FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Blix Undermines US War Plans

Oh, for the ice-cold Swedish eye on the Middle East. Ah, for the freezing Scandinavian vision of truth. Hans Blix, everybody’s headmaster, delivered his school report yesterday with enough fairness to outrage both pupil–Iraq–and parent, ultimately the US.

Yes, Iraq had provided the names of relevant scientists, but “only a few documents had come to light–a disappointment”. And on Iraq’s destruction of al-Samoud 2 missiles–a “substantial measure of disarmament”–a Swedish bon mot. “We are not watching the destruction of toothpicks,” Mr Blix said. Toothpicks, indeed.

Words of truly Nordic neutrality followed: “reluctant co-operation”, “soberly judged”, “immediate co-operation” (which was not obtained), “a considerable volume of documents”. The famous aluminum tubes turned out–if one believes Mr Blix, and why not–to have nothing to do with nuclear weapons (goodbye, the British intelligence file). And–if you believe Mohamed al-Baradei, and again why not–quite a number of other US documents are lies. But the words from this most intransigent of Swedes to most enrage the warmongers were: “We intend to continue our inspection activities.”

You could almost hear the roar of fury from the Americans. Saddam has lied; the UN hasn’t found the weapons. The UN doesn’t know how to find them. Alas for President Bush, the UN was urged to go to Iraq last year by … President Bush.

He thought Saddam would not allow inspectors to land in Iraq. Saddam let the inspectors in–so the inspectors must now be trashed by Washington. Not an easy task when Mr Blix–the archetypal, friendly Swedish bear–is in charge.

The words were no help to US war plans. “Plausible … verifiable … progress,” he said of his mission. All words the US would welcome if they wanted the inspectors to succeed. Hence the statement from Joschka Fischer, the German Foreign Minister: “We see no need for a second resolution.” Which, of course, was the view of the French and the Russians–and Mr Blix. So, Mr Blix, watch out.

Colin Powell didn’t seem quite ready for the report, though there was plenty of talk of “criminal evidence”, of “lying and deceit”, along with some new phrases: “cluster of questions” and “tens of thousands [sic] of delivery systems”.

Yes, Mr Powell, who picked up the “toothpicks” metaphor, liked Iraq’s co-operation–he could scarcely say otherwise–but added he was “sorry to learn that this is coming in a grudging manner”.

The two words not mentioned were those of the countries whose people are really killing each other: Israel and Palestine. Alas, that would have muddied the waters–and introduced an element of reality to this frozen debate at the UN.

 

More articles by:

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael Duggin
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail