Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman
CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, January 27, 2003
For IMMEDIATE Release
Hyde Remarks on UNMOVIC/IAEA Reports
"Disarmament cannot succeed if inspectors are reduced to
playing hide and seek."
(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), chairman
of the House International Relations Committee, remarked today on the
preliminary reports of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and
Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA):
The disarmament of Iraq cannot succeed if inspectors
are reduced to playing hide and seek. Throughout the 1990s, the UN identified
tons of biological and chemical weapons, missiles, and other threats that Iraq
had long since promised to give up.
In Resolution 1441, Saddam Husseins regime was given a
final chance to come clean, declare its weapons, and help the UN inspectors
destroy them or verify their prior destruction. It has demonstrably failed to do
so. First, it has failed to acknowledge and identify weapons the UN has
previously demonstrated exist. Second, it has obstructed efforts to determine
the disposition of those weapons, and as we learned today, Saddams regime is
blocking overflights by UN surveillance aircraft and halting UN interviews with
Iraqi scientists. Of course, if given enough time, the inspectors may stumble
across even more evidence of illegal Iraqi weapons. But to what end? The Iraqis
have given no indication that, as Dr. Blix said, they have come to genuine
acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament that was demanded of it.
Now, either the UN Security Councils threatened
serious consequences will occur or they will not. If they do not, what
signal will we send to Saddam and to other potential aggressors about the will
of the international community? What signal will we send about the determination
of the United States of America? If no consequences flow from the Blix report,
we reduce the UN to a glorified debating society. The world has been down this
road before, with the League of Nations.
Unfortunately, some foreign governments and some
individuals here in the United States wont allow themselves to be convinced
by the evidence of Saddams systematic violations of international law. If they
were jurors, they would be disqualified for failure to deliberate.
The fact that no amount of evidence of Iraqs bad faith
will ever be enough for some members of the international community should
not stop that community and cannot stop the United States from
acting to defend its interests. Our German allies have said they wont help us
even if the Security Council calls for action against Saddam. For this French
government, it seems no reason to act will be enough, so any excuse will do. Or
perhaps it is their commercial interests that require them to sit this one out.
In any event, Saddam has let us know that we must act, and soon.