ONE OF Washington's stated reasons for going to war against Iraq was the destruction of Baghdad's ability to produce nuclear weapons. President Bush told America that goal was attained in the intense bombing of Iraq's nuclear facilities, which were high-priority targets early in the war.
Now it seems that accomplishment may have been overstated, if only because Iraq tried to mislead the United Nations about the true extent of the bomb damage to its nuclear facilities. It will be up to a special commission appointed by the U.N. Security Council to determine the accuracy of claims, made by a defecting Iraqi nuclear scientist, that much of Baghdad's capability to build an atomic bomb remains intact.
Until the commission is satisfied that all nuclear materials needed to make weapons have been removed from Iraq, the United Nations must maintain full economic and military sanctions against Baghdad.