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Richard Butler

Dear friends,

In light of tonight's Washington Post's on-line forum with Richard Butler
(at 5 pm EST, at, I
would like to share with you my impressions of Richard Butler based on my
recent debate with him (on KQED, San Francisco NPR affiliate).

In a nutshell, Butler is an expert at speaking without saying anything, at
building hypothetical scenarios that are not based on fact or logic, and
on obfuscating the issue.  Furthermore, his response to anything that
refutes his rhetoric is simply "that's not true."

I've included some specific points, mostly from the KQED debate with
Butler.  More information on Scott Ritter's powerful and informative
statements on disarmament will be shared soon. In the meantime, please
look over these brief thoughts, and try to incorporate them into your
questions with Butler.

Once again: Richard Butler is going to be doing a round with Live Online,
the Washington Post's on-line forum, at 5pm EST tonight. You can submit
questions for Mr. Butler at anytime at:

If you have any questions about the comments below, please let me know.

-Rania Masri

Economic sanctions:

* With regards to economic sanctions, Butler said, during the end of the
debate on KQED, that sanctions are 'ineffective.' In the BBC on-line
debate, he said, "I deeply believe that sanctions as now applied to Iraq
have been utterly counterproductive for this disarmament purpose."  He has
not (to my knowledge) stated that sanctions on Iraq should be lifted. He
has only gone one step forward by stating his disagreement with the
policy.  It is important that we hound him until he either attempts to
justify this murderous policy, or states that he opposes the policy AND
supports the lifting of the economic sanctions on Iraq.

Weapons of Mass Destruction:

* In the KQED debate, Butler dismissed Scott Ritter's statements regarding
Iraq's disarmament with a simple "that's not true". Butler, in the KQED
interview, stated that Iraq is NOT qualitatively disarmed.  (He did not
elaborate further.)

Scott Ritter, in numerous articles and interviews, has stated that Iraq is
qualitatively disarmed (see:

Note: Ritter is not the only weapons inspector to state that Iraq is
practically disarmed.  Raymond Zalinskas, former UN weapons inspector,
stated - in an interview on NPR morning edition on February 13, 1998 -
that "UNSCOM has destroyed all the chemical facilities, the chemical
weapons facilities, and also all known chemical weapons. ... In the
biological area, UNSCOM has destroyed the dedicated biological weapons
facility at al-Hakam, plus other ones at other institutes. And as far as
we know, they have no biological weapons stored up." He said that
inspectors had already wiped out any possible chemical and biological
weapons sites in Iraq by 1995. (see:

* When I stated that disarmament should be qualitative not quantitative,
Butler agreed - and said that he supports qualitative disarmament in place
of quantative disarmament. He re-iterated that Iraq is far from being
qualitatively disarmed, without stating any further information on this
point. (I had to remind him that the UN SC Resolutions state that Iraq
should be quantitatively disarmed, and that he did not publicly call for a
change in that policy.)

* In the midst of empty statements, Butler said that Iraq had kicked the
inspectors out in December 1998.  A glaring lie, since he himself was the
one who removed the inspectors without permission from the UN SC. (When I
pointed this out to him, he muttered an incoherent reply.)

* Butler contradicted himself rather clearly in the one-hour debate. In
the first-half hour, he alleged that the 'international community' is
united in its stance against Iraq.  In the second-half hour, he said that
there needs to be a unified stance in the international community towards

* Butler likes to build up hypothetical scenarios, ones that serve no
other function other than to instill fear in ignorant hearts.

* One more point regarding disarmament: the preamble of the UN SC
Resolution 687 states that efforts to disarm Iraq must be within regional
efforts of disarmament, and that the Middle East should become a zone free
of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological, chemical). UNSCOM has
done no work in regional disarmament. In a BBC on-line debate (June 4), he
said, "In the last chapter of my book I make very clear that as we move
towards nuclear disarmament as we must that Israel's weapons have to be
put on the table." (my apologies for this grammatically incorrect
sentence from the wires.)  Questions can be targeted on this aspect.


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