postwar screwup watch: WMD game over

The Administration calls it quits in the search for WMDs:

Frustrated, U.S. Arms Team to Leave Iraq
Task Force Unable To Find Any Weapons

BAGHDAD -- The group directing all known U.S. search efforts for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is winding down operations without finding proof that President Saddam Hussein kept clandestine stocks of outlawed arms, according to participants.
Leaders of Task Force 75's diverse staff -- biologists, chemists, arms treaty enforcers, nuclear operators, computer and document experts, and special forces troops -- arrived with high hopes of early success. They said they expected to find what Secretary of State Colin L. Powell described at the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 5 -- hundreds of tons of biological and chemical agents, missiles and rockets to deliver the agents, and evidence of an ongoing program to build a nuclear bomb.

Scores of fruitless missions broke that confidence, many task force members said in interviews.

Army Col. Richard McPhee, who will close down the task force next month, said he took seriously U.S. intelligence warnings on the eve of war that Hussein had given "release authority" to subordinates in command of chemical weapons. "We didn't have all these people in [protective] suits" for nothing, he said. But if Iraq thought of using such weapons, "there had to have been something to use. And we haven't found it. . . . Books will be written on that in the intelligence community for a long time."

This is of course referring to the issue of chemical and biological WMD, which Bush claimed Iraq had (speaking through Powell), and which the imminent threat of handing over to terrorists was justification for the war on Iraq. Meanwhile, the Tuwaitha nuclear plant gets raided because Rumsfeld didn't bother to assign troops. Presumably because they dont think the threat from radioactive material falling into terrorists' hands is a threat, unlike bio- and chem materials that don't exist.

David Corn is all over the proliferation issue.... check it out.

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