Iraq War 2003: Background & Lessons

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June 9, 2003: Book Review

To Allay Doubts

The United Nations and Iraq: Defanging the Viper. By Jean E. Krasno and James S. Sutterlin. Westport, Connecticut, 2003: Praeger. ISBN: 0-275-97839-7. 238pp, annexes, bibl., index. Soft $24.95.

Publishers dream of having the right book out at the right time: Praeger’s new book, The United Nations and Iraq: Defanging the Viper, by two US academics, is both timely and valuable. Jean Krasno, from Yale University’s Department of Political Science, and James Sutterlin, a Distinguished Fellow in UN Studies at Yale and adjunct Professor of Political Sciecne at Long Island University, looked at UN activities in Iran right up until the latest war.

They did so from a perspective of “oral history”, looking beyond documentation to discovering the “unofficial” aspects of human relations and approach in the search for Iraq’s banned weapons. Readers are left with little doubt about Saddam’s intentions with regard to such weapons, nor of the fact that the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are ill-equipped to find answers to questions still being asked.

The authors combined detailed reporting of all available official documentation of UN resolutions and traffic with extensive interviews with officials who had played key rôles in the UN search for Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein’s banned weapons. What becomes clear from the study is the UN’s great Achilles’ heel: its lack of any meaningful intelligence and analytical capability.

A very valuable study. — GRC