Man Without Qualities

Thursday, September 19, 2002

An Inspector Suggestion

Both Lileks and Galt have lots of sharp things to say about weapons inspections in Iraq. The Man Without Qualities thought just enough about the practicalities and strategies of weapons inspections to realize that I would need at least two more lives to think the whole thing through.

But I do have one wirthwhile consideration that hasn't been publicly vetted (perhaps for good reason):

My guess is that the United States knows some - but not all - exactly or reasonably specific - locations of Iraq's WMD centers, and that the evidence of such locations is very sensitive. Suppose an acceptable panel of experts (acceptable to whom I will leave as a seriously open question - but say the Security Counsel and the US intelligence agencies for the moment) could be formed and the evidence of such locations disclosed to that panel. The Security Counsel resolution requires that Iraq disclose all locations of WMD, and authorizes military force if that is not done. As a non-exclusive enforecement mechanism, the resolution also states that if Iraq does not disclose a single site that the panel knows about then Iraq is to be conclusively deemed in material defiance of the resolution. Iraq does not know which locations the US (and the panel) is aware of - so if Iraq fails to disclose even one location, that location may be on the "known" list.

Is the above feasible, and would it provide a meaningful incentive for Iraq to disclose? Would it help call the multilateralist bluff? Or would it just confuse the situation?

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