If Saddam didn't have WMD and faced invasion and execution, why didn't he simply allow inspectors complete 100% access?
Answered by: Toma Vargazon,A man of (too) many interest
The main reason was twofold.
The first was that the Resolution called for a verifiable proof the WMDs were disposed of. If Iraq had no WMDs (it didn’t), then it had to prove where and how it disposed of them.
This presented a problem for Iraq that destroyed the weapons in clandestine manner, in order to keep up the Potemkin WMD program as a deterrent against Iran. Saddam was afraid without those, Iran may seek to destabilize Iraq and overthrow Saddam in favor of their Shia allies within Iraq. Saddam believed the threat of chemical weapons shielded him from that fate.
The weapons were still disposed of, but no documentation was kept, I wouldn’t be surprised if key laborers were shot to keep anyone from finding this out. The upshot of that is the world at large was convinced Iraq had WMDs, but there were no credible witnesses, no paper trail and no evidence to show you’ve really done anything at all. 100% total access wouldn’t help, because Iraq is a vast and empty land, with a bajillion possible hiding places:
It took the coalition about half a year to discover the buried planes of the Iraqi air force, next to an airport. Iraq is larger than Germany and you’re looking for well hidden barrells. Good luck.
A second and much more important reason is that no matter what Iraq did, the invasion was going to happen. GWB and his staff were determined to change the regime in Iraq and the WMDs were just a convenient excuse, a slam dunk reason to invade Iraq, because it was so obvious Iraq was illegaly hiding weapons of mass destruction. Everyone knew it, from CIA to MI6 to DGSE to SVR RF, no one publically voiced concern Iraq actually had no weapons. They voiced other (and valid) concerns, but not the one that Iraq had no WMDs. Prove to them you have no WMDs early on and they just use some other reason to attack you instead.
If you want to know what are the possible downsides of being too good at your job, Iraqi WMDs are a tragically good example of that.