Skip to comments.Saddam: I won't destroy missiles
Posted on 02/24/2003 9:44:58 PM PST by kattracks
Saddam Hussein last night defied the US chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, when he refused to destroy his Samoud 2 missiles and called instead on US president George Bush to join him in a televised debate.
In an exclusive interview with the CBS news anchor, Dan Rather, to be screened in the US tomorrow night, the Iraqi leader denied that the Samouds violated UN mandates and said he would not destroy them.
No transcripts of the first interview that President Saddam has conducted with a foreign journalist for 12 years were available last night. But Mr Rather said: "Saddam indicated he does not intend to destroy the missiles or pledge to destroy them as demanded by Blix."
President Saddam's challenge to a live, televised debate on the crisis with Mr Bush was dismissed out of hand by the White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer.
"This is not a serious issue. There is no debating his need to disarm," he said.
The order to destroy the Samoud missiles is emerging as a test of how serious the Iraqi regime is about disarmament. The order was issued after experts decided that the missile flew farther than the 150km (93 mile) limit set down by the UN in 1991
Betcha that Saddam will say that he will destroy the missiles, if he didn't even Jimmy Carter would have to say "Go git 'em".
NOT JUST THE MISSILES: Saddam would be truly dumb not to destroy his al Samoud missiles. Although they're not WMDs, they are illegal under the current sanctions. And the p.r. effect of destroying them would be enormous among the gullible peace-at-any-price Europeans. But it's the WMDs - especially the unaccounted for anthrax, botulinum, and VX gas - that we need real answers about. And action.
Will Rather keep both pictures on his night stand so that he can have nice little statist dreams?
Now that Saddam has flipped us off, I don't see any reason to wait till mid-March for the French and the rest of the UN-SCUM to come around.
Yeah, this refusal is mind-boggling. Saddam is evil, not crazy or stupid. What on Earth can he be thinking? These al-Samouds are virtually meaningless to his warfighting abilitythey're converted SA-2 SAMs, with a payload equivalent to maybe ten artillery shells. Heck, if Saddam were really smart he'd have built these toys simply to have something to give up. If he let Blix take them away, the "peace in our time" crowd would almost unquestionably carry the day, and any threat of war within the next year (at least) would vanish overnight, buying him time to finish his nuke.
Brining down Saddam over the al-Samoud is like busting Al Capone for tax evasion. If it gets the job done, well, so be it, but the whole situation is faintly absurd.
Fine .. we'll destroy them for him
That's what everyone is assuming. It's Saddam's obvious move, to make it look like he's obeying the U.N. inspectors. And it would be incredibly idiotic for him to fail to do so.
And yet... It's conceivable that his own arrogance and enormous ego might do him in. Now that he's given an interview to Dan Rather, and explicitly refused to destroy the missiles (if in fact he was that clear about it in the interview), he'd look weak and afraid if he backed down. Saddam's precarious position depends upon his convincing his own people (especially his own generals) that obeying him is less deadly to their health than throwing in their lot with the Americans.
If Hussein has boxed himself in, and fails to destroy the missiles, that will finally give the rest of the Security Council the political cover it needs to cave into U.S. pressure. Even France might throw in the towel.
Fine, we have enough resolutions where even Sesame Street wont save you! We can outcount you Saddam.
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