Canaries in the Cooling Tower

Charles A. Duelfer
Content Type
Journal Article
The National Interest
Issue Number
Publication Date
Center for the National Interest
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.
Security, Government, United Nations
Political Geography
Iraq, North Korea
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. There is perhaps no better case study than Iraq. By examining where monitors succeeded and failed, how Baghdad was able to manipulate the system, and how infighting among the great powers eventually led to a dramatic and unceremonious end to inspections, we can see what will be necessary to make progress in North Korea and Iran-they are equally recalcitrant, equally dangerous regimes and advancing apace in their WMD programs. BACK IN 1991, at the conclusion of the first Gulf War, the UN Security Council crafted a cease-fire resolution that continued the sanctions on Iraq that were initially established in an attempt to get Baghdad to withdraw from Kuwait. The penalties would last until Baghdad destroyed its WMD. The United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) was created to verify this Iraqi disarmament and establish a monitoring system to make sure Iraq didn't rebuild its WMD later.1 The resolutions accorded UNSCOM sweeping authority to do whatever it thought necessary to ensure these ends. The resolutions also came with punishments and rewards. Passed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, there was an implicit threat by the Security Council that if Iraq did not comply, military action against the state would be resumed. There was also the explicit incentive that compliance would lead to the end of sanctions. Thus began the most intrusive inspection regime backed by force since the Versailles Treaty imposed similar measures on Germany after World War IT TOOK seven years of contentious, sometimes-hostile interactions with Iraq, but UN weapons inspectors did succeed in peeling back the layers of Iraq's WMD programs little by little. In an iterative process, Baghdad gradually revealed more, but often only after confrontations which left inevitable suspicions of more evidence yet to be found. Disarmament verification was plagued by setbacks. In 1997, Iraq declared that inspectors of American nationality would no longer be permitted into the country because the United States was hostile to Baghdad: American inspectors were disrespectful, too aggressive, biased and served Washington, not the United Nations Security Council. UNSCOM refused to accept this attempt by Iraq to split the UN team and retaliated by withdrawing all inspectors. After this strong reaction by the Security Council, Baghdad relented and the full inspection team returned three weeks later. Still, the Russian and French delegations pressed for substantial organizational and procedural changes to UN operations in response to Iraqi concerns.2 Baghdad was making good progress in dividing the council. A few months later, another crisis erupted when Iraq refused to allow UNSCOM access to large areas surrounding Saddam's presidential palaces. The UN was convinced that the government had a centrally controlled program of concealment and that orders would come from the highest echelons-hence the drive to get inside the top security and palace buildings to access documents and other materials related to WMD. These attempted inspections were regularly blocked and became the focus of broad media coverage. Debated in the Security Council at all hours of the day and night, the situation became increasingly fraught. Baghdad believed the teams were looking for evidence to attack Saddam. They accused some UN inspectors of being spies. Tensions rose. Secretary-General Kofi Annan allowed himself to be drawn into the fray between a divided Security Council and a recalcitrant Iraq. In a move some characterized as appeasement, Annan traveled to Baghdad in February 1998 to negotiate an agreement with Saddam. He got UNSCOM conditional access to the disputed presidential sites. But, one of the many stipulations was that inspectors be accompanied by a multinational group of diplomats to make sure everyone behaved properly. SO IN April of 1998, I found myself in Iraq at the center of a circus no one could have predicted. The UN inspections had proceeded to their absurd but logical conclusion: I was leading a team of seventy inspectors from a dozen countries to "inspect" over one thousand buildings in eight large presidential areas, access to which had been completely denied in the past. As the most secure zones in Iraq, they were under the strict control of Saddam Hussein's most trusted security organizations. Accompanying us on our tour of the presidential palaces were a number of ambassadors from a range of countries, all there to ensure we behaved properly and conducted ourselves with dignity. (Inspectors quickly dubbed the accompanying busloads of ambassadors the "dignity brigade.") We traveled from one palace area to another in a huge Slinky-like convoy of over seventy vehicles, with UNSCOM and Iraqi helicopters monitoring overhead. In addition to the