December 19, 2003
The Independent (UK)

Is the search for weapons over?

After eight months with no discoveries, mission chief quits;
Fewer than 40 of the 1,400 inspectors still in the field;
As attacks on US military grow, WMD hunt no longer a priority

by Rupert Cornwell, Andrew Grice and Anne Penketh

After eight months of fruitless search, George Bush has in effect washed his hands of the hunt for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, in whose name the United States and Britain went to war last March.

David Kay, the CIA adviser who headed the US-led search for WMD, is to quit, before submitting his assessment to the US President in February.

The departure of Mr Kay, a strong believer in the case for toppling Saddam Hussein because of his alleged weapons, comes as a particular embarrassment to Tony Blair. This week he maintained that Mr Kay had uncovered "massive evidence" of a network of WMD laboratories.

For Mr Bush, the missing weapons are a politically charged issue. Pressed to explain why his administration had asserted Saddam possessed weapons, when at best fragmentary evidence of programmes had been found, Mr Bush replied: "So what's the difference? "If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger," he said in an interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer.

Mr Bush's public dismissal of the weapons issue is the latest move by Washington and London to change the justification for war. . . .


Enver Masud, "What Really Happened on September 11 Remains a Mystery," The Wisdom Fund, December 12, 2002

Brian Whitaker and Luke Harding, "Secret Plan to Impose Regime on Iraq," The Guardian, April 1, 2003

Julian Borger, "White House 'Lied About Saddam Threat'," Guardian, July 10, 2003

Robert Parry, "Missing U.S.-Iraq History," In These Times, December 16, 2003

Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, "Dubious Link Between Atta and Saddam," Newsweek, December 17, 2003

VIDEO: "The Lie Factory - How the Neocons & the Office of Special Plans Pushed Disinformation and Bogus Intelligence on Iraq," Democracy Now, December 18, 2003

Richard Norton-Taylor and Julian Borger, "New theory for Iraq's missing WMD: Saddam was fooled into thinking he had them," Guardian, December 24, 2003

Douglas Fraser, "US rubbishes Blair's WMD claim," Sunday Herald, December 28, 2003

[Officials misrepresented threat from Iraq's WMD and ballistic missiles programs over and above intelligence findings.--Jessica T. Mathews, George Perkovich, and Joseph Cirincione, "WMD IN IRAQ: Evidence and Implications," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, January 8, 2004]

Glenn Kessler, " Arms Issue Seen as Hurting U.S. Credibility Abroad," Washington Post, January 19, 2004

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