Randall Hoven at The American Thinker has a thought or two on that question.
“Everyone knows” there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Iraq when Bush decided to invade in 2003. If there were any doubts about that, surely they were laid to rest by the Duelfer Report, the official findings of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) headed by Charles Duelfer, Special Advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence.
Take your pick of excerpts from Duelfer’s report.
• On nuclear weapons: “Saddam Husayn [sic] ended the nuclear program in 1991 following the Gulf war. ISG found no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart the program.”
• On chemical weapons: “ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991.”
• On biological weapons (BW): “ISG found no direct evidence that Iraq, after 1996, had plans for a new BW program or was conducting BW-specific work for military purposes.”
Slam dunk, right? Bush lied.
Not so fast. First, the ISG did find WMD. In fact, it found at least 53 of them.
“Beginning in May 2004, ISG recovered a series of chemical weapons from Coalition military units and other sources. A total of 53 munitions have been recovered.”
Why haven’t you heard that? Possibly because that information was buried on page 97 of Annex F of Volume 3 of the Duelfer Report.
Even if the number of WMD found were short of the “large stockpiles” threshold demanded by invasion critics, what about the ability to produce and use WMD in a short amount of time? Here, the Duelfer Report is explicit.
• “[Saddam Hussein] wanted to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when sanctions were lifted.”
• “we have clear evidence of his intent to resume WMD production as soon as sanctions were lifted”
• “Saddam did express his intent to retain the intellectual capital developed during the Iraqi Nuclear Program.”
• “Iraq took steps to conceal key elements of its program and to preserve what it could of the professional capabilities of its nuclear scientific community.”
• “ISG found a limited number of post-1995 activities that would have aided the reconstitution of the nuclear weapons program once sanctions were lifted.”
• “Saddam never abandoned his intentions to resume a CW effort when sanctions were lifted and conditions were judged favorable.”
It goes on like that – you’ll have to read it all, as it is very detailed and extensive. Quotes David Kay, interestingly, as well. The piece ends with some quotes from folks on the left who believed the WMD existed. You know, like President Clinton, VP Gore and Ted Kennedy.