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UN Inspectors Found No Iraqi Weapons after 1994

March 8, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 10

They don't say so explicitly, but in their latest report, United Nations weapons inspectors imply that they got it right: Iraq or UN inspectors had destroyed most if not all of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction by the end of 1991. Last October, David Kay, former head of the U.S.-led Iraq Survey Group, told a Senate committee much the same--that Iraq probably had no banned weapons prior to the U.S. invasion last year.

Tucked away in the UN report is a chart showing that UN inspectors found or destroyed no chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons after 1994. This reinforces Kay's findings of "dozens of WMD-related program activities" but no actual weapons.

Before the war, several Bush Administration officials derided UN inspectors as too incompetent to recognize weapons even if they bumped into them. Despite Kay's revelations, UN inspectors refuse to gloat. Ewen G. Buchanan, spokesman for the UN Monitoring, Verification & Inspection Commission, will only say that "the findings of UNMOVIC seem to be going in the same direction as David Kay."

Still, Buchanan adds, "we did a professional job, and that is borne out by the findings of the Iraq Survey Group. We didn't get it wrong."

Demetrius Perricos, a Ph.D. chemist and acting executive chairman of UNMOVIC, briefed the UN Security Council on the findings of the latest quarterly report last Friday. Eventually, the Security Council will have to decide the future of UNMOVIC, which was set up to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.


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