I'm afraid that UNSCOM as we knew it, and certainly as we created it in 1991,
is finished. And by that I mean, UNSCOM being an inspection mission that uses
a broad range of tools to pursue the elimination of Iraq's program of weapons
of mass destruction.
I think we will a) no longer see it doing anything other than, at most, formal
sorts of I.A.E.A. inspections, and no longer focused on the past, unearthing
Iraq's program. In fact, if you listen to what the UN Secretary General [Kofi
Annan] has said, he's said, "Let the past be past." That means let Iraq's
weapons of mass destruction program that survived the war and have survived
eight years of inspection exist. We'll only worry about the future.
As a neighbor of Iraq or as a citizen of the U.S. whose sons and daughters are
ultimately going to have to be the guarantor of peace in the Middle East, that
worries me tremendously. I have no confidence in that regime.
UNSCOM has to be there. It has to be ongoing, to at least make it difficult
for him to rebuild his system. And real monitoring, not the old monitoring we
used to have from the IAEA ... .
Iraq is selling oil, for what, more than a year now? Now, the rations has not
increased. So, where's the oil money going? ... Several cases [of smuggling]
are reported by UNSCOM and other organizations. So, ... if the sanctions are
removed, this is what is going to happen: Oil money will be freely spent by
Saddam without restrictions ... removing sanctions would benefit the people, I
think, is a false claim. It will never go down to the people. It will stay
with Saddam and his clique and his cronies, and his favorite groups. ...
Keep him under lid, keep him without money, reduce his power, keep him under
inspection, until a solution is found, to get rid of him. This is the only
way. If you allow him to sell as much oil as he wants, which he's more or less
doing now, and spend it as he wishes, and it goes to his people, to weapons, to
more weapons of mass destruction. People will get nothing out of it.
I mean, even during the Iran-Iraq war, with Iraq pumping ... his ration of oil
with the OPEC, and more sometimes, ... [t]here were no medicines in the market.
There were shortages. There were always shortages. And money was going to
weapons of mass destruction, to Atomic Energy, to chemical weapons, biological
How should we look at this eight-year battle between UNSCOM and Saddam? What
do we learn?
Iraq, despite the dragged-on drama, really may be the most important principal
established in the post-Cold War world. The international community stood up,
an unlikely coalition of more than three dozen countries, and said: Aggression
is not acceptable. You see that playing out today in Kosovo. It's not
consistent, but it is the single precedent established over the past decade,
and probably the most important, when we look at conflict in the 21st
How has Hussein suffered, what has he learned?
... Saddam Hussein may not have learned anything. He's one of the world's last
tyrants. But the broader international community got the message: that
aggression is no longer acceptable, and that the way a leader deals with his
people is actually more important than the right to sovereignty, and that the
international community will stand up and act, often when there are particular
interests: oil in Iraq, Kosovo's presence in Europe. But there are important
precedents that I think you will see play an incredibly important role in
international decisions in the 21st century.
So, what's next for UNSCOM?
UNSCOM may be finished by the name UNSCOM, but the mission is not over. The
fact is, the original U.N. Resolution calls for the dismantlement of Saddam
Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. Somebody has to go in and verify that
that's been done. And these are the world's greatest experts on weapons of
mass destruction: chemical, biological, nuclear, and ballistic missiles. I
suspect you will see many of the very same people who worked with UNSCOM going
back into Iraq, sometime down the road, to deal with the very same mission --
under a different name, perhaps, but the very same goal.
What has been most misunderstood about Saddam Hussein?
I think there are a couple of things the West misunderstood about Saddam
Hussein. First of all, how wily he is, how he would be able to stall, to cheat
and retreat, and to drag on a mission that was supposed to take a few months,
at most, into more than eight years. I think the U.S. miscalculated,
especially during the early stages of the conflict, by allowing him to retain
rights to fly ... his air power, and not understanding the limits in rising up
against [Saddam], be it by the Kurds and the Shi'ite minorities or by the
military that surrounds him.
He is one of the world's last tyrants. He has survived so long because he's
very good at his job. And I think, at the end of the day, we weren't able to
counter his key propaganda, which was the suffering of the Iraqi people due to
the toughest sanctions ever imposed on any nation by the United Nations. And
that gave him an edge in playing to the Arab street, in playing to allies like
China, Russia, and France, who wanted to do business deals with him, and even
Americans, who were prepared to shout down the Secretaries of Defense and State
and the National Security Advisor over the issue of the suffering of the Iraqi
At the end of the day, I think we probably have a policy in place that squeezes
him for the first time, harder than ever before. Quick solutions, absolutely
not. We're still in this for the long haul. But, at the end of the day,
Saddam Hussein's not going to win.