busloads of ambassadors and twenty or thirty UNSCOM vehicles, there were a couple of dozen other vehicles of Iraqi security officers and officials. I personally had several security officers (read: minders) who followed my every move. At each location, we found the Iraqis had meticulously cleansed each building. There was not a scrap of paper anywhere. UNSCOM previously inspected and copied hard drives. Now, computers were removed. The Iraqis had two months from the negotiated agreement with Annan to prepare for the arrival of the inspection teams at the presidential sites-and they had used that time for a careful spring cleaning. Outside one facility near what was at the time known as Saddam International Airport, while waiting for inspectors to go through a building, I was joined by Saddam's presidential secretary, Abed Hamid Mahmud-arguably the second-most powerful man in the regime. We were nearing the end of this unique "inspection" and Abed and I gazed around at a scene that was bizarre even by Baghdad's standards. Ambassadors dressed in jackets and ties were following scruffy inspectors who were surrounded by numerous deadly serious Iraqi security officers as they wandered through every palace room, every shed, every jail, every tunnel, every bunker and every storage room in the designated presidential areas. Abed's guards retrieved some chilled Pepsis from the trunk of his Mercedes limousine. Our conversation drifted. I remarked on his pistol, which had an inscription from one of Saddam's sons. Abed clearly enjoyed exercising the power he derived from being Saddam's "guy." He was not impressive in his own right. Abed said he had a PhD in political science-I doubt he wrote a dissertation, certainly not on his own. He was part of a lethal regime and knew it. Nearby I had passed some bullet-riddled walls and relatively new graves. This was Abed's world. He had an instinctive sense of the dynamics of threat and reward-among both individuals and countries. We talked about the inspection activity (or "visit" as Annan had agreed to call it). Abed understood the futility of the exercise. He asked why the United States would not simply talk to Iraq. To him, that was the real bottom line. Iraq, he said, would be America's best friend in the region if we could just begin a dialogue. Baghdad would work with Washington-to fight terrorist groups, help in the peace process and gain access to oil. But there was silence every time Iraq tried to initiate talks. Baghdad did not understand why Washington stonewalled. Abed was not interested in me as the head of the inspection group. He viewed me instead as the one senior American to whom he could talk who would relay our conversations to the White House. He wanted to continue the dialogue after the inspections were done.3 Abed could see the inspections were doomed. Consensus was collapsing within the Security Council, and Baghdad was able to manipulate the weapons inspections, buying time while further disagreement fomented. THE LACK of a unified Security Council was the ultimate wrench in the weapons inspections' works. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and some members of the Security Council were becoming concerned that inspectors were seeking to do too much. The French, for example, wondered whether we were being too fastidious in our inspections. Was sorting out the remaining uncertainties really worth the cost of sanctions? Implicitly, they wanted the inspectors to produce a politically more acceptable process and judgment. They wanted UNSCOM to say that the remaining issues basically amounted to nothing and everyone could declare success had been achieved. UNSCOM's political masters on the Security Council were in a bind. Iraq was refusing the access that the council's resolutions demanded. But, at the same time, there was no consensus in the council to use sufficient force to coerce compliance-especially given the uncertainty about remaining WMD and the economic incentives Iraq was offering to those who aided its case for ending sanctions. Russia and France were being given preferential treatment in the allocation of lucrative Iraqi oil contracts under the UN oil-for-food program. Baghdad was also dangling rich oil-field-development rights in front of the noses of UNSC countries to be exercised when sanctions ended. But Washington had no interest in ending sanctions, which were the only tool short of war the United States had to contain Saddam. Iraq thus argued with some credence that the intrusive measures of UNSCOM supported the political aims of certain council members (i.e., the United States, which sought to contain Saddam with the declared objective of regime change) and not simply the terms of the resolutions (i.e., to cause Iraq to disarm and then lift sanctions-no matter who ran the government in Baghdad). In turn, Iraq also played on the incentive of some council members to contain not just Saddam but also Washington. The Iraqi ambassador candidly told me that they created competition among certain members to provide the best information to Baghdad-particularly between Russia and France. He once