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More on UNSCOM


George Capaccio

January 31, 1998


 We often ask, "Why don't the Iraqis just let the inspectors `do their
 job'?" One reason may be that the inspectors have the say about keeping
the sanctions on, and the sanctions have stayed on now for over 7 years,
and nearly 1.5 million Iraqis have died during that time.  That may give
the Iraqis some reason to resent the United Nations Special Commission
[UNSCOM] inspectors. We need, however, to examine that statement, "doing
their job"  a little more closely.  The following are some examples we
discovered in our journey to Iraq, of UNSCOM inspectors "doing their job." 

 We spoke to Bishop Emmanuel Delly, of the Chaldean Catholic Church in
Iraq (largest Catholic Community, very ancient, dating from about 100 AD
or so).  He said that he received a panic call from the nuns at the
diocesan convent next door, because the UNSCOM people were there,
searching the convent.  They also intended to dig up the graveyard of
nuns, exhuming the bodies to check for biological and chemical weapons. He
went over there and stopped them.  They only used Geiger counters over the
graveyard.  He went on Iraqi TV to protest, then sent a letter of protest
to Bill Clinton and to the Pope.  The next Summer (August 10, 1997) he was
denied a visa to the US to join a conference of Chaldean Catholic

 We spoke to the Press Club in Baghdad.  They told that at one point,
UNSCOM went by a building that was a school for children.  Although they
were told that children were there, they wanted to go in to "verify." 
Their Iraqi counterparts explained that their presence would terrorize the
children - could they wait until classes were over.  But UNSCOM insisted. 
They went in, and searched all four floors to determine that they were all
school children.  It seems the children were frightened, but they
responded by chanting "Down, down America" over and over until UNSCOM
left.  This is on video. They also told us that an UNSCOM investigator
(from Sri Lanka - ? They weren't sure).  went to a farm (UNSCOM, remember,
has access even to private homes), and asked the farmer, "What are these?"
"Cows," he responded.  "What are their names?"  "They have no names,
they're cows."  The inspector said,"You must name the cows."  This is also
on video.  The point, of course, is to show power over, and to humiliate. 

 A university professor, Donny George Youkhanna, told me about this, and
it was verified at the Press Club. UNSCOM went to the University of Mosul
(about 250 miles north of Baghdad), went up to the library there, and
broke the window.  Then they threw the chemistry books (at least, maybe
the physics books, too) out the window into a ditch and burned them.  The
Press Club has this on tape as well.  The point here is (and we should
listen for this word in the news)  that the sanctions stay on until Iraq
no longer has the capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction.  And
that would mean that UNSCOM would be within its rights to destroy books,
too, which preserve all the chemical/biological knowledge.  [Of course,
when you think about it, this means the destruction of any PERSON as well
who might have the knowledge.  This strategy seems to have support in the
maintenance of the sanctions, which attack the people, and keep them from
going to school, because of disease or hunger, or physical/mental stunting
from malnutrition, or just plain death.  It also finds support in a recent
New York Times article.  Gary Milhollin said that even though the Iraqis
no longer produce weapons of mass destruction, they still have the
capacity to do so, because their scientists are still alive and doing
research.  He followed it up by saying, "You can't destroy weapons
research and development unless you kill people" (NYT, 11/11/97, A10:6). 
So . . .  watch for that word, "capacity,"  huh?]

 Please also note that if any of these actions had been resisted (as they
were in Delly's case), the report would have gone back to the UN in New
York that the Iraqis were in a "pattern of non-compliance" - and the
sanctions would stay on. 

 We also spoke to Denis J. Halliday, United Nations Humanitarian
Coordinator for Iraq.  He told us that the Iraqis had a number (5, I
think) of helicopters that they were using for crop dusting.  As the
sanctions stayed on and on, the helicopters fell more and more into
disrepair.  Finally, there were only a bunch of spare parts that the
Iraqis were keeping in a UN office, so that they could reclaim them when
the sanctions were lifted.  UNSCOM went into that office (where, Halliday
said, the spare helicopter parts were kept literally under a desk), took
the helicopter parts, and then ceremoniously destroyed them.  [UNSCOM
inhabits a different part of the building, and is sometimes a bit
antagonistic toward the "humanitarian" UN people:  once they all had
T-Shirts ridiculing "bunny huggers," i.e., the humanitarian people.  When
we went up there, the deputy director, Jaakko Ylitalo (Finnish) was very
accommodating, but I could not help noticing a prominent 8-1/2 x 11
Laser-printed sign, "None of your dirty [Iraqi] dinars here" next to a
concession machine.]

