- The Washington Times - Friday, March 19, 2004

Hans Blix has pounded the final nail in the coffin of left-wing bilge that has despicably charged President Bush and his administration with lying about intelligence on WMD in Iraq. In fact, in his new book, “Disarming Iraq,” Mr. Blix acknowledges that he also believed that Iraq had failed for years to comply with its post-Gulf War (1991) obligation to destroy its WMD.

Given Mr. Blix’s long and varied experience as an international arms-control official, his endorsement of the integrity of Mr. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair needs to find its way to the Democratic congressional caucuses, the Democratic National Committee and the campaign office of Sen. John Kerry.

Since 2000, when the U.N. Security Council approved Mr. Blix’s compromise appointment as head of UNMOVIC, the U.N. commission overseeing the disarmament of Iraq, Mr. Blix has never hidden the frequently contentious relationship he has had with American officials, especially those in the Bush administration. Indeed, the many public disagreements over policy have played out on center stage for all to see. In fact, on the day before hostilities commenced, after the United States rejected Iraq’s last-minute invitation to Mr. Blix to discuss “means to speed up joint cooperation,” Mr. Blix declared that it was “a pity” that “some people have given up patience a little earlier than others.”

So, in the run-up to the first-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein by the U.S.-led military coalition, it was a newsworthy event when Mr. Blix asserted in an interview on National Public Radio that the Bush administration and the British government “were 100 percent convinced that there were weapons of mass destruction” before the invasion. Even UNMOVIC’s failure to find WMD in places identified by U.S. and British intelligence did not dissuade coalition officials of their complete belief that Iraq possessed WMD. It is worth noting, as Mr. Blair reminded Mr. Blix, that French, German, Russian and Egyptian intelligence agencies believed the same.

Having served from 1981 through 1997 as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. watchdog group charged with preventing nuclear proliferation, Mr. Blix undoubtedly understands the shortcomings of intelligence and inspections, no matter how extensive the access. After all, both Iraq and North Korea managed to surreptitiously pursue advanced-nuclear-weapons development under the watchful eye of Mr. Blix’s IAEA.

Although no WMD have been located in Iraq since the fall of Saddam, postwar interviews with many of his captured generals have revealed an interesting pattern: While their own Republican Guard units did not possess WMD, these generals uniformly believed that other units did. In other words, Messrs. Bush and Blair believed precisely what Saddam’s generals believed. To wit: The Iraqi dictator, following 12 years of deceit, remained in violation of the numerous U.N. resolutions mandating his WMD disarmament.

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