February 06, 2003

Materiality Crafty lawyers are expert

Materiality

Crafty lawyers are expert in arguing that an omission in a filing with the SEC may have been non-material and thus did not require disclosure to the relevant regulatory authorities. But even the best public international law practitioner would be unable to convincingly argue that the Iraqis are not in material breach of Resolution 1441 after Colin Powell's strong presentation. It appears Powell deliberately played down the strength of the Administration's evidence so as to play the lowered expectations game. But he didn't even need to do that. The taped exchanges between Iraqi military officials blatantly discussing the concealment of banned materials is simply damning. Ditto the satellite imagery of the sanitization of sites before the arrival of U.N. inspectors (who appear to have been infiltrated by informers or have fallen prey to listening devices that render the element of surprise moot, so why send in more inspectors as the French suggest?).

Way back (was it December 7th?) Saddam was to have provided a full declaration of his entire weapons program. He instead produced a report full of recycled information and myriad omissions. He then engaged in in the old hide and seek and cheat and retreat tactics. He is manifestly in material breach. To argue he isn't is to make a mockery of Resolution 1441 and, it follows, the United Nations. How many more blows can this beleaguered institution take before it is relegated to League of Nations status?

Posted by Gregory at February 6, 2003 06:50 PM
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