proudly said he had recordings of confidential Security Council meetings. After the war, former-Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz confirmed the use of these tactics-describing Iraq's strategy as dispensing incentives in order to give some members of the council a sizable economic stake in the survival of the regime. UNSCOM governments used the intelligence gained in Iraq for their own ends. The UNSCOM staff was composed of officers on loan from a variety of nations. These experts often had intelligence or weapons backgrounds, and they used such experience to penetrate Iraqi obstructions and the veils of Iraqi security. The problem with this was that some participants and, indeed, some of the countries that provided staff to UNSCOM-including members of the Security Council-used their presence in UNSCOM to collect intelligence on countries other than Iraq and/or gather information they could share with Baghdad to their national benefit. Added to this mix of spy versus spy versus spy were the efforts by Iraq to penetrate the inner workings and planning of UNSCOM. Indeed, there were a few cases of UNSCOM staff being co-opted by Iraqis. And thus, we learned lessons about the way the system could be manipulated both by those within and outside of the Security Council regime. And we saw the limits of even the most intrusive inspections. THE UNSCOM experience points to the absolute necessity for an inspection system that works for the long haul, includes viable threats and rewards, and has all necessary multiparty support. Without full and united backing from the Security Council, inspections are severely hampered-if not doomed-because carrots and sticks no longer function. On paper, the inspectors had broad authority to go anywhere, anytime, without notice; to take any samples and documents; to interview any individual; to bring into the country any material or device deemed necessary; to conduct aerial surveillance and video monitoring (and, in practice, also surveillance in the nonvisible part of the electromagnetic spectrum). In essence, no tactics or techniques were barred. And in theory the process had teeth. Until the inspectors reported full compliance to the Security Council, onerous sanctions on Iraq would remain. More threateningly, since the resolution establishing the inspection regime was part of the cease-fire resolution ending hostilities, if Baghdad were found to be in breach of its obligations, renewal of military operations against Iraq was a further consequence. In practice, however, as individual members of the Security Council expressed different degrees of enthusiasm for the project, the chairman of UNSCOM had to balance the varying expressions of support for intrusive activities. Some wanted them to end immediately; some saw them as useful tools for teasing out Saddam's true intentions to retain or rebuild WMD. Imagine working for a boss with multiple personality disorder-and one with worsening symptoms. Once there was this discord among the inspections enforcers, quite obviously united action became impossible. Extensive sanctions were already in place and relatively minor infractions would not generate agreement to "go to war." Iraq understood its ability to thus moderate inspector activity in incremental slices because the Security Council did not have incremental responses. If Iraq broke the rules, war did not seem the inevitable conclusion. (No one ever believed sanctions would be reinstated if they were ever lifted. In fact, postwar debriefings of Saddam and other top regime officials made clear their view that once the sanctions were lifted, they would not be reimposed and efforts to reconstitute weapons programs were expected.) If small infractions had no negative consequences Iraq could hinder the inspections with little in the "loss" column. For example, while the resolutions permitted UNSCOM aircraft to land anywhere in Iraq, the government would only permit UNSCOM teams to arrive at one airfield. This greatly simplified Baghdad's ability to anticipate inspection activity. Inspectors were easily monitored from the moment they arrived by Iraqi security services, who then warned sensitive sites about approaching monitors. Such constraints limited the ability of UNSCOM to conduct truly "no-notice" inspections. The Security Council never forced Iraq to comply with UNSCOM requests to operate at other airfields. Iraq was thus able to willfully (and largely without consequences) hinder inspections for years while skillfully promoting the decay of sanctions. Baghdad never did fully satisfy the requirement of cooperating with UNSCOM. In the end, the inspection-process extravaganza came to a crashing halt with fundamental disagreement among members of the Security Council, Iraq and UNSCOM. Monitors demanded short-notice, anytime, anywhere inspections essentially ad infinitum. They were unwilling to sign off on Iraqi compliance as "good enough." Baghdad and Kofi Annan had agreed the presidential inspection would be a one-time-only deal. The Security Council could not arbitrate behavior between UNSCOM and Iraq. Even the illusion of a