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[casi] Brief - 3 War-Related Angles to Watch (Author - Nathaniel Hurd)

Subject: Three War-Related Angles to Watch; US Officials’ Rhetoric
Author: Nathaniel Hurd, consultant on UN Iraq policy, Mennonite Central
Committee UN Office
Date: 13 December 2002

Angle 1: Iraq's 7 December declaration and US intelligence agency
Angle 2: UNMOVIC/IAEA's authority to interview Iraqis outside Iraq.
Angle 3: US "information" regarding Iraq's non-conventional weapons and the
low standard for "proof" that US officials must use to justify a war against

Below you will find expanded angles, along with relevant newspaper excerpts
and quotes from US Officials.  Note that source endnote numbers appear in

Angle 1: The US "reports" to the Security Council that Iraq's 7 December
declaration contains "false Statement or omissions".  US officials then use
such a "report" to justify using massive force against Iraq.

Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1441 permits UN member states to "report"
to the Security Council on ostensible "false statements or omissions" in
Iraq's recent declaration relating to the biological, chemical, ballistic
missile and nuclear fields.  SCR 1441 decides in advance that reported
noncompliance constitutes a “further material breach”.  (1)

Relatedly, the press is reporting that "American intelligence agencies have
reached a preliminary conclusion that Iraq's 12,000-page declaration of its
weapons programs fails to account for chemical and biological agents missing
when inspectors left Iraq four years ago, American officials and United
Nations diplomats said today." (2)

Angle 2: US officials focus on tools that SCR 1441 grants UNMOVIC/IAEA.
Specifically, these officials focus on the interview authority.  If
UNMOVIC/IAEA choose to not utilize the external interview mechanism, then US
officials may argue that UNMOVIC/IAEA are unwilling and/or inadequate to
verify Iraqi disarmament.  US officials might then argue that the US
Government has one option: it must use force to disarm Iraq.  If
UNMOVIC/IAEA choose to utilize the external interview mechanism, and the
Government of Iraq fails to cooperate, then US may declare that Iraq is in
"further material breach" and the US Government must therefore use massive
force to disarm Iraq.

A UN source suggested to me that although SCR 1441 grants UNMOVIC/IAEA
expanded interview-related authority, it does not order UNMOVIC/IAEA to use
this authority. (3)

US officials reportedly argue that there is a link between Angle 1 and Angle


The Bush administration believes any failure by Iraqi President Saddam
Hussein to produce scientists that United Nations inspectors want to
interview outside the country would constitute "noncooperation" by Baghdad
with last month's U.N. resolution, a senior administration official said

The official said the interviews must begin "soon," and should focus on
filling gaps of information and "clarifying details" missing in the Iraqi
government's 12,000-page declaration of its ballistic missile, chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons programs.

The official's comments were a clear sign that the administration
anticipates the interview process will spark a direct confrontation with
Iraq. Several senior officials have made clear in recent days that they see
the interviews -- with scientists and technicians who have worked in past
and present Iraqi weapons and missile programs -- as the quickest way to
declare Baghdad in material breach of the new resolution without going
through a lengthy inspections process that may ultimately be inconclusive.



Angle 3: US Officials argue that they have "information" demonstrating that
Iraq has non-conventional weapons.  They might then refuse to publicly
reveal said information (and thus open it to evaluation and scrutiny).
Subsequently they may state that they primarily only need to assert
Government of Iraq "patterns", a "track record", and piece together
"disparate" puzzle pieces in order to inform US decision-makers and justify
using large-scale force against Iraq.  "It is the task of taking these
disparate pieces and putting them together so that people can make their own
judgment, not for [the US] to prove anything."

Below are quotes from Whitehouse Press Secretary Ari Fleischer and US
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld regarding Angle 3.

Whitehouse Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, 4 December 2002.


MR. FLEISCHER: We have said publicly that based on our information, they
indeed have weapons of mass destruction. And this is why I remind you -- the
Iraqis don't exactly have a good track record of honesty and truth-telling
when it comes to the declaration of what they have. That's why the work of
the inspectors is important. And that's why the President insisted on the
return of the inspectors.

This is why the President refers to this as 10 years of defiance. We've
heard Iraqi lies before. After all, when the Iraqis recently said, in the
'90s, they had no weapons of mass destruction, how do they explain the fact
that they proved that they had them?



