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WashPost: Ritter's response to Butler

Following is Major Scott Ritter's response to Richard Butler's
WashingtonPost OpEd (previously posted, but available here:


Disarmament Dispute in Iraq
The Washington Post    
Wednesday, July 19, 2000; Page A22 

In his July 17 op-ed column about Saddam Hussein re-arming, Richard Butler
said that in my article in the June issue of Arms Control Today I claimed
that Iraq is "qualitatively disarmed" without offering new evidence to
support my position. In fact, I quoted from five U.N. arms inspection agency
documents and referenced events in which I was involved to support my

Mr. Butler also said that my position regarding Iraq's qualitative
disarmament has been shaped by conversations with "unspecified Iraqi
officials." I have articulated this position since late 1998 through
numerous public speaking engagements and the publication of a book as well
as in opinion pieces in the New York Times, Boston Globe and The Post.

My position regarding Iraq's disarmament status is no about-face, but a
careful assessment based upon an examination of all the facts I was privy to
during my time with UNSCOM, the U.N. inspection team.

Mr. Butler further misrepresented my interaction with the Iraqi officials.
My article noted that Iraq almost certainly would cooperate with an
inspection team if the disarmament program was specifically linked to the
lifting of economic sanctions upon a finding of compliance. At no time did
Iraq try to sell me on the concept of "qualitative disarmament;" it is
strictly my own position.

The missile tests cited by Mr. Butler, all of which reportedly failed, tend
to reflect the reality that Iraq has not had any quantum leaps in the 18
months since weapons inspectors were last in Iraq.

Mr. Butler also cited U.S. assertions that Iraq continues to possess 20 to
30 Scud missiles. This figure is without substance. Since 1991, I had been
struggling with U.S. intelligence over Scud numbers and watched as the
figure shrank from more than 200 to "around a dozen" without any
corresponding analysis. UNSCOM never supported a figure of more than eight,
and even that number was speculation.

Delmar, N.Y.
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