In This Review

Endgame: Solving the Iraq Problem Once and for All
Endgame: Solving the Iraq Problem Once and for All
By Scott Ritter
Simon & Schuster, 1999, 240 pp.

Ritter sparked a minor political crisis in 1998 when he resigned as chief weapons inspector for the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), the agency responsible for verifying Iraq's elimination of weapons of mass destruction. Since then, he has revealed more about American intelligence-gathering operations in Iraq than one would have expected of a dogged former Marine major. Until 1998, he was an aggressive and energetic -- if undiplomatic -- front-line sleuth who spearheaded operations designed to uncover both Saddam's weapons programs and the mechanisms for concealing those programs from Western scrutiny. Alas, this book would be a fascinating tale if Ritter's writing were not so disjointed. Endgame is a nonchronological hodgepodge account of Iraqi history, personal narratives, U.N. inspections, and particularly weak policy recommendations. As commendable as Ritter's courage and ingenuity were in wrestling with Iraqi duplicity, he shows little talent for policy analysis. His solution to the current standoff -- a reinvigorated system of inspections -- is wildly unrealistic given that even the American government seems to have lost hope in UNSCOM.