successful monitoring mechanism that would remain effective after sanctions on Iraq were lifted was torpedoed. By the end of 1998, UNSCOM and Iraq were done. The Clinton administration conducted a feckless bombing exercise dubbed "Desert Fox" in response to UNSCOM's assessment of inadequate cooperation by Iraq. Iraq was free of inspectors if not sanctions-though they too were crumbling. The American policy of containing Saddam came to an end, and soon after, George W. Bush launched his infamous war. Yet amid the ultimate failure of our policies, there is much to take away from the UNSCOM experience. At the core of UNSCOM were a group of professionals who became a cohesive team organized for a clear mission. As long as that mission was congruent with the objectives of their home nations, the system worked well. When the objectives of parent countries began to diverge from the resolutions UNSCOM was meant to implement, things got messy and the system failed. Even the most invasive inspections leave uncertainty. States can find any number of ways to circumvent inspectors. Without a sustainable and unified international consensus that will incrementally ratchet up (or down) the costs of noncompliance, inspectors will merely be pawns used in a political chess match where each player has a different (and often divergent) goal. IF THERE'S anything we can learn from Iraq, it's the limits faced when we look to deter North Korean and Iranian programs. In some ways the cases are eerily similar. Both the Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK) and Iran are single, dedicated, unitary actors opposed in their activities by a coalition of varying unity, commitment and purpose. Each has sought to sow dissension among the nations hoping to deter its WMD programs. And of course, as we now understand, this was the key to failure in Iraq. But for all the similarities, neither regime will ever agree to the level of intrusive inspections applied to Baghdad. Barring difficult-to-imagine military invasions of either state, we will have to settle for less. But inspections can still reduce uncertainty and deter cheating. This is clearly better than nothing. First the case of North Korea. It is impossible to know what Kim Jong Il will decide with respect to future negotiations or the possible return of inspectors. And, Pyongyang has a leader who is not overly vulnerable to the punishment of sanctions; North Korea has no vibrant civil society that would push Kim to agree to an inspection regime in order to open the border to food, aid and medical supplies. This was much the same with Saddam Hussein. Like Iraq, the DPRK is driven by a single personality, and calculations about policy are deeply affected by how long that person may last and what may follow. Here, though, we have some advantages that we did not possess in the Iraqi case. Saddam was healthy, gave no signs of weakening and seemed likely to survive longer than any U.S. administration. Kim Jong Il looks to be fading and that will affect his judgments as well as those in his command, whether that be his son or some other successor. What we need now is to buy time. The primary goals regarding Pyongyang are to contain or walk back its nuclear capability and, perhaps even more importantly, guard against the transfer of weapons or fissile material to other state or nonstate actors. Any negotiations with North Korea will inevitably incorporate inspections as an important element of an agreement. As such, it is critical that they be scoped to do enough, but not so much that they threaten the cohesion of the United States-China-Russia-Japan-South Korea coalition. And they need to be palatable enough that Pyongyang will agree. By combining simple, noninvasive sampling and interview procedures, we could induce Pyongyang's cooperation and a hiatus in its nuclear-weapons program. North Korea has now demonstrated the ability to produce fissile material and nuclear explosions, though this does not yet indicate an ability to build a deliverable nuclear weapon-especially via a ballistic missile. That is a much more challenging achievement. But it is clearly North Korea's goal and it is within the country's grasp. Unchecked, Pyongyang can, over the period of a few years, develop and test nuclear warheads deliverable on missiles. In the nearer term, such missiles can threaten the cities of neighboring Japan, South Korea or China. In the longer term, the DPRK may be able to launch a longer-range missile with sufficient payload to carry a weapon to the United States. What we do not want is for North Korea to continue its activities and make even a scintilla more progress. Sampling and interviews can serve as "tippers" of possible violations. And, if an agreement is properly structured, they would then lead to a process of further access and information to address uncertainties. If suspicious results occur from sampling at agreed-upon locations, then a process of increased access and information could be implemented until questions are resolved or it becomes clear something untoward is the underlying cause. In this way, sampling provides a useful