weapons inspection in Iraq several times, as in (paraphrasing) "allow time for inspections to be completed."

I can't imagine what that means in this context, and the Senator didn't explain it. I suppose that if Iraq had really provided a complete declaration of their WMD programs, then the inspectors would be going around to verify all the statements in the declaration. But of course the declaration is incomplete in many important respects, so don't we know that the inspections can never be completed under these circumstances?

Brit Hume pressed the Senator closely on whether he agreed that Iraq is in material breach of UNSCR 1441. Levin agreed that they are. Hume asked the Senator to define what he thought "serious consequences" would be. His answer: more inspections. That is the formulation that has produced 12 years of dithering and has pushed the UN to the brink of total irrelevancy.

The Senator also thought we should give the UN all of our intelligence about banned Iraqi weapons programs. That would be an excellent step to enhance Iraq's ability to hide these programs from us, and to burn our intelligence sources. I wonder how Carl Levin figures the Iraqis are finding out what facilities they need to sanitize? Does anybody think that none of the inspectors have been bought off?

Fox identified Carl Levin as a national security expert, but I can't for the life of me understand why.


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