- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 15, 2003

Chief U.N. arms inspector Hans Blix yesterday illustrated the futility of attempting to achieve disarmament via weapons inspections in Iraq, where Saddam Hussein's regime is actively working to subvert the process. But, as Secretary of State Colin Powell adeptly demonstrated in his forceful response, Mr. Blix has achieved little more than a series of empty procedural victories, while Baghdad continues to hide its prohibited weapons programs and prevent meaningful inspections from taking place.
Mr. Blix said that inspectors have been rummaging around places like Iraqi presidential sites and missile production facilities, collecting samples of chemical and biological weapons. He also conceded that Baghdad was still refusing to allow scientists who had worked on WMD programs to be interviewed outside the presence of Iraqi officials a point Mr. Powell made in his detailed Feb. 5 report to the U.N. Security Council.
It's worth knowing that Mr. Blix's credulousness about Saddam's promises was reminiscent of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler. In the circumstances of the inspectors in Iraq, Mr. Blix welcomed Saddam's "presidential decree," which we are supposed to believe calls for a ban on the production of weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Blix was accepting of the instances, at least for now, in which the Iraqis have reduced the number of "minders" (goons) from five to one per inspector. After meeting Hitler on Sept. 15, 1938, to negotiate the surrender of the Sudetenland, Chamberlain termed the German ruler "a man who could be relied upon."
Saddam already has proven that he cannot and must not be trusted, Secretary Powell said in his scathing rebuttal:
"I'm pleased that a few people have come forward for interviews, but not all the people who should be coming forward for interviews, and with the freedom to interview them in a manner that their safety can be protected and the safety of their families can be protected, as required by U.N. Resolution 1441. … Does anybody think a decree from Saddam Hussein directed to whom is going to fundamentally change the situation? And to say that new commissions are being formed that will go find materials that they claim are not there in the first placecan anybody honestly believe that either one of these two new commissions will actively seek out information that they have actively been trying to deny to the world community, to the inspectors for the last 11-plus years?"
The secretary, yet again, made an unmistakable case: Iraq must not be permitted to continue avoiding disarmament.

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