deterrent, and is the most potent element of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) inspection tool kit for detecting nondeclared nuclear activities. The inspected party cannot know with confidence how much data can be derived from given samples. UNSCOM, for example, deployed air samplers to detect prohibited chemical work at some locations in Iraq. They looked good, but, in fact, did not work at all, even though Baghdad treated them as though they were quite effective. Sampling at a few locations at least constrains cheating at those sites, and sampling at nondeclared sites (even if conducted with prior notice) can create a deterrent effect throughout the entire country. If we couple sampling techniques with interviews, weapons inspections may well be a sufficient tool (when combined with appropriate political incentives and disincentives) to restrain North Korea's programs. UNSCOM experts over the years came to know the Iraqi experts and their work quite well. This had an intangible but powerful effect. Even under limited and supervised conditions, this process provided inspectors with useful data. Generally, it makes it difficult for an inspected country to sustain deception. Iraq had an impossible task: to maintain a single coherent but false story. Over time, as more questions are posed and more and more details provided, the difficulty of staying consistent increases exponentially. These two relatively limited methods offer a way for persistent inspectors to discover questionable actions in a fashion that will either yield exculpatory data or cause North Korea to react in a way that demonstrates its intent to cheat-which is a useful result in itself. Iraq's track record of noncooperative actions over several years made it virtually impossible to believe that they had or would ever fully adhere to the requirements. Of course our experience with North Korea gives us the same sense of intentions. IN THE case of Tehran, we are looking less at how to bide our time than how to provide trip wires. Iran can build a nuclear weapon. The questions are when and if it will decide to do so. Weapons inspectors can perform an alert function. It would be safe to assume Iran's intention is to get to a point where the lead time between a decision to build a nuclear weapon and the means to effectively deliver one is relatively short. There are three key factors here. One is the length of time to go from low-enriched uranium (LEU) produced for civilian reactors to the highly enriched uranium (HEU) required for a weapon. This could be as little as a couple of months if an unknown centrifuge facility has been established or longer if the existing Natanz facility we hear so much about is reconfigured to produce HEU. The second major factor relates to producing the weapon itself. Iran has demonstrated that its ballistic-missile technology is advancing well beyond the short-range and inaccurate Scud-based liquid-fuel-engine systems that are the common heritage of both its and North Korea's missile programs. Iran, with a large industrial and technological base, has already exceeded North Korea's substantial progress. Now all that is left is the third key component: the creation of a nuclear warhead to place atop the ballistic missile. And a critical unknown is how advanced Tehran's warhead design and fabrication techniques are-especially for a nuclear-weapon device that would be small and robust enough to be launched on a ballistic missile. While it is likely Tehran could assemble, on fairly short order, a device which would produce a nuclear explosion given sufficient HEU, it is a far greater challenge to build a weapon that can be delivered on a missile. The design and testing of components for such a nuclear weapon are very difficult and require a range of expertise-all of which could provide opportunity for inadvertent detection by inspectors or national-intelligence agencies. While limited, the current IAEA inspection activities do provide some important bounds on the uncertainty about Iran's ability to produce enriched uranium at declared facilities. If Iran decided to produce HEU, the monitoring procedures would force Tehran to either build separate clandestine enrichment facilities or break inspection procedures in a way that would provide clear evidence of intent to proceed beyond its purely civil nuclear program. This aids U.S. intelligence assessments and provides assurance that Iran has not decided to produce weapons-grade uranium at the declared Natanz enrichment site-yet. The critical question is, at what point, under the present political and inspection dynamics, would Iran have to take a detectable step that would reveal its nuclear-weapons intentions? And is that likely warning time adequate enough to take responsive actions (political, military or both)? Unfortunately, the current IAEA inspection procedures do not offer any particular ability to detect clandestine enrichment or weaponization activity, and it is improbable that Iran will accept more intrusive inspections than provided for under the current arrangements-i.e., the types of inspections associated