U.S. Should Give U.N. "Real Authority," Former CIA Chief Says

Washington -- The United States needs to give the United Nations "some real authority" in Iraq to avoid the risk of alienating ordinary Iraqis, former CIA Director Stansfield Turner suggested to U.N. Wire yesterday.

Turner said in an interview that if the Bush administration loses too much popular support in Iraq, it will face difficulties overcoming snipers and other security problems in Baghdad.

The administration, he said, is having problems in the United Nations now "because they don't like the U.N. and they don't like nation-building in general." In addition, he said, the administration "had a false impression of what Iraq reconstruction was going to be like."

Referring to last week's report to the U.S. Congress on weapons of mass destruction by lead U.S. investigator David Kay, Turner said, "I'm just aghast when I read what Mr. Kay says and then read what Mr. Bush says about Mr. Kay and then read what Mr. (U.S. Secretary of State Colin) Powell wrote yesterday about Mr. Kay's report." Powell wrote a commentary in Tuesday's Washington Post entitled "What Kay Found."

"I mean," Turner said, "Kay said they found nothing of significance, but because they found some biological samples, some of which could be possibly used -- possibly used -- for biological weapons, that were in the refrigerator since 1993 in some scientist's home, they're all trumping this up and one or two other little things like that as a great victory for their claims" of a vigorous weapons of mass destruction program.

The Bush administration, he said, has "clearly overplayed" the situation and is trying to avoid having to "confess" that it has done so, Turner said, adding that he would have been concerned about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction earlier this year.

[Source: By Steve Hirsch, U.N. Wire, 09Oct03]

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