'Process, not substance,' says Powell


The following is an excerpt of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's remarks to the United Nations Security Council.

I am pleased that there have been improvements with respect to process. I'm pleased that there have been improvements with respect to not having five minders with each inspector down to something less than five minders with each inspector.

But I think they still are being minded, they are still being watched, they are still being bugged, they still do not have the freedom of access around Iraq that they need to do their job well.

I'm pleased that a few people have come forward for interviews, but not all the people who should be coming forward for interviews, and with the freedom to interview them in a manner that their safety can be protected and the safety of their families can be protected as required by U.N. Resolution 1441.

I am glad that access has been relatively good. But that is all process, it is not substance.

I am pleased to hear that decrees have now been issued that should have been issued years and years ago, but does anybody really think a decree from Saddam Hussein - directed to whom - is going to fundamentally change the situation? And it comes out on a morning when we are moving forward down the path laid out by Resolution 1441. These are all process issues. These are all tricks that are being played on us.

And to say that new commissions are being formed that will go find materials that they claim are not there in the first place - can anybody honestly believe that either one of these two new commissions will actively seek out information that they have been actively trying to deny to the world community, to the inspectors for the last 11-plus years?

I commend the inspectors. I thank them for what they are doing. But at the same time, I have to keep coming back to the point that the inspectors have repeatedly made, and they've made it again here this morning, they've been making it for the last 11-plus years: What we need is not more inspections, what we need is not more immediate access, what we need is immediate, active, unconditional, full cooperation on the part of Iraq. What we need is for Iraq to disarm. Resolution 1441 was not about inspections. Let me say that again. Resolution 1441 was not about inspections. Resolution 1441 was about the disarmament of Iraq. ...

... And now it is several months after that declaration was submitted. And I have heard nothing to suggest that they have filled in the gaps that were in that declaration or they have added new evidence that should give us any comfort that we have a full, complete and accurate declaration.

You will recall we put that declaration requirement into the resolution as an early test of Iraq's seriousness. Are they serious? Are they going to disarm? Are they going to comply? Are they going to cooperate?

And the answer with that declaration was no, we're going to see what we can get away with. We can see how much we can slip under your nose and everybody will clap and say, isn't that wonderful? They provided a declaration. That was of not any particular use.

We then had some level of acceptance of the fact that inspectors were going back in. We called that. Iraq tried to use this gambit right after the president's speech in September to try to keep Resolution 1441 from ever coming down the pipe. Suddenly in the following Monday after the president's speech, "Oh, we'll let inspectors back in."

Why? Because when the president spoke and when Iraq saw that the international community was now coming together with seriousness and with determination, it knew it better do something. It didn't do it out of the goodness of its heart or it suddenly discovered that it's been in violation for all of those years. They did it because the pressure. They did it because this Council stood firm. They did it because the international community said, "Enough, we will not tolerate Iraq continuing to have weapons of mass destruction to be used against its own people, to be used against its neighbors, or worse, if we find a post-9/11 nexus between Iraq and terrorist organizations that are looking for just such weapons."

And I would submit and will provide more evidence that such connections are now emerging, and we can establish that they exist.

We cannot wait for one of these terrible weapons to show up in one of our cities and wonder where it came from after it's been detonated by al-Qaida or somebody else. This is the time to go after this source of this kind of weaponry. And that's what 1441 was all about. ...

Notwithstanding all of the discussion we have heard so far this morning about give inspections more time, let's have more airplanes flying over, let's have more inspectors added to the inspection process - Dr. Blix noted earlier this week that it's not more inspectors that it needed. What's needed is what both Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei have said what's been needed since 1991: immediate, active, unconditional compliance and cooperation. ...

But the questions, notwithstanding all of the level of letter, the questions remain, and some of my colleagues have talked about them. We haven't accounted for the anthrax, we haven't accounted for the botulinum, VX, both biological agents, growth media, 30,000 chemical and biological munitions.

These are not trivial matters one can just ignore and walk away from and say, "Well, maybe the inspectors will find them, maybe they won't."

We have not had a complete, accurate declaration. ...

We must continue to put pressure on Iraq, put force upon Iraq to make sure that the threat of force is not removed, because 1441 was all about compliance, not inspections. ...

The threat of force must remain. Force should always be a last resort. I have preached this for most of my professional life as a soldier and as a diplomat. But it must be a resort. ...

The reason we must not look away from it is because these are terrible weapons ... weapons that will kill not a few people, not a hundred people, not a thousand people, but could kill tens of thousands of people, if these weapons got into the wrong hands.

And the security of the region, the hopes for the people of Iraq themselves, and our security rests upon us meeting our responsibilities and, if it comes to it, invoking the serious consequences called for in 1441.

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad