Advertisement

U.S. does not need U.N. approval for war

By
PAMELA HESS, UPI Pentagon Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- If Iraq does not confess to having chemical, biological and nuclear weapons development programs by its Dec. 8 deadline, the United States and United Kingdom have intelligence to show it is lying, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday.

Nevertheless, Rumsfeld refused to suggest a misleading declaration by Iraq this weekend would lead to war.

Advertisement

That is "a decision for the president, the Security Council, other countries to make judgments about. It's not for me," he said Tuesday at a Pentagon press conference. "I've ... indicated that it's not for me to say what the United States will or will not accept. That is a matter for the president."

If the United States is not satisfied with Iraq's declaration, it does not need the Security Council's approval to take military action against Saddam Hussein.

"Everyone does not have to agree for any member country to take appropriate action," Rumsfeld said.

The onus is not on the United States or even the United Nations weapons inspectors now in Iraq to prove Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, Rumsfeld said. Instead, it is on Saddam Hussein to prove that he doesn't.

Advertisement

"The United States knows that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. The U.K. knows that they have weapons of mass destruction. Any country on the face of the earth with an active intelligence program knows that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction," Rumsfeld said.

"It is not for some country to go in and give them a clean bill of health, it is for Iraq to give itself a clean bill of health by saying, 'Here's honestly what we currently have. Here's where it is. Here's what we've done. Please destroy it for us,'" Rumsfeld said.

Rumsfeld remains doubtful that inspections will turn up any evidence of Iraq weapons of mass destruction.

"You can't expect people to go into a country that is just enormous, with all that real estate and all that underground facilities and all of these people monitoring everything -- everything anyone is doing -- and expect them to engage in a discovery process and turn up something somebody is determined for them not to turn up," Rumsfeld said. "If you go back and look at the history of inspections in Iraq, the reality is that things have been found not by discovery, but through defectors, ... and you get the kind of information that means the game is up."

Advertisement

Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers showed aerial surveillance footage taped Nov. 26 of what they said was an Iraqi military truck carrying a "Spoon Rest" air defense radar down a road into a clutch of civilian buildings. Although it was a violation of the no-fly zone rules established in southern and northern Iraq by the United States and United Kingdom, the truck was not bombed because of its proximity to civilians.

As far as biological warfare is concerned, while troops continue to prepare for a possible war with Iraq, Rumsfeld indicated he was seriously considering inoculating them against small pox.

"I would not have had three meetings if I didn't think that there might be a good -- if it is a subject that merited my attention. And General Myers has had several of those meetings," Rumsfeld said.

Latest Headlines