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Dear List, Time Magazine published the following article in its latest issue. It is an interview with UNSCOM's chief, Richard Butler. Needless to say, Butler repeats the lies that UNSCOM was thrown out of Iraq and supports a new aggression against Iraq. Perhaps we should send letters to the editor of Time exposing the lies and the fabrications. Letters should be addressed to: Letters@time.com ------------------------ Time Magazine Aug. 19, 2002/Vol. 160 No. 8 He's The Bane of Baghdad Former U.N. weapons inspector Richard Butler warns of the dangers posed by Iraq's arsenal BY AISHA LABI It has been three years since veteran Australian diplomat Richard Butler held the job of chief weapons inspector for the United Nations, but he is still no friend of Baghdad. Last week, as the U.N. rejected an Iraqi proposal to hold talks about the possible resumption of weapons inspections and the Bush Administration continued its saber rattling in Saddam Hussein's direction, Butler again found himself the target of Iraqi ire. "Hans Blix [head of the U.N.'s current weapons-inspection program] has inherited the same duties undertaken by the spy Butler," Iraq's Foreign Minister told one Arab newspaper. Butler's reaction: "Tired old stuff." His characterization of Iraq's offer to discuss the possible return of U.N. inspectors is equally dismissive. "These talks have been going on for four years and have just been stalling tactics," he says. "For Iraq to do that again now, now that it hears the drums of war beating, is nonsense." Undiplomatic language, perhaps, from a 60-year-old who has spent his career operating in the confines of foreign policy, where even the most banal utterances are carefully parsed. But where Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are concerned, Butler minces no words. "A complete lie" is how he describes Iraq's promises to comply with inspection: "From the beginning their declarations of what weapons they held were false." Though he and his team were hampered by lack of cooperation even before they were kicked out of the country in 1998, Butler saw enough to convince him that Iraq has what he describes as a "significant weapons-of-mass-destruction program. In the closing days before they decided to shut us down, we found some really disturbing stuff." As the last international inspector to have had the opportunity to assess Iraq's weapons, Butler is in a unique position to judge how they might have evolved. He hesitates to make "wild remarks" but notes that there's every reason to believe Saddam Hussein's arsenal now includes far more weapons of mass destruction than during his tenure. Given his conviction that the Iraqis are in violation of international law and his belief that war is an acceptable remedy for such violations, does Butler see any reason for optimism in the current situation? "It's not particularly hopeful," he concedes. But having spent his entire career — with the exception of a brief foray into Australian domestic politics — working in foreign affairs and disarmament, he has not lost faith in the power of diplomatic persuasion. He holds out hope that the U.S. and Russia — whose previous support of Iraq he blames for helping to stymie his inspection efforts — will together be able to convince Saddam to face inspections rather than war. Even the Iraqi leader's recent bellicose pronouncements don't convince Butler that the situation is irretrievable. "The Iraqis always carry on with such propaganda," he says. Given his firsthand experience of being the target of that propaganda, Butler's glimmer of optimism is both unexpected and welcome. Q&A TIME: What's the basis of your conviction that Iraq has a significant weapons-of-mass-destruction program? BUTLER: The evidence comes in a variety of forms, from evidence of production at various facilities, Iraq's own documents, physical munitions, destroyed missile warheads, from which we took swabs and found traces of chemicals. TIME: You say Russian skepticism and hostility were complicating factors during your tenure. How has Russia's attitude changed? BUTLER: Today the Russians are much more careful about their support of Saddam, especially because of their new relationship with the U.S. Whether it will go to the point where Russia would actually join in a coalition of forces against him I strongly doubt. TIME: Isn't an offer to discuss inspections better than nothing at all? BUTLER: This proposal does not represent a move by Iraq to comply with the resolutions of the Security Council. So while it may sound logical to say, "Better anything than go to war," it doesn't mean anything. Those talks have been had. We must have one last, serious shot at getting inspections restored in Iraq, real inspections, not phony ones, before going to war. The U.S. must go to Russia and say, "Let's together make clear to Iraq that we mean business." _________________________________________________________ Need help building a winning CV? An impressive cover letter? It's all right here for FREE! Go to Maktoob Jobs. http://www.maktoob.com/ _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk