Are we using the same dictionary?
From today's UPI story entitled Blix: Iraq accepts all UN inspector rights:
"On the question of access, it was clarified that all sites are subject to immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access," he said in his statement.
Which sounds like a good thing. It conjures up visions of a group of Marines standing watch over the guards of a suspected WMD lab while inspectors search it over the loud protests of a commandant. Au contrare, my naive friend:
"However, the Memorandum of Understanding of 1998 established special procedures for access to eight presidential sites."
Come again? Either "all sites are subject to immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access", or they're not. You can't have unrestricted access to "all sites" and yet have to jump through hoops to inspect some sites.
We're not talking about a couple of country cottage retreats, either; the presidential palaces comprise "hundreds of acres both within and outside of Baghdad." You can hide a hell of a lot of weaponry -- conventional or otherwise -- in hundreds of acres.
Blix is claiming this as a victory, which disappoints me. I had hoped he might actually prove to be up to his nominal job. Instead he's basically invited Iraq to pick up right where they left off in '98, playing hide and seek with the inspectors. Anytime the inspectors get too close to actually finding anything worthwhile, doubtless the trail will lead to a presidential palace, and by the time the "special requirements" have been satisfied, the game will have started all over.