Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ritter on Blix

After the event

Hans Blix has decided that the Iraq war was 'clearly illegal'. Fine, but discovering a bit of backbone now is four years too late.

In a statement reflective of the blinding obvious reinforced by the convenient passage of time, Hans Blix, the former head of the UN weapons inspectors operating in Iraq prior to the March 2003 invasion by the US and UK, in a slap at the policies of George Bush and Tony Blair, noted that "If they'd [Bush and Blair] allowed us to carry on the inspections a couple of months more, then we would have been able to go to all of the sites suspected of by intelligence. And since there weren't any weapons, we would have been able to come up with that answer: there are no weapons at all the sites you've given us."

If only it were that simple. This is the very same Hans Blix who, in an effort to appease the United States in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion, met with then national security adviser Condoleezza Rice prior to issuing a statement demanding the Iraqis be pro-active and produce evidence that they were no longer producing weapons of mass destruction. "They [Iraq] need to be active to convince the security council through us that they do not have any more weapons of mass destruction or that if they are there, they deliver them to us so they can be destroyed," Blix said, virtually reading from a US-provided script. "Iraq must do more than they have done so far in order to make this [weapons inspections] a credible avenue," Blix concluded.

Blix was dismissive of the 12,000 pages of documents which the Iraqis had provided in December 2002, in response to UN security council resolution 1441's demand that the Iraqis provide a new, full accounting of its WMD programs, noting they did not provide "any new evidence" about the WMD programs, or the lack of them. By rejecting the Iraqi declaration as incomplete, Hans Blix not only reinforced the US assertion that Iraq had failed to comply with its disarmament obligation, he also paved the way towards the current conflict in Iraq.

Hans Blix, the distinguished international lawyer, forgot that he was charged with a mandate of investigation, not indictment. By choosing to embrace the American policy line that Saddam Hussein was guilty simply because Iraq was unable to prove a negative, Hans Blix took on the mantle of co-conspirator in a war which never should have been fought. Contrary to public opinion, Hans Blix is not a figure worthy of admiration, but rather a moral and intellectual coward who could have spoken truth to power when it counted, but refused to do so.


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