 By the time you read this, we may have bombed Iraq again.  And if so, we
will most probably have used the Tomahawk Cruise Missile.  With its nearly
700 mile range, its 550 mph speed, and its virtual undetectability, the
Tomahawk is the "preferred solution" to the problem of killing people
without suffering casualties ourselves.  It can be equipped with a nuclear
warhead, but now is generally equipped with a 1,000-pound conventional
warhead, or possibly with a half-ton of anti-personnel "bomblets" which
kill, maim or cripple people.  It is also possible for those bomblets to
be left unexploded, so that later people can be injured in trying to clean
up, to rescue their wounded, or to recover their dead. The Tomahawk is
guided to its target in three ways.  First, it has inertial guidance. 
Then, it has internal "terrain contour matching"  (TERCOM) guidance.  That
means, it has an internally stored map which a computer compares to the
actual terrain as the missile flies.  Finally, as the Tomahawk approaches
its target, in the final seconds, it is often guided by an actual
photographic image of the target rather than the map.  Suppose we put two
and two together.  Scott Ritter was working for United States Military
Intelligence during and after the Gulf War.  He is a chief inspector in
UNSCOM.  In order to guide this missile to its point of maximum
destruction, the US needs an actual close-up photographs of the target. 
So, where might those photographs come from?  Would you let these guys
with their sophisticated monitoring equipment have "unrestricted access"
to your "sensitive sites"? 

       I do not think UNSCOM is evil, ofcourse.  I think they have been told
they have absolute power [Albright used the word "unconditional" 
yesterday], and that tends to corrupt, especially if you're an inspector
that comes from a poor nation, or one that is bent on humiliation. Another
point is that UNSCOM has almost nothing to do.  There are 111 permanent
members there.  They are always bringing in additional teams (from 10 to
30 each) of inspectors from other countries. 

 According to Ylitalo, they have destroyed 817 Scud missiles, and they
THINK there may be two more.  When I challenged him, "So, for the sake of
perhaps two missiles ...?" he responded that "there was a `warhead gap.'" 
They claim to be missing some warheads, which they claim were once
carrying biological or chemical weapons.  Ylitalo also said that the
International Atomic Energy Agency has left Iraq, because there are no
nuclear weapons there. We asked about the palaces, and he responded
cheerfully, "Oh we know there's nothing in the palaces."  "You know?" I
asked, incredulous.  "Yes," he responded.  They have U2 and other spy
plane flights, they have satellite photos (which can read license plates),
and they also have lists from all countries which sold weapons to Iraq, of
what they sold.  And they've been watching the palaces being built.  They
knowthere's nothing there [please note that a month ago, Hussein allowed
dozens of reporters into the "palaces," allowing them to film whatever
they wanted, wherever they wanted.  It was a "compromise"  rejected by
UNSCOM.  He is presently allowing diplomats in, for the same reason.  That
has also been rejected by UNSCOM.  Even though they know there's nothing
there.] When I challenged him on why they were doing that, he said, "It's
the principle of the thing."  "Well,"  I responded, "They have principles,
too - like sovereignty and honor.  And for the sake of your principles,
three or four hundred people will die today."  "I'm only following
orders," he said.  So the bottom line is that you've got scores of UNSCOM
people (and 5 helicopters with 35 Chilean pilots, and planes and
satellites, etc.) that are paid TONS of money (over and above their
salaries, for example, theyreceive about $US 100.00 a DAY just for
EXPENSES - and THAT is something like 40 times what an Iraqi DOCTOR earns
in a MONTH), to look for no nuclear weapons, a couple of missiles (maybe),
and maybe some kilograms of chemical/biological stuff, in a country the
size of California. Then, of course, they have to be sure that Iraq
doesn't have or ever acquire the capacity . . . 

G. Simon Harak, S. J.
Jesuit Residence
Fairfield University
Fairfield CT  06430-5195
ho: 203-254-4000
wk: 203-254-4000 x.2363
Fax: 203-255-5947

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