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  • Author: Charles A. Duelfer
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: Center for the National Interest
  • Abstract: IN LIGHT of the costly tragedy in Iraq, some have commented that inspections would have been an alternative to war. They were not. It was not that simple. Moreover, even with the most intrusive and extensive inspection system ever implemented, we still did not know the extent of Iraq's WMD capacity. Arms inspections are no substitute for war or political compromise, or good independent intelligence. Too often, too many have expected too much from such mechanisms. Inspections are not a goal in themselves. As the urgency and perils of North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs continue to escalate unchecked, attention repeatedly turns to inspections as the remedy of all ills. Yet, the invasiveness of the Iraq inspections was unique. We will never again be able to cajole another country to the extent we did Baghdad. And still we see the limits that even these intrusive inspections had. But, there are untold lessons to be learned from this bizarre case. More than anything else it goes to show that, in spite of their failings, inspections have a purpose and can be wielded to gain information and to deter WMD programs.
  • Topic: Security, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, North Korea