The United States is helping the United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq. The U.S. provides information and equipment. “The inspectors,” said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, “have an important job to do and are doing it diligently.” But their work will require Iraqi cooperation.
So far, the Saddam Hussein regime is not cooperating. As Mr. Boucher said, “The pattern of cheat-and-retreat is emerging again as the one that Iraq is following.” Inspectors found unaccounted for chemical weapons. Iraq has failed to account for mustard gas shells and missile testing that had been cited by previous inspections. To date, Iraq has failed to provide an up-to-date list of scientists. Iraq has not allowed private meetings with scientists. Iraq has failed to account for purchases and procurements. Iraq is stonewalling in regard to aerial surveillance.
Iraq has not complied with at least sixteen previous U-N Security Council resolutions requiring it to eliminate its programs for weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles. Iraq is not complying with the latest resolution approved in November. It gives the Iraqi regime one final opportunity to disarm voluntarily. Mr. Boucher said, “[Saddam] has failed every time.”
A peaceful solution remains in the hands of Saddam Hussein. As Mr. Boucher said, “If [Saddam] wants to disclose the programs and allow them to be destroyed by the United Nations inspectors, then we can avoid the need for military force.... That is the decision that he has to make and he should make.”
Saddam Hussein, said President George W. Bush, “is a man who likes to play games and charades.... The first indication isn’t very positive that he will voluntarily disarm.... [H]opefully he realizes we’re serious, and hopefully he disarms peacefully.... His day of reckoning is coming. And therefore, he must disarm voluntarily.”