Ex-inspector says U.S. hypocritical

July 1, 1993

Ex-inspector says U.S. hypocritical

By Joe Baker, Senior Editor

Richard Butler, former chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq, says the U.S. government is hypocritical in its stand on nuclear weapons. He said even educated Americans don’t seem to see the double standard implicit in U.S. policy.

Butler, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, told a seminar at the University of Sydney that Americans don’t seem to grasp that they can’t claim a right to have nuclear weapons and then deny that right to other nations.

“My attempts to have Americans enter into discussions about double standards have been an abject failure,” he said, “even with highly educated and engaged people. I sometimes felt I was speaking to them in Martian, so deep is their inability to understand.”

Butler added: “What America totally fails to understand is that their weapons of mass destruction are just as much a problem as are those of Iraq.” He said that Hollywood has fueled much of that attitude, leading many in the U.S. to believe there are good weapons of mass destruction and bad weapons of mass destruction.

Butler headed the UN inspection team in Iraq in the early 1990s. He is a former Australian ambassador for disarmament.

“Amongst my toughest moments in Baghdad,” he said, “were when the Iraqis demanded that I explain why they should be hounded for their weapons of mass destruction when, just down the road, Israel was not, even though it was known to possess some 200 nuclear weapons.”

Such unfairness, Butler said, produced a situation that was deeply and inherently unstable.

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