Jewish World Review Dec. 18, 2002 / 13 Teves, 5763

Dan Abrams

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Why many seem to misunderstand Iraq's international obligations


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | This is not really about Iraq proving a negative, as some have suggested. "The New York Times" did an in-depth story Sunday about how Iraq has to convince the world it has no weapons of mass destruction.

It writes, "[It is] a philosophical proposition that is arguably deeply flawed. Some scholars would say the task the world has assigned to Iraq to prove it has no weapons of mass destruction is logically impossible."

But that really misses the point. We are not starting from scratch here. Sure, without any information to start proving you don't have something could be tricky. But weapons inspectors, who were kicked out in 1998 had unanswered questions about known weapons, weapons for which Saddam has apparently provided no explanation.

For starters, at least 550 mustard gas shells, 150 bombs containing biological agents and hundreds of tons of toxic agents. Asking Saddam to explain what happened to those weapons is not asking him to prove a negative. Despite the fact that Saddam has the burden to come clean, if there's going to be a war, the U.S. or the U.N. should have clear and convincing evidence of Saddam's weapons or connections with al Qaeda.

But that evidence could come from Saddam's refusal to address hard facts about his weapons programs. That's not some flawed philosophical proposition.

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JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors “The Abrams Report,” Monday through Friday from 6-7 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today” and “Dateline NBC.” To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.

Up

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11/15/02: A close reading of Iraq's letter of acceptance makes it clear that Saddam will almost certainly refuse to live up to its terms
11/14/02: Al Jazeera: A state-sponsored mouth-piece
11/13/02: Should Moussaoui be sent to a military tribunal?
11/12/02: Should human rights activists complain about the detainees' treatment?

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