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Download The Greatest Threat: Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the Growing Crisis of Global Security Audiobook

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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (10 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Butler Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Civilization may face no greater enemy than Saddam Hussein, and yet the major powers allowed Saddam to face them down. Here, Richard Butler tells the inside story of the UN’s failed attempt to stop Saddam and explains the terrible cost of that failure.      

As the head of UNSCOM, the special United Nations commission that was supposed to regularly inspect Iraq for weapons violations, Butler had the authority to shut the Iraqis down if he caught them cheating—but that authority was undermined behind his back. Kofi Annan, in the name of diplomacy, agreed to Hussein’s outrageous demands, and Russia’s foreign minister took secret payoffs from the Iraqis in exchange for his support. The French, eager to do business with the dictator, undercut American efforts to force Hussein to comply, and Butler found himself the target of a major Iraqi and Russian propaganda campaign, ultimately alone.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A story rich in vivid detail.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “This important book sets the record straight. It is essential reading.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Butler convincingly shows that reducing Saddam’s ability to make war is in virtually everybody’s interest.”


  • “[Robert Whitfield’s] reading brings a sense of vitality and urgency to Butler’s words.”

    Large Print Reviews

  • “Butler’s remarkable story can be ignored only at the world’s peril.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Robert Whitfield perfectly captures Butler’s conflicting senses of outrage, indignation, and accomplishment…should endure as an excellent chronicle of events that led up to the war.”


  • “Richard Butler’s gripping account of the unsuccessful struggle to disarm Iraq reads like a suspense thriller, populated by fascinating characters.  His message, however, is deadly serious: Unchecked development of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons is the greatest threat to life on earth.”

    James F. Hoge, Jr., editor, Foreign Affairs magazine

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About the Author

Richard Butler was appointed to lead UNSCOM on July 1, 1997. From 1992 to 1997, he was the Australian ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations. In 1994 Butler was elected president of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. In 1995 he chaired the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, and in 1996 Butler led the United Nations to adopt a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty.