FRIDAY SHOULD BE INTERESTING….Hans Blix’s folks have confirmed that missiles currently in Iraq’s arsenal exceed UN limits (they have a range of 114 miles instead of the allowed 90 miles). In the great scheme of things this probably wouldn’t matter much except for this:
Council diplomats said Mr. Blix seemed to be moving toward demanding that Iraq turn over the missiles to the inspectors for destruction, a concession many diplomats expect that Mr. Hussein will be unwilling to make as the prospect of an American-led attack grows imminent.
A small material breach is one thing, and probably wouldn’t change anyone’s opinions. But if Saddam refuses to turn them over, then what? It hardly seems likely that even the French could defend the inspections regime at that point.
UPDATE: Kevin Batcho asks the equally interesting but opposite question: what if the Iraqis agree to destroy the missiles? After all, they did declare them voluntarily. Can Bush and Blair still justify an attack?