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(Note to literalists: the Watched column presently contains only a smattering of 'warblogs' because the facilitator of the template-change--Dr. Menlo--is not very familiar with them, and will be adding more as they are sent to him. Also, this blog may contain areas of allusion, satire, subtext, context and possibly even a dash of the surreal: wannabe lit-crits beware.)


[Watch this space for: Pentagon and Petroleum, The Media is only as Liberal as the Corporations Who Own Them, Wash Down With, and Recalcify]


Saturday, August 03, 2002


WRECK IN PROGRESS: Clearly annunciating administration policy, Donald Rumsfled is reported by the Associated Press on April 16 as doubting "that sending new U.N. weapons inspectors to Iraq would be worth the effort." The piece stated the State Department was in disagreement with Rumsfeld and Defense, an assertion made continuously by the warbloggers.

Yet on May 16 State Department spokesman Richard Boucher seemed to be essentially in accord with Rumsfled: "what I would say is Iraq has talked about fulfilling its obligations, rather than actually fulfilling them," noting that "the fact is Iraq hasn't done it yet. They've come and gone several times without coming and saying, 'Yes, we accept the obligations without conditions.'"

June 4-5 talks between UN weapons inspectors and the Iraqi regime were convened in Vienna. Just prior to the talks, the AP noted that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan "reported progress but no breakthrough" at earlier talks, and hoped to achieve that breakthrough this time 'round.

Predictably, given the demonstrated hostility of Bush and company to the concept of an invigorated inspection regime, those talks failed. Agence France Presse quoted Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri thusly: "The United Nations constantly abandons its obligations due to U.S. pressure on the Security Council," over which the U.S. has veto power.

The warbloggers favorite bogey man Scott Ritter called the legion "leaks" of covert plans permitted by Bush et al a device for further undermining inspections and a peaceful resolution to the Iraqi mess in a June 19 Los Angeles Times opinion piece, saying they killed "any chance of inspectors returning to Iraq, and it closes the door on the last opportunity for shedding light on the true state of affairs regarding any threat in the form of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction."

The Iraqis, meanwhile, were accused of "stalling" when, as reported by the AP on July 11, they petitioned the UN for a "guarantee the upcoming inspection would not be a prelude for an aggression on Iraq as in 1998" as well as asking "what guarantees the United Nations could provide that inspectors 'would not abuse their authority' or 'violate Iraq's sovereign rights.'"

Rear Admiral [again, insert Pejman-Lileks joke here] Stephen H. Baker, again in the Los Angeles Times, affirmed his belief that the U.S. may have poisoned the well with "pervasive U.S. rhetoric on invasion plans, preemptive attack policies and authorization for the CIA to use all means at its disposal to eliminate Hussein."

Was it not a foregone conclusion when "United Nations Secretary-General, taking care not to fall foul of the United States, rejected an Iraqi offer yesterday to invite the chief UN weapons inspector to Baghdad"? Russia called the Iraqi initiative an "important step towards resolving the crisis through political and diplomatic means," though that wasn't enough for those insisting on an idiot decimation of opposite numbers and adhering to the you-will-accept-my-unilateral-imposition-unconditionally style of negotiation.

• • • • •

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