Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Never Mind

From the Washington Post:

The hunt for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in Iraq has come to an end nearly two years after President Bush ordered U.S. troops to disarm Saddam Hussein. The top CIA weapons hunter is home, and analysts are back at Langley.

In interviews, officials who served with the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) said the violence in Iraq, coupled with a lack of new information, led them to fold up the effort shortly before Christmas.

Four months after Charles A. Duelfer, who led the weapons hunt in 2004, submitted an interim report to Congress that contradicted nearly every prewar assertion about Iraq made by top Bush administration officials, a senior intelligence official said the findings will stand as the ISG’s final conclusions and will be published this spring.

President Bush, Vice President Cheney and other top administration officials asserted before the U.S. invasion in March 2003 that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program, had chemical and biological weapons, and maintained links to al Qaeda affiliates to whom it might give such weapons to use against the United States.

Bush has expressed disappointment that no weapons or weapons programs were found, but the White House has been reluctant to call off the hunt, holding out the possibility that weapons were moved out of Iraq before the war or are well hidden somewhere inside the country. But the intelligence official said that possibility is very small.

Duelfer is back in Washington, finishing some addenda to his September report before it is reprinted.

“There’s no particular news in them, just some odds and ends,” the intelligence official said. The Government Printing Office will publish it in book form, the official said.

I’m reminded of the D.E.A. raids where the police and S.W.A.T. teams burst into a house, trash the place looking for drugs, arrest the homeowners, and maybe fire a few shots before they realize – oops! – they got the wrong address. Except this time we killed a whole lot of people, including over 1,200 of our own and set off a powderkeg of insurgency and civil unrest that will last for generations. “Sorry about your house, lady,” just doesn’t cut it.