Ed Driscoll

INSPECTION CONDITIONS

Good post by Jonah Goldberg in National Review Online’s Corner Weblog:

Even if there are no conditions on the inspectors (assuming there are inspectors) it’s important to recognize how difficult these missions are. For example, I was listening to a congressional hearing with a panel of former UN Chief Inspectors on C-Span radio the other day (again, yes, because I am that cool). I don’t know which one told this story, but it was pretty illuminating. Apparently, during one of the previous hunt and peck searches in Iraq, the inspectors received intelligence from a very reliable and high-ranking source that there was a huge secret stockpile of nasty weapons under the central Baghdad cemetary. Fortunately, the inspectors checked out the story and it turned out to have been a ruse set up by the Iraqi government. Saddam’s people wanted the UN to bulldoze the cemetary, desecrating Muslim graves and the like just so the Iraqis could denounce the action for propaganda purposes.

Even if we end up sending inspectors to Baghdad “without conditions”, there is every reason to assume that the Iraqis will do everything they can to turn it into a circus. Remember Saddam has foregone 160 billion dollars in oil revenues just because he wanted to keep inspectors out. In other words, he has something to hide and he is willing to incur great costs to keep it hidden — for a reason.