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More inspectors, more time for Iraq will not help

I have read several letters to the editor with the refrain, “Let the inspectors work.” What is the job of the U.N. inspectors? If you go to the U.N. website (www.un.org), you can download the Security Council resolutions yourself.

The main resolution, U.N. Security Council Resolution 687, 1991, is the original resolution requiring Iraq to disarm. The special commission (now called UNMOVIC or UNSCOM) was to “carry out immediate on-site inspections of Iraq’s biological, chemical and missile capabilities, based on Iraq’s declarations.”

Security Council Resolution 1284, 1999, establishes UNMOVIC (United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission), replacing the “special commission” referred to in Resolution 687. Their job is to “undertake the responsibilities mandated to the Special Commission by the Council with regard to the verification of compliance by Iraq….”



The U.N. inspectors are not in Iraq to find anything. UNMOVIC is there to verify that Iraq is in compliance with Resolution 687. If Iraq won’t comply (which they haven’t thus far), then the inspectors cannot verify anything. Giving UNMOVIC more time, adding more inspectors, or adding troops to protect the inspectors, will not help them in their role as spelled out in Resolution 687 unless Iraq complies.


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