Wolfowitz: Disarmament of Saddam's WMDs Is the Goal
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
LONDON, Dec. 2, 2002 Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz told members of a British "think tank" here today that although it's good that U.N. weapons inspectors are scouring Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, the primary goal is to disarm Saddam Hussein's regime.
Wolfowitz, in London to talk to British leaders about Iraq and the war on terror, spoke to the International Institute for Strategic Studies. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, passed Nov. 8, calls for the elimination of Hussein's biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs, he said, and "opened a decisive final chapter in the 11-year-old struggle to achieve that goal."
The United States and its coalition partners, including Great Britain, have demonstrated "a unity of purpose that is essential to convincing the current Iraqi regime that this time the world is serious," Wolfowitz emphasized. He said the resumption of weapons inspections in Iraq is a means, not the end. U.N. inspectors, he noted, cannot be expected to ferret out every illegal weapon.
"The goal is disarmament," he said. "Disarming Saddam Hussein and fighting the war on terror are not merely related; the first is part of the second."
On Dec. 8, the Iraqis are required to provide the United Nations with a complete list of their WMD programs and facilities, Wolfowitz remarked. If Saddam then goes back to his old "cat-and-mouse" games to stymie inspectors, "then the effort to resolve this problem peacefully will have failed," he pointed out.
Diplomacy and implied force "must be part of a single policy," Wolfowitz noted. The world's only hope of achieving a peaceful solution in Iraq "is if we confront the Iraqi regime with a credible threat of force behind our diplomacy," he emphasized. Saddam will give up his weapons and missiles "if he believes that doing so is the only way in which he and his regime can survive," he added.
Hussein and his regime should not underestimate the resolve of the United States and its partners to eliminate Iraq's WMDs, Wolfowitz warned. If they do so, "they will have made a big mistake," he said.
Wolfowitz flies to Ankara, Turkey, Dec. 3 for discussions with Turkish officials about the war on terror and to sound out Turkish support in regard to the possibility of military action against Iraq. He is slated to return to Washington late Wednesday.