And not winning will mean?
Saddam Hussein may manage to stay in power for several more years, but he is
unacceptable to the international community, and even the Russian and the
French and the Chinese know that, even though they would very much like to do
business deals with his government.
And the broader Islamic world, the Arab world, the third world, basically
understand the limits to aggression, and that there are occasions that the
international community will stand up and say no. That's really the message
the 20th century. We're going out -- we fought World War I, World War II, the
Cold War, we took on tyranny, and we took it on again in Iraq, and it was an
incredibly important precedent for the post Cold War world.
UNSCOM's not doing its work in Iraq now, because Iraq threw us out. Is it
dead? I don't believe that. The Security Council is in charge here, and they
are committed to getting this job finished. Now, whether it will be on the
basis of this UNSCOM or a renewed UNSCOM is the issue that is under debate now.
But I'm very sick and tired, I have to tell you, of hearing, from Scott and
from others, that UNSCOM is dead. His UNSCOM has gone, but his mistake is that
he keeps telling the world that he was UNSCOM, and that is dramatically
UNSCOM has always been far more than the small bit of it that Scott Ritter was
responsible for, and it will be back to do the whole job, because the Security
Council want it to.
I want us to get back into Iraq to finish getting an account of its past
illegal weapons and to maintain and develop further the long-term monitoring
system that we had already started, to ensure that they don't reconstitute,
make those weapons again in the future. Now, whether that will be exactly this
organization or UNSCOM No. 2 is one of the things that the Security Council is
But I hear no one in the Council saying that we should walk away from this
task, that we shouldn't do it anymore.
The politics of this have changed and it is true that there are different
approaches amongst members of the Council on how to get this job done with
Iraq. The extent to which those different approaches have shown up in
different votes on resolutions or been, in other ways, more evident rather than
suppressed, varies from occasion to occasion. At the moment, there is a
division in the Council about how to get back into Iraq, exactly what the new
UNSCOM would look like.
But I don't hear any division about the basic need to get this job done. So,
in that sense, I think there is an underlying unity. The main point I'd make
about the role of the Council here is that it is in charge, it is unique, it
must be so, and when it divides, the only beneficiary of that is actually those
that would seek to break the law, in this case Iraq. Iraq has benefited from
divisions in the Council and I think many members of the Council are aware of
that. My concern is that UNSCOM gets back into the country, UNSCOM No. 2, if
you like, but it gets back in to do that work. The women and men, who are the
best in the world, who are waiting to resume that work, are able to do so.
It would appear that part of the political deal that will make that possible
will be a new leadership at UNSCOM, and if that's the case I will make that as
my last contribution to something that I deeply believe in. I think it's
wrong, and in some ways I regret it, but it seems to me, realistically, that
that's part of the deal. And if so, as I said, I'll make that as my last
I think ultimately, the only way out of this is the replacement of Saddam.
Now, my personal guess is that's more likely to occur as a result of internal
developments in Iraq. That is, Saddam is not going to freely step aside and
decide to retire to the South of France and enjoy the Riviera. Saddam is only
going to be removed by lead poisoning, that is, by some Iraqi, probably
military officer, who decides that Saddam is a greater threat to his personal
safety and his family or tribe's safety than are the Americans, and tries to
remove him. There have been a number who have tried, none successfully. I
don't think there's any way out of that.
Now, you can seek partial solutions: try to keep the sanctions on as long as
possible, some type of I.A.E.A. inspection that makes it more difficult and
more expensive to resume a massive weapons program. I have no confidence that
those things will ultimately work. Nor do I believe that Saddam Hussein is
likely to transform himself into a Jeffersonian democrat. Saddam Hussein is
today who he has always been, a completely paranoid character without any sense
of responsibility or bonding to norms. It's a regime that in its brutality is
And the people who ultimately suffer are not Americans. It's ultimately the
people of Iraq who are paying the price for Saddam Hussein. And we forget
I think, we have got to actively try to aid those who are inside Iraq and
outside Iraq who may have motivations for replacing him. I think we also ought
to shape the political environment. Iraq today has become a terribly sad
place. Yet, we forget what Iraq was just a short ten years ago. It had the
largest middle class in the Middle East. It had a superb education system,
high system, public health system -- It lived under a tyrannical and horrible
regime, but in fact it was a secular society, a garden spot in the Middle East
where they are few garden spots. It has two river valleys that have been
irrigated successfully for thousands of years. The agricultural production in
Iraq was always fantastic.
