Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Saddam's Letter

Bill Quick points out that the "unconditional" Iraq letter is just not unconditional:

This letter reads well on cursory examination, but a deeper look reveals it offers nothing new. Iraq is still demanding the same old conditions of an end to sanctions and the sanctity of Saddam's regime before permitting "unconditional" inspections, and, on top of it, wants a guarantee that it can "discuss practical arrangements for the resumption of inspections" with no time limit whatsoever on those discussions.

Even the normally dim New York Times partially grasps the problem when it reports:

While the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, emphasized Iraq's willingness to permit unconditional inspections, Mr. Kay [, a senior vice president with Science Applications International Corporation in Virginia,] said, Iraq's letter of acceptance also spoke of the "practical arrangements" needed to resume visits and the "commitment" that United Nations member states had made "to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq." Such language, he argued, was reminiscent of Iraq's earlier refusal to permit inspectors to visit Mr. Hussein's palaces and other symbols of Iraqi sovereignty and independence.

But, of course, the United Nations rushes in, anyway.

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