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Sunday, March 09, 2003

What Butler Saw

David from Silent Running has posted this fascinating interview New Zealand National Radio had with Richard Butler, former chief UN weapons inspector.

Unfortunately I couldn't find a link to this. David says Butler made interesting remarks about Scott Ritter, but then didn't post them, the tease.

Let's have a few tidbits:

Butler:...I think France has been posturing in a way that is almost outrageous. Let's face it, you know, France knows Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. One of the reasons for that apart from the fact that they've got a very good intelligence service is that they know it because they've got the receipts, in other words because they sold them some of those weapons in the past.

There's much more in this vein. Butler says that the French are not going to hold out, that if everyone else is on board they won't be left at the station. But he says it's hard to know what motivates them. He seems to think that they in particular will not be separated from the Russians, which I find just a bit peculiar.

(And by "peculiar", I mean "surprisingly unsurprising".)

Here's another fun bit:

Presenter: the French presumably are concerned that out of all of this America will end up controlling the oil, aren't they?

Butler: Well no, the French are concerned with the shape of the post cold war world. They don't like a uni-polar world, they don't like the fact that it's becoming an anglophonic world. They've got lots of such concerns. Oil is a part of it.

I know nothing about the presenter here (David says her name is Linda Clark), but one can almost hear her wanting to reply, "It's not aaaaallll about the ooooiiiillll? But it's aaaaallll about the ooooiiiillll, everyone knows that. How can you say it's not about the ooooiiiillll?"

InstaUPDATE: My relentless hectoring has prompted David to post more of the transcript of this interview, including the bits about Scott Ritter. Watch Butler get snippy with his interviewer!

Butler doesn't believe that war is the solution to the problem of Iraq's weapons. I disagree with him, but I'd like to hear what he would suggest. But---heavens!---how refreshing it is to hear someone admit that the whole do-they-don't-they do-si-do is a bunch of bull!