Just a short note

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April 20, 2003 11:54 a.m.

Just a short note on the WMD search. Here’s a clip from an article at Time.com …

The failure to turn up anything to date raises two possibilities, neither one good, says Joseph Cirincione, chief of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. “It may be that there aren’t as many weapons as the President said, in which case we have a major intelligence failure, a huge embarrassment for the President and a huge blow to U.S. credibility—and that’s the good news,” he says. “The other option is that there are as many weapons as the President feared, and they’re no longer under anyone’s control.”

That sounds like a distressingly good point. But as these searches go on it seems to me that it would be terribly misguided not to bring the UN inspectors back into the country. Since we fought a war to get at Iraq’s WMD there’s no reason why we shouldn’t run the search entirely to our own liking and dictates and to suit our own needs. But having the UN inspectors there along for the ride, as it were, will serve a critical function: namely, giving the search credibility.

Now that we’ve had a few false alarms with would-be WMD finds, when we do come up with something there will be lots of people around the world who will think we planted whatever we find. Frankly, not a few people in this country will be suspicious. Whether that’s fair, or reasonable, or rational is really beside the point. If and when we find this stuff it will be critical to our interests and goals that as many people as possible believe us. At the moment, having some of the UN inspectors involved seems like a good way of accomplishing that. And I haven’t yet heard what the downside would be — save for pique and payback.

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