And yet, today -- and I fault American policy for this as much as anything else
-- we have not held out an image of what is the future after Saddam? If I were
an Iraqi, would I be willing to run the risk to my own survival and that of my
family, by trying to get rid of Saddam, if I didn't know what tomorrow is
likely to be? I think we should have crafted a package that said, look, with
Saddam's replacement, Iraq will be reintegrated into the world. The debts and
all will be forgiven. We view you as a major rock of stability in the Middle
We haven't crafted that political strategy. I think it is wrong to think that
$97,000,000 fed into clandestine opposition groups or open opposition groups,
without a political strategy -- So I would not just hope. And I don't, quite
frankly -- let me say -- I don't believe containment, over the long run, is an
appropriate strategy. Containment is condemning of Iraq to a regime that is
truly horrendous, as well as condemning the region to things -- I don't think,
for example, the maintenance bombing that the Administration is carrying on
almost daily in Iraq, is something that we as a country should be happy with.
I don't think it will win the political battle. I think it is going to very
quickly become a larger political issue with our allies. We're already seeing
the Turks object to it. And there's less enthusiasm in the Gulf than there
used to be for this policy. Containment of that sort worked with regard to the
Soviets, but it existed under far different conditions there. So, I think, in
fact, the pressure -- I would turn it on its head and say, a), we work actively
for replacement of Saddam. In the meantime, we certainly do try to contain
him. And we certainly might resort to some level of inspections, although I'm
not very confident they're good. But the first objective has got to be
What happens next is probably that Iraq begins to reconstitute some of its
weapons. It still has constraints. First of all, it still denies that these
weapons exist. So, to build them, deploy them, to use them, undermines an
important part of its political case. It essentially admits that it's been
lying all these years.
Second of all, it matters most whether you can deliver these weapons. The
Iraqi Air Force has been reduced to virtually nothing. And the weapons
programs that most matter, from an American and ally point of view, now, are
Operation Desert Fox, the bombing campaign in December, was said by the U.S.
Central Command to have set back Iraqi missile programs by two years. So, in
effect, you cannot stop Iraq from growing nasty bugs in the basement; you can
stop them from putting operational warheads on working missiles and launching
them at their neighbors.
Probably there is something else other than UNSCOM. But what matters to me is
less than those six initials. You know, I don't care if you call it The Good
Humor Man. What matters to me is that whatever goes in there has the same
tenacity and the same integrity and the same capability as UNSCOM. The worst
thing in the world is to have UNSCOM lite. The worst thing in the world is to
have a bunch of inspectors who go in there, the Iraqis show them a couple of
places -- baby milk factories -- and they say, "Great. Clean bill of health.
Time to lift sanctions, Security Council." That's the thing we've got to
avoid. So I don't much care if you call it UNSCOM or not, but it's really got
to be the kind of organization that Ekeus created, which has that kind of
determination and that kind of courage.
It will be tough. Again, we're seeing not simply the consequences of time
here, but we're seeing a fracturing of the coalition. The French clearly have
some different ideas. The Russians and the Chinese are way off the reservation
on this one. I think there is some fatigue in the Arab world. It will be
tough. But we have a piece of leverage here. There's no way you can lift
sanctions under Resolution 687, without UNSCOM or its equivalent one day,
basically giving the Iraqis a clean bill of health. That's the leverage we
have. So if Saddam Hussein ever wants to get out from under the bulk of the
sanctions, he has got to meet our requirements on weapons of mass
I think those are the keys to what you might call containment. The idea is to
prevent Saddam Hussein from regenerating weapons of mass destruction:
chemical, biological, nuclear, and missiles; to prevent him from importing even
conventional military arms. We want to make sure that any money that goes to
Saddam Hussein does not go to him directly, but goes into some sort of an
international escrow account so we make sure he can't start spreading it around
for his purposes, and that also we force him to pay compensation for the many
victims of Iraqi aggression. That's half the policy.
The other half of the policy is obviously to put greater weight on getting rid
of Saddam Hussein; to try to promote a coup in Iraq; to basically get some
Colonel or General to lead his division and take Saddam out; or conceivably, to
strengthen the Iraqi opposition, politically, as well as one day, militarily,
if it comes to that. So I think you've really got a two-dimensional policy now
to try to recreate the box. At the same time, within that, to try to find a
way to get rid of Saddam.
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