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Monday, August 02, 2004

The U.S. is no longer supporting an inspection regime to verify compliance with a future nuclear weapons material production ban. I consider this interesting on two levels. First, the Bush Administration and the U.S. intelligence community were both hugely off the mark in comparison to intelligence gathered by the IAEA/UN weapons inspectors in Iraq. Despite this, it is still popular to cast the U.N. inspections as insufficient to "verify" whether or not Iraq possessed banned weapons. This is a glaring hole in the logic of the Bush administration and its supporters. The U.N. consistently had the best information (best here means most accurate) regarding Iraq's weapons capability -- what does it take for those involved to absorb this lesson? Now, when we examine the Administration's rationale for opposing an inspection regime we see the same arguments:

'. . .Administration officials said they made the decision after concluding such a system would cost too much, require overly intrusive inspections and wouldn't guarantee compliance with the treaty.'

I believe, and I believe this is supported by the data, that the U.N. would have certified Iraq to be free of banned weaponry if it had been allowed to complete its mission. The fact that the U.S. didn't let the U.N. complete its mission is a troublesome legal matter that the Administration is ignoring all together. I suppose the U.S. would rather not even have inspections in the first place so as to avoid this sort of sticky issue in the future.

This leads me to the second, and more disturbing, implication of the Administration's objections. Note the second reason given for the administration's position -- that the inspections would be "overly intrusive". Is the U.S. suddenly concerned about the sanctity of Iran's soverignty and its right to not submit to "overly intrusive inspections"? No, and that statement clearly implies that the _U.S._ doesn't want inspectors poking around its nuclear operations (and/or Israel's). Why, do you ask, is this disturbing? Aside from the implication that such inspections would be fruitful, I take our readers back to a tinfoil-hat theory I posited some time ago about reasons why the U.S. hasn't aggressively pursued Pakistan's proliferation efforts. At the time, I stated that I think the U.S. may have a stake in Pakistan's efforts (for whatever reason). That's what I thought of when I considered this news item, and while it's still an underdog theory it's likelihood of not being true has dropped from 99% to 90%. The chances, in other words, are one in ten that the U.S. government or U.S. corporations are playing the black-market nuclear proliferation game and would get caught if the U.N. started poking around too much.

Andrew 5:15 PM : |


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