Wednesday, October 25, 2006
COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix on Wednesday described the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq as a "pure failure" that had left the country worse off than under the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein.
In unusually harsh comments to Danish newspaper Politiken, the diplomatic Swede said the U.S. government had ended up in a situation in which neither staying nor leaving Iraq were good options.
"Iraq is a pure failure," Blix was quoted as saying. "If the Americans pull out, there is a risk that they will leave a country in civil war. At the same time it doesn't seem that the United States can help to stabilize the situation by staying there."
War-related violence in Iraq has grown worse with dozens of civilians, government officials and police and security forces being killed every day. At least 83 American soldiers have been killed in October - the highest monthly toll this year.
Blix said the situation would have been better if the war had not taken place.
"Saddam would still have been sitting in office. OK, that is negative and it would not have been joyful for the Iraqi people. But what we have gotten is undoubtedly worse," he was quoted as saying.
Blix led the UN inspectors that searched for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. He came under heavy fire from Washington when he urged U.S. President George W. Bush to allow the weapons inspectors and the IAEA to continue their work as a way to stave off a war.
Ultimately a U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq and no weapons of mass destruction were found.