9780375423024 / 0375423028

Disarming Iraq





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About the book:

Disarming Iraq is an insider's account of the diplomatic and inspection efforts leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Although a bit dry, the book is logically presented and gives an excellent background on the inspections process and the politics surrounding it. Hans Blix, who came out of retirement in 2000 to lead the inspections effort, was often bashed by American politicians and journalists, but he does not use this forum to strike back. Instead, he allows the evidence to do the talking and only occasionally offering his own opinion. Blix stresses that he never trusted Hussein and that inspectors were often misled and stonewalled, but he also points out that they never found any evidence of weapons of mass destruction either. Though Blix welcomes the end of Hussein's brutal dictatorship, his removal was "neither the avowed aim nor the justification given" for the war--WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) were the issue. Therefore, he believes the invasion was unnecessary and possibly counterproductive in the long run and is disappointed that they were not given enough time to complete their task. "Containment had worked" he writes. "It has also become clear that national intelligence organisations and government hawks, but not the inspectors, had been wrong in their assessments."

Blix blames "monumental" intelligence failures on the part of the US and Great Britain for most of these errors. In particular, he questions America's reliance on Iraqi defectors over their own intelligence agencies. He further wonders why the US dismissed nearly all of the inspection agencies' findings over the past decade, in essence depriving themselves of a valuable source of information. He concludes that inspections are a worthwhile and effective method of containing potentially dangerous regimes and he believes that too high a price was paid for the war: "in the compromised legitimacy of the action, in the damaged credibility of the governments pursuing it, and in the diminished authority of the United Nations." --Shawn Carkonen,

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