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Rumsfeld Unsure Weapons Inspectors Could Be Effective in Iraq

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2002 – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld expressed doubts today that weapons inspectors in Iraq could find solid evidence that Saddam Hussein is building weapons of mass destruction.

"I can't quite picture how intrusive something would have to be," he said at his noontime briefing, musing about how much more easily and skillfully Iraq could deny and deceive inspectors now with the passage of time since inspectors were last there.

Iraq allowed U.N. inspectors into the country to verify that it was not producing nuclear, biological or chemical weapons as a condition of the cease-fire agreement that ended the Gulf War in 1991. Hussein reneged on the deal and expelled the inspectors in 1998.

The inspectors only ever had limited access and success. Since the inspectors' expulsion, various experts have suggested Iraq has resumed developing weapons of mass destruction.

Rumsfeld today said he believes Iraq has used those years without international supervision to capitalize on dual-use technologies to develop a robust weapons program. Dual-use technology works for military and civilian purposes. That way, rogue governments can more easily justify importing such items.

The U.N. inspectors in post-Gulf War Iraq typically only found information of importance when an Iraqi defector tipped the team off about where to look, Rumsfeld explained.

Such an effort today would have to be enormously intrusive before any reasonable person would be confident to "find, locate and identify Iraq's very aggressive weapons-of- mass-destruction program," he said.

Rumsfeld said the world needs an inspection regime in Iraq that would provide reasonable confidence that Saddam Hussein isn't trying to develop nuclear capability or to continue enhancing his other weapons of mass destruction, meaning biological and chemical weapons.

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Related Sites:
DoD News Transcript: DoD News Briefing - Secretary Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers, April 15, 2002

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