How dumb does Saddam think the United Nations Security Council is? Does he think they will accept 11,871 pages of documents designed to delay any meaningful consideration of whether Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction? He does – and they did. The U.N. accepted Iraq’s huge pile of garbage as if it was a serious attempt to answer some very serious questions.
It’s a trick so old it has whiskers, as they say. It’s a trick corrupt lawyers have used for years. When a judge issues an order for “discovery,” attorneys – who are officers of the court, and have sworn an oath to be truthful – often lie. Discovery is a legal process in which attorneys are supposed to be able to “discover” the facts that their legal opponents will introduce in court.
The crooked attorneys don’t lie by withholding crucial evidence – they could get caught if they did that. They lie by sending the opposing attorneys truckloads of meaningless paperwork, and then pray that those who have to wade through it all won’t be able to find the few scraps of truth hidden in the pile. If that fails, they will have at least gained time to prepare further, while wasting the court’s time.
Saddam must have hired some U.S. attorneys as consultants in this process. The U.N. Security Council asked questions that could have been answered in several hundred pages of documents. These could have been reviewed in a short period of time, and a determination could have been made regarding Iraq’s compliance (or non-compliance) with eleven years of Security Council recommendations. Instead, Saddam has loaded the documents with so much irrelevant information that it will take weeks to go through it. This will buy him more time to destroy evidence.
Saddam pulled a few other tricks, as well. He has people who can write in English. The fact that part of the report is in English demonstrates that. However, he sent part of the documents in English, and part in Arabic. This will require extra time for translation.
The other trick is far more devious. Saddam included sensitive information on how to produce weapons of mass destruction in the documents. The Security Council did not request this information; their experts can tell them all they need to know in this area. Then why did Saddam include this information, and why did he make sure the media were informed about its inclusion?
Saddam is playing on the U.N.’s internal politics, as well as using this whole process as a public relations gambit. The huge pile of documents has been delivered to UNMOVIC (the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission), a bloated bureaucracy created solely to monitor Iraq’s compliance with U.N. resolutions. He knows the United States will insist on seeing the entire document, so that it can compare it with intelligence the CIA has gathered. He also knows that the other Security Council members will want to see it if the U.S. does. He’s counting on the fact that the weapons inspectors and the Secretary General will want to limit access to it because of the “sensitive material” he has deliberately included. The resulting infighting will waste weeks, if not months.
He has also pulled off a major public relations coup because now the full report can never be released to the public. Whatever conclusions the U.N. reaches based on the report, Saddam will have a perfect excuse to dispute them. “The information I gave the U.N. proves that we have no weapons. They are withholding the evidence that could prove we are innocent because they want to persecute us.” Whatever else he is – dictator, mass murderer, threat to world peace – Saddam Hussein is not dumb.
Saddam’s former chief bomb maker says Saddam is lying when he says he has no weapons of mass destruction. The CIA and British intelligence have evidence that Saddam is lying. The rotting corpses of thousands of Iraqis prove Saddam is lying. When will the United Nations stop this charade and do the only moral thing? When will they declare that Saddam is a major threat to world peace and remove him, just as the United States and Great Britain removed the Taliban?
The longer we wait, the stronger Saddam becomes.