White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, 5 December 2002


MR. FLEISCHER: Let me cite for you something I think you will find
constructive. This is July 31, 2002, Senator Biden's committee up on Capitol
Hill, and this is a statement by Richard Butler, formerly of the United
Nations. Quote -- this is Richard Butler speaking -- "It is essential to
recognize that the claim made by Saddam's representative that Iraq has no
weapons of mass destruction is false. Everyone concerned, from Iraq's
neighbors to the U.N. Security Council to the Secretary of the U.N., with
whom Iraq is currently negotiating on this issue -- everyone simply, Mr.
Chairman, is being lied to."

And Mr. Butler, formerly of the U.N., continued, "From the beginning, Iraq
refused to obey the law. Instead it actively sought to defeat the
application of the law in order to preserve its weapons of mass destruction

Two more paragraphs -- "The work of UNSCOM, the body created by the United
Nations Security Council to take away Iraq's weapons of mass destruction,
had various degrees of success -- varying degrees," said Mr. Butler. "But
above all, it was not permitted to finish the job. Almost four years have
now passed since Iraq terminated UNSCOM's work, and in that period, Iraq has
been free of any inspection and monitoring of its WMD programs."

And then Mr. Butler concluded, "This shows two key things. One, Iraq remains
in breach of international law, and two, it has been determined to maintain
a weapons of mass destruction capability at all costs."

President Bush has said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction; Tony Blair has
said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction; Donald Rumsfeld has said Iraq has
weapons of mass destruction; Richard Butler has said they do; the United
Nations has said they do; the experts have said they do. Iraq says they
don't. You can choose who you want to believe.

Q So -- but if you had this evidence other than what Richard Butler is
talking about, why don't you lay it out on the table? Why don't you share it
with the American public?

MR. FLEISCHER: I think the burden now falls on Saddam Hussein and his
opportunity to shed that burden comes this weekend when he will send to the
United Nations a declaration of the weapons that he possesses. And I think
it will be a very interesting day to see what he says in that document, and
we shall see what he says he has. Also we'll see what he says he doesn't

Q Why can't you present your own evidence, for god sake? Nobody is stopping
you. And Butler knows damn well that we pulled the inspectors out.

MR. FLEISCHER: I think, Helen, the burden is on Saddam Hussein to comply
with the will of the United Nations and demonstrate –



Q There have been moments in American history when Presidents have decided
that it was worthwhile to make some intelligence data public to prove the
case and not simply make the statement. Adlai Stevenson at the U.N. is a
famous one, but there have been others. Is it the administration's intention
at this point to attempt that, to provide backup evidence, whether it's in
the form of satellite photographs or other intelligence, to indicate areas
that you believe that Saddam Hussein is --

MR. FLEISCHER: The burden of proof lies with Saddam Hussein. The world has
seen Iraq lie for 10 years, and Iraq continues its ways of lying and
deceiving to the world when it says it does not have weapons of mass
destruction. When the authorities that I cited earlier, including -- let me
read you one additional report because I think this, too, is constructive,
and it comes from, frankly, The New York Times.

This is April 10, 1998. "A team of independent experts who reviewed Iraq's
progress in eliminating biological weapons at Baghdad's request has rejected
Saddam Hussein's contention that he no longer has a germ warfare program."
And this report was compiled by military and scientific experts from 13
countries, including the United States, Russia, China and France.

So given the overwhelming amount of history that the world has had dealing
with Saddam Hussein, and his deceptions and lies about whether he does or
doesn't have weapons of mass destruction, the burden this time lies with
Saddam Hussein. And he can begin to shed that burden with what he reveals
when he produces the declaration this weekend.

Q The burden of proof may lie on him, but the burden of putting together a
coalition, if you believed he has withheld information, obviously lies on
the United States. And the way you put together that coalition is providing
evidence to back up your claims and the claims of others. The question is --

MR. FLEISCHER: I think the President is --

Q -- are you prepared to do that in public?

MR. FLEISCHER: I think in terms of assembling a coalition, the President is
very well satisfied that the coalition is already assembling. The President
has said that he will assemble a coalition of the willing, and the coalition
has access to information and they know what I have just been saying to you,
in citing these very public cases, including news reports.

Q Why can't the public know?

MR. FLEISCHER: We'll know this weekend, won't we, when Saddam Hussein makes
his report.

