Iraq War Drumbeat: Colin Powell Claims Iraq Dragging Out Inspection Process

Colin PowellFebruary 14, 2003


Shortly after hearing the United Nations chief weapons inspectors give their latest report to the Security Council, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell sat down with CNN correspondent Andrea Koppel to discuss what he had heard and the United States’ latest thinking on the Iraq crisis.

KOPPEL: Considering what you heard both in the public session that we were all listening to and then behind closed doors, under the present circumstances, would you recommend to President Bush to go for a second resolution.

POWELL: Well, I’ve got to get back to Washington and talk to my colleagues in the administration and speak to the president. So I think I’ll withhold my recommendation to the president and give it to him. But it was a very good debate, both in the open session and in the private session. And it comes down to the following issue, when you shred out all of the different points of view: Robust inspection has to be something that goes hand-in-hand with cooperation and compliance on the part of the Iraqi regime. No matter how robust the inspection regimen, you make the inspection regimen, if Iraq is not cooperating, if Iraq is not complying with the resolution, you’re not going to get to the right answer, which is the disarmament of Iraq. And that’s the point I tried to make.

Let’s not lose sight of the issue. The issue is disarmament and compliance and cooperation, not the inspection regime. And what I heard today from the inspectors and what I heard from the Iraqi permanent representative was that they have done some things with respect to process. Suddenly, [Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein issues a decree today, suddenly the legislature finally takes action, a new law. But these are just process items.

We still don’t have a substantive change in thinking on the part of the Iraqi regime. They haven’t made a strategic decision yet to cooperate. And so robust inspections or more inspectors or more technical features to the inspection won’t compensate, in my judgment, for a lack of cooperation and a failure of Iraq to understand they must comply.

KOPPEL: U.S. officials have been sitting down with their British counterparts this week, trying to figure out what kind of language could be in a second U.N. resolution. Why is this? We know why it’s important to the U.K. Why would this be important to the U.S.?

POWELL: We believe that a second resolution, if we go for one, and if one is passed, would once again express the intent of the Security Council that Iraq come into compliance. And if it hasn’t come into compliance at this point, then serious consequences should follow.

That was the whole logic behind [Security Council Resolution] 1441. So to be consistent with 1441, to go for such a resolution, what the president [has] made clear all along, [is] that in the absence of a second resolution, if Iraq still is not disarmed, then the United States is willing to lead a coalition of nations that will be willing to join the United States in the disarmament. And obviously, a second resolution would provide political support to all the many heads of state and government, all those countries who think as we do, that Iraq must be disarmed one way or the other.


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