UNSCOM UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL COMMISSION 26 August 1998 Richard Butler Executive Chairman United Nations Special Commission New York, New York Dear Mr. Butler, Since September 1991 I have dedicated my professional life to the furtherance of the mandate of the Special Commission as set forth in relevant Security Council resolutions. I believed in what the Special Commission stood for, and made many sacrifices, both personal and professional, required to perform my duties. In this I was no different from hundreds of my colleagues, who likewise dedicated themselves to carrying out a difficult but worthwhile task. The Special Commission was created for the purpose of disarming Iraq. As part of the Special Commission team, I have worked to achieve a simple end: the removal, destruction or rendering harmless of Iraq's proscribed weapons. The sad truth is that Iraq today is not disarmed anywhere near the level required by Security Council resolutions. As you know, UNSCOM has good reason to believe that there are significant numbers of proscribed weapons and related components and the means to manufacture such weapons unaccounted for in Iraq today. Unfortunately, the recent decisions by the Security Council to downplay the significance of the recent Iraqi decision to cease cooperation with Commission inspectors clearly indicates that the organization which created the Special Commission in its resolution 687 (1991) is no longer willing and/or capable of the implementation of its own law, in this case an enforceable resolution passed under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. This abrogation of its most basic of responsibilities has made the Security Council a witting partner to an overall Iraqi strategy of weakening the Special Commission. The Secretary General and his Special Representative have allowed the grand office of the Secretary General to become a sounding board for Iraqi grievances, real or imagined. In fact, the Secretary General himself has proposed a "comprehensive review" of the UNSCOM-Iraqi relationship, an action that would result in having the investigators becoming the investigated, all at the behest of Iraq. Such an action, in addition to being a farce, would create a clear distraction from the critical disarmament issues related to Iraq and its compliance with Security Council resolutions. Iraq has lied to the Special Commission and the world since day one concerning the true scope and nature of its proscribed programs and weapons systems. This lie has been perpetuated over the years through systematic acts of concealment. It was for the purpose of uncovering Iraq's mechanism of concealment, and in doing so gaining access to the hidden weapons, components and weapons programs, that you created a dedicated capability to investigate Iraq's concealment activities, which I have had the privilege to head. During the period of time that this effort has been underway, the Commission has uncovered indisputable proof of a systematic concealment mechanism, run by the Presidency of Iraq and protected by the Presidential security forces. This investigation has led the Commission to the door step of Iraq's hidden retained capability, and yet the Commission has been frustrated by Iraq's continued refusal to abide by its obligations under Security Council resolutions and the Memorandum of Understanding of 23 February 1998 to allow inspections, the Security Council's refusal to effectively respond to Iraq's actions, and now the current decision by the Security Council and the Secretary General, backed at least implicitly by the United States, to seek a "diplomatic" alternative to inspection-driven confrontation with Iraq, a decision which constitutes a surrender to the Iraqi leadership that has succeeded in thwarting the stated will of the United Nations. Inspections do work - too well, in fact, prompting Iraq to shut them down all together. Almost without exception, every one of the impressive gains made by UNSCOM over the years in disarming Iraq can be traced to the effectiveness of the inspection regime implemented by the Special Commission. The issue of immediate, unrestricted access is, in my opinion, the cornerstone of any viable inspection regime, and as such is an issue worth fighting for. Unfortunately, others do not share this opinion, including the Security Council and the United States. The Special Commission of today, hobbled as it is by unfettered Iraqi obstruction and non-existent Security Council enforcement of its own resolutions, is not the organization I joined almost seven years ago. I am, and will always be, fully supportive of the difficult mission that you, the Executive Chairman, and my colleagues at the Special Commission are tasked to accomplish. The refusal and/or inability on the part of the Security Council to exercise responsibility concerning the disarmament obligations of Iraq makes a mockery of the mission the staff of the Special Commission have been charged with implementing. The illusion of arms control is more dangerous than no arms control at all. What is being propagated by the Security Council today in relation to the work of the Special Commission is such an illusion, one which in all good faith I cannot, and will not, be a party to. I have no other option than to resign from my position here at the Commission effective immediately. I want you to be assured that I hold both you and the staff of the Special Commission in the highest regard. I am aware of the immensely difficult task you have been charged with implementing. I only wish the world truly understood the heroic efforts you have undertaken, and the impossible conditions which you have been compelled to operate. I wish you and the staff the best in whatever the future holds. Sincerely, William S. Ritter, Jr.