with the "Additional Protocol" they signed in 2003. Tehran's recent record of defiance in response to calls for its cessation of enrichment activities suggests less rather than more cooperation. While Iranian leaders are probably more vulnerable to popular dissatisfaction stemming from the effects of sanctions than Saddam's regime, it remains unlikely that the international community would impose sufficiently harsh punishment on the Iranian people to force their leaders to accept more intrusive monitoring. Therefore, as far as the dilemma with Iran goes, the inspectors are providing an important function as a trip wire for major decisions to produce weapons-grade uranium. But, it is doubtful any increase in inspection activity will come to pass unless there is some surprising rapprochement between President Obama and Iran's supreme leader. This would seem unlikely if for no other reason than the constraints of domestic politics on both sides. President Clinton could not see his way to open a dialogue with Saddam Hussein-the leader of a country that in fact had many common interests with the United States absent its abhorrent leader. It is hard to see how President Obama could relate to the supreme leader of Iran while Tehran is actively working against Washington's interests (and indeed killing Americans) in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and elsewhere. Still, a dialogue with Iran reduces ignorance on both sides and provides some intangible but positive influence on those around the top leadership, even if effective concrete steps remain elusive. We will likely remain in some ambiguous, prolonged diplomatic process that will wind up with an "assumed" ability of Iran to go nuclear at some point in the future-the so-called virtual-nuclear-weapons state. Old-fashioned deterrence through assured retaliation would then be the dominant feature. In the meantime, inspectors know the Iranians are residing at the bull's-eye of a potential attack. At UNSCOM, the United States provided notice before the December 1998 Desert Fox bombing that it would be wise for staff to depart Iraq. I spent a long night worrying about the evacuation of staff before air strikes began. Of course this action provided additional warning to Baghdad of what was to come. A potential attack against Iranian facilities would likely depend upon more surprise, and I suspect concern about the welfare of inspectors would be secondary. Such is the lot of weapons inspectors who are always lodged between competing international forces and their weapons. UNITED NATIONS inspectors may have lots of rights written by ambassadors between their long lunches in New York, but on the ground in Iraq outside some of the most heavily guarded facilities on the planet, these inspectors had only blue hats, cameras and pencils. The other guys had guns, and they determined the real limits of inspection activities. Inspections are meant to aid, not guarantee, monitoring compliance with some set of arms-control or disarmament objectives. Any given menu of inspection procedures and techniques will have some probability of detecting proscribed activity. From the experience in Iraq, we have seen the ability of the international community to hide behind inspectors in some circumstances and also to expect too much from inspectors in others. As we attend to the evolving problems with proliferation in North Korea, Iran and the states to follow, watch out for those trying to place too much responsibility on inspections and inspectors. Inspection systems cannot change the balance of costs and benefits for the players involved. They can only change the probabilities of detecting some prohibited activity and providing some warning time to outright violations. Nonproliferation goals need to be defined carefully and uniquely for each case, but in no case are inspections a goal-they are a tool. They may be part of a strategy to buy time in the case of North Korea or part of a trip-wire strategy in the case of Iran. In any case, they should not be a surrogate reason for going to war as so famously and disastrously transpired in Iraq. Charles A. Duelfer served as deputy executive chairman of the UN Special Commission on Iraq from 1993 to 2000. He headed the Iraq Survey Group in 2004 and produced the final report on Iraq's WMD, the so-called Duelfer Report. He is the author of Hide and Seek: The Search for Truth in Iraq (PublicAffairs, 2009) and is presently a consultant at Omnis, Inc. 1 The International Atomic Energy Agency had lead responsibility for the nuclear portion of the effort. 2 The Russians, for example, pushed for increasing the number of deputy chairmen of the UN from the single American deputy (the author) to five deputies-one from each permanent member of the Security Council. Then-Russian Ambassador to the UN Sergey Lavrov stated (with a straight face) that this would make the UN more efficient. This measure was not implemented. 3 In the event, this would not happen. Our discussions only picked up again five years later in a prison established by U.S. forces at one of the previously sensitive presidential sites.