Iraq Update
Jude Wanniski
October 4, 2002


The forces of darkness never sleep. The Pentagon warriors have persuaded the President, it seems, that Saddam Hussein is hurriedly hiding his weapons of mass destruction in secret places in anticipation of the inspectors returning. The market went into its steep fall today on that news and the report the President is going to address the nation about the threat from Baghdad. I hate to say it, but there is no doubt in my mind that the Pentagon intellectuals are so terrified of the UNMOVIC team moving back that it is making up bigger fibs by the hour. If there are secret hiding places in Iraq that cannot be detected by satellite or ground sensors, the UNMOVIC inspectors would locate them by interviewing the lower level government employes, which is how it has always been done in the past.

If you have not heard or read Scott Ritter lately, he again and again makes the point that for Iraq to develop weapons of mass destruction, it would have to import all kinds of materials it does not possess, that these would cost billions of dollars, and it would also have to import scientists who know what the Iraqis do not know. When UNSCOM left in 1998, Ritter insists ALL of Iraq`s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons plants had been demolished. If they have any chem/bio weapons left, they would long ago have become useless, he says, and there are no Pentagon intellectuals disputing him.

The news this morning was discouraging enough. UNMOVIC`s Hans Blix said he would postpone the inspections until it becomes clearer whether or not the UN Security Council would revise the 1999 resolution that gives the UN weapons commission their authority. Of course, the language in that resolution -- approved by the U.S. and Britain -- had already been ratcheted up sufficiently in 1999.

I`m still counting on diplomacy working, as Secretary of State Colin Powell continues to indicate that the administration would be satisfied with disarmament in Iraq. He told USAToday`s editorial board earlier this week that he can still envision Saddam remaining in power if he undergoes a behavioral change. Hang on as we await further developments from the Senate, the Security Council and the November elections.