In an interview Friday, Secretary of State Colin Powell stated, "I think I have better information than the inspectors ... I think I have more assets available to me than the inspectors do." Why hasn't this information been given to the inspectors if it confirms sites or other evidence of weapons possession by Iraq? Why would this administration withhold solid evidence, which is in itself in disregard of the United Nations resolutions?
It becomes more and more apparent with each passing day that this administration will settle for nothing less than total control of Iraq. The Bush regime cajoles the U.N. and bribes other countries, rather than provide its proof of weapons concealment to the inspectors. Is there anyone left who truly believes this Bush war is for anything but the exploitation of the vast oil fields? Saddam Hussein is no doubt a horrible leader, but he is only one of many.
Re "Top Inspectors Criticize CIA Data on Iraqi Sites," March 8: I too believed Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction, somehow, somewhere. This belief was based on my trust in the Bush administration and its assertions of particularly good intelligence that proved its case. Now I read that all such evidence has been shared with the U.N. weapons inspectors, and yet the inspectors cannot substantiate much of it. In other words, there simply is no good evidence. My beliefs are shattered. Anyone still claiming that such weapons exist should admit, at least to themselves, preferably as soon as possible, that they may as well believe in the tooth fairy.
Is anyone surprised by the criticism of the CIA? This lying, scheming agency (when the chips were down before 9/11) did not share its information about the terrorists with the FBI or anyone else.
In her March 9 news analysis, Robin Wright wrote that Powell's "credibility" will be judged by the action of the Security Council. Powell is entirely credible (i.e., believable). What the Security Council members do with the information he has provided reflects only on the political leadership of their individual countries, not on Powell.
William R. Snaer
Powell's credibility is not riding on the U.N. vote at all. Rather it is the U.N.'s credibility that is riding on it. Thus far, the U.N. has shown itself to be quite irrelevant.
Powell struck out on North Korea. He struck out on Turkey. If he strikes out this week at the U.N. then it should be three strikes and you're out!
Powell's U.N. delays will cause unnecessary American casualties because the optimal months for combat weather will have passed before the war begins.
Re "A Hazy Target," Opinion, March 9: William Arkin questions Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction. Surprisingly, he fails to credit the U.N. inspectors' minuscule findings to date to support his case. The U.N. inspections are nothing short of a total farce. What they have uncovered is only that which Hussein wanted them to find, as a phony show of disarming. Hans Blix is a joke who wigwags back and forth with reports that Iraq is cooperating, but then again it is not. His appearances at the U.N. Security Council are utterly ineffective because they lack a key ingredient, that being the opportunity for members to question him.
Blix declared that if the inspections were allowed to continue, it would not take years, not weeks, but months -- without so much as a reasonable estimate of how many months. Wrong on all three time frames, because so long as Hussein and his regime remain in control, the correct needed time for continued inspections would have to be infinite.
Where have all the statesmen gone? If the United States and its "allies" had played it smart and cooperated from the start, there would be no need for war with Iraq. If the world body at the United Nations had demonstrated its resolve and willingness to use a coalition force to disarm the Iraqis, Hussein would surely have disclosed Iraq's weapons long ago and might even have been pressured to step down.
However, with all of the antiwar demonstrations around the world and so many nations stalling and making excuses for Iraq, why in the world would Hussein be motivated to comply?