In This Review

Disarming Iraq

By Hans Blix
Pantheon, 2004
304 pp. $24.00
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In his informative memoir, Blix, the much-maligned head of the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), makes clear that he too thought that Iraq was still hiding chemical and biological weapons and was exasperated by Saddam's tactics. And he acknowledges surprise at just how flimsy the information provided by Washington and London turned out to be, just as the Iraqis realized (too late) that their uncooperative attitude was leading to war. The constant assertions from the Bush administration that inspections were bound to fail was based on an exaggerated regard for their own intelligence (much of which was based on unreliable sources) and an equally exaggerated disregard for what the inspectors had achieved in the past. Blix's frustration with the consequences shines through, although he tries to be fair to the Americans and the British and offers reason to believe that Prime Minister Tony Blair's proposal for benchmarking Iraqi compliance might have worked.