Letter to the Editor: Dispel disarmament myths

Ryan Tierney

I write this letter in response to the general myth that has been circulated around our nation that inspections in Iraq will result in Iraq’s disarmament. This notion begins with the false premise that the purpose of the inspectors in Iraq is to disarm Saddam Hussein. If one looks at the language in the UN resolution 1441 it becomes apparent that the inspectors in Iraq play a far different role. Under UN resolution 1441, Iraq is to disarm itself. The role of the inspectors is to monitor the disarmament process; that is, they are sent to Iraq to check up on whether Hussein is truly disarming.

The false premise regarding the role of the inspectors leads some to conclude that inspectors could disarm Iraq with enough time and resources. Such a conclusion is impractical given the size of Iraq (about the size of California) and its proximity to countries that are also hostile to the US and its allies.

With forward notice of an inspector visit, all that Hussein must do is shift his weapons labs from one site to another before inspectors arrive. It is for this reason that inspections in Iraq have failed for the last 12 years to disarm Iraq.

Iraqi cooperation is crucial to the work of the inspectors in the disarmament of Iraq. Without Iraqi cooperation, any search for weapons of mass destruction is like a search for a needle in a large haystack where the position of the needle keeps changing.

Iraqi cooperation is unlikely because of why Hussein is developing weapons of mass destruction. Hussein is developing weapons of mass destruction so that he can move with a free hand in the Middle East, based on the belief that the U.S. would not come to the aid of our allies when faced with the threat of chemical, biological or nuclear attack against the U.S.

The risk that is posed to our allies in the Middle East is too great to rely on an inspection system when the likelihood of success is so low.

If Hussein should change his mind and cooperate with UN inspectors in disarmament, the inspection process could work. Unfortunately, as the recent refusal to destroy Samoud 2 missiles when demanded by Hans Blix (UNMOVIC Executive Chairman) shows, no Iraqi cooperation is forthcoming.

I refuse to rely on the good intentions of Saddam Hussein to secure the U.S. and our allies in the Middle East from this threat.

Because the current threat that Hussein poses to the U.S. and our allies is untenable, because economic sanctions have failed, and because the inspections cannot work due to lack of Iraqi cooperation, the U.S. and its allies must turn to the only avenue available; the U.S. and its allies must forcibly disarm Hussein.

Ryan Tierney

Class of 2001