Editorial: Give inspection time


    For all the details, Iraq?s official declaration of its nuclear program is more than 2,100 pages ? pages that are not officially public.

    It details dealings with companies and foreign governments that assisted its former chemical weapons program and details of Baghdad?s efforts to build biological weapons.

    The table of contents is broken down into four sections: nuclear, chemical, biological and ballistic missile programs. Hundreds of pages are devoted to Iraq?s current nuclear program and the program it maintained until the Gulf War.

    A chemical declaration begins with a chronology of Iraq?s ?former chemical weapons program.? Individual sections deal with the chemical program. They include: Research and development activities, the production of chemical agents, relations with companies and a terminated radiation bomb project.

    The biological declaration is shorter and includes information on military institutions connected with the former biological weapons program.

    The ballistic missile declaration is brief and a chronology of Iraq?s ballistic missile program. Iraq is banned from missiles with a range greater than 94 miles.

    In the declaration, Iraqi officials assert that it no longer has weapons of mass destruction or a means to deliver them.

    Washington has obtained the U.N. Security Council?s copy of the complete 12,000-page declaration and plans to share it only with Russia, Britain, France and China.

    While the complete report arrived at U.N. headquarters in New York on Sunday, inspectors will need to review the document, analyze it and report on it. The Security Council is expected to provide weapons inspectors with experts and data that could help hasten a confirmation of whether Saddam Hussein is trying to rearm.

    Even with all the additional help, inspectors need to have time to delve into the document. But, following the catastrophic destruction of the World Trade Center, we believe it would be of interest to the American public to have these documents open and provided to the public. Give the inspectors time, but also give the American public time.

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