Q It's not your intention to make it public, is that where we're --

MR. FLEISCHER: Not make public --

Q It's not your intention to make public intelligence that would contradict
whatever is in Saddam's --

MR. FLEISCHER: All events in due course. Let Saddam Hussein make his report
this weekend, which is what the United Nations asked to happen, and that is
what the President called for.



US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumseld, 26 September 2002


Q: Mr. Secretary, can we follow up on that just a little bit? Much of the
criticism, congressional and others, domestically and overseas, is that
neither you nor the president have proven the case, so to speak, about a
possible attack on Iraq. Do you know something that we don't know, that
perhaps you're not willing to share with us -- but do you know possibly --

Rumsfeld: I hope so! (Laughter.)

Q: We hope so, too. But do you know of direct linkage between Saddam Hussein
and the use of weapons of mass destruction -- (inaudible) -- elsewhere? And
further than what you just told us, do you know of any direct linkage
between him and the al Qaeda you're not able to share with us?

Rumsfeld: Look, the -- I think it's very important for people to think
what's taking place right now in the Congress. They're trying to connect the
dots after -- what happened before September 11th and how could that
information have been pieced together and fashioned into a picture, a road
map that said September 11th is coming. It is enormously difficult to do it
a year after it happened. It's vastly more difficult to do it before
something happens. And the task we have is to try to take all of these
pieces of information and draw conclusions that are in the interests of the
American people and the people of the world.

It is not possible to find hard evidence that something is going to happen
two, four, six, eight months or a year down the road. You will have known it
happened after it happens. And when you're dealing with weapons of mass
destruction and you're dealing with countries like Iraq that have used
weapons of mass destruction, and countries like Iraq that have active
development programs for those weapons, and have weaponized chemical and
biological weapons, you have to recognize that there are -- that the
evidence piles up. Now, can anyone -- will be always able to say, even after
the fact, that there isn't sufficient evidence, that you don't have proof
beyond a reasonable doubt. You'll know an event occurred, but even after it
occurs, it's very difficult to get perfect evidence.

Our goal is not to go into a court of law and try to prove something to
somebody. Prime Minister Blair put out a white paper on this issue. The
president of the United States went to the United Nations. Members of the
House and Senate have been briefed extensively on this set of issues. And in
every case, it is a puzzle. It is the task of taking these disparate pieces
and putting them together so that people can make their own judgment, not
for us to prove anything. What they have to do is they have to say what does
a reasonable person conclude are the risks from this? Are the risks greater
of the U.N., for example, trying to enforce their resolution, or are the
risks greater of not doing that? Always there are risks on both sides.



1. Operative paragraphs 3, 4, and 12.  See also Nathaniel Hurd, "Security
Council Resolution 1441 and the Potential Use of Force, 7 December 2002, and and
2. David E. Sanger with Julia Preston, "Iraq Arms Report Has Big Omissions,
U.S. Officials Say", New York Times, 13 December 2002,  See
also Bob Drogin, "CIA Sees Nothing New in Iraq's Arms Disclosure", Los
Angeles Times, 12 December 2002,,0,1392357.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dworld
3. Conversation, mid-November.  See SCR 1441, operative paragraph 5.  See
also See also Nathaniel Hurd, "Security Council Resolution 1441 and the
Potential Use of Force, 7 December 2002, and and
4. Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus, "U.S. Sees Showdown Over Iraqi
Scientists", Washington Post, 13 December 2002.  See also Nathaniel Hurd,
"Security Council Resolution 1441 and the Potential Use of Force, 7 December
2002, and and
5. Whitehouse Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, press briefing, Office of the
Press Secretary, 4 December 2002,
6. Whitehouse Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, press briefing, Office of the
Press Secretary,  5 December 2002,
7. US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, press briefing, US Department of
Defense, 26 September 2002,

Nathaniel Hurd
Consultant, United Nations Iraq policy, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)
United Nations Office
90 7th Ave.
Apt. #6
Brooklyn, NY  11217
Tel. (M): 917-407-3389
Tel. (H): 718-857-7639
Fax: 718-504-4224

Any views or opinions presented above are solely those of Nathaniel Hurd and
do not necessarily represent those of the Mennonite Central Committee.  The
Mennonite Central Committee has no legal or other responsibility for the
contents of this message.

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