I originally posted this in December of 1997, nearly five years ago. After a year or so I took it down. I have thought about this article several times during those years and on August 1, 2002, I am reposting it.
One of the primary terms of his surrender was that the United Nations would have access to every nook and cranny of Iraq in order to assure the world that Saddam Hussein would discontinue manufacture of chemical and nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
In late summer of 1997, Hussein arbitrarily barred UN weapon inspection teams from conducting their searches. His reason: he wanted all the Americans off the inspection teams. This action was a clear violation of United Nations Security counsel Resolutions. The United States, under President Clinton, reacted indignantly and promised to enforce the inspections.
However, international support for a tough stand wavered. By December of 1977 the United States was still flexing its muscles with two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf, but it was-for all practical purposes-backing down.
So, basically, Iraq banned the inspectors from its sites, threatened to shoot down US U-2 flights and demanded an easing in the economic blockade. What it got was encouragement that it would be able to sell some oil, would-wide sympathy for its plight, and weeks and weeks of freedom from weapons inspectors. What the UN coalition got was the continued U-2 flights and a steadfast refusal to allow the weapons inspectors full access.
In the following Associated Press story, we see US officials describing that as a victory!
Top News: Iraqi Conflict Easing
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The threat of conflict with Iraq is showing signs of easing as top U.S. and U.N. officials say they are seeking diplomatic solutions and expanded humanitarian aid for hungry Iraqis. In separate comments, the Clinton administration's U.N. ambassador and the top official at the United Nations said the possibility of military conflict with Iraq remains in the background while diplomats play the lead role. "I think Saddam Hussein is losing," Bill Richardson, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said today. "The Security Council is united in pushing Saddam. I think President Clinton's diplomacy, backed with a robust military presence in the Persian Gulf, has produced a little bit of an easing of tensions," he said on NBC's "Today" show. Still, Richardson called "unacceptable" Saddam's refusal to allow the international inspectors to examine some of the dozens of palaces that U.N. officials suspect may contain evidence of Iraqi nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. "We think the U.N. inspectors should get access to all the sensitive sites that so far the Iraqis have deemed unacceptable to visit," he said today on ABC's "Good Morning America." In Baghdad today, about 100 Iraqis angry over shortages of food and medicine surrounded two U.N. inspectors checking food supplies. As the inspectors left the scene, someone threw a brick at the rear window of their car, smashing it. No one was hurt.