Nope! No Weapons Over There!

We all knew it was coming, and it’s finally here. The United States has wrapped up searches for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What did we find? Squat. Nothing. Not one damn thing.

Not that most of us Liberals already knew this. Hussein was disarmed after the 1991 Gulf war, and was never able to re-arm.

So now that we know there are no weapons, can we bring our soldiers home? We’ve already had 1350 of our brothers and sisters lose their lives; we don’t need to lose more. We know the war was a lie now, and Bush needs to pay.

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U.S. Wraps Up Search for Banned Weapons in Iraq

Wed Jan 12, 7:09 PM ET

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. force that scoured Iraq (news – web sites) for weapons of mass destruction — cited by President Bush (news – web sites) as justification for war — has abandoned its long and fruitless hunt, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

The 1,700-strong Iraq Survey Group, responsible for the hunt, last month wrapped up physical searches for weapons of mass destruction, and it will now gather information to help U.S. forces in Iraq win a bloody guerrilla war, officials said.

“I felt like we would find weapons of mass destruction … like many — many here in the United States, many around the world,” Bush told ABC’s Barbara Walters, according to excerpts from an interview airing on Friday.

Bush said “we need to find out what went wrong in the intelligence gathering,” and that the invasion was “absolutely” worth it even if there were no weapons of mass destruction.

Bush and other U.S. officials cited the grave threat posed by Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons and Baghdad’s efforts to acquire a nuclear arms capability as a central justification for the March 2003 invasion. No such weapons have been found.

“You can only search so many places for WMD,” said a defense official, who added that the ISG continues to review documents and interview people knowledgeable about deposed President Saddam Hussein (news – web sites)’s arms programs for possible leads.

Charles Duelfer, the CIA (news – web sites) special adviser who led the ISG’s weapons search, has returned home and is expected next month to issue a final addendum to his September report concluding that prewar Iraq had no WMD stockpiles, officials said.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said he was not holding out the possibility these weapons would turn up in Iraq. But he added that “based on what we know today, the president would have taken the same action” — war with Iraq — in order to “confront a threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

“And now what is important is that we need to go back and look at what was wrong with much of the intelligence that we had accumulated over a 12-year period and that our allies had accumulated over that same period of time and correct any flaws,” McClellan said.

‘HE WAS SO WRONG’

House of Representatives Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) of California retorted, “Citing the continuing search by the Iraq Survey Group, President Bush has refused to concede what has been obvious for months: the primary justification for the invasion of Iraq was not supported by fact.”

“Now that the search is finished, President Bush needs to explain to the American people why he was so wrong, for so long, about the reasons for war.”

The defense official, who also asked not to be named, said Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Joseph McMenamin was replaced last month as the ISG’s military head by an officer of lesser rank. The defense official said Air Force Col. Lloyd Somers is now serving as acting director of the ISG.

Duelfer’s role as the CIA’s special adviser on Iraqi WMD is unchanged, an official said.

Another U.S. official said, “While the actual physical search is over for all intents and purposes, it’s not closed in the sense that while this (document exploitation) operation continues … if they stumble upon something in the course of that effort that says the stash is there, they are certainly going to run out there and look for it.”

The defense official said the ISG mission is being refocused to provide intelligence support to the U.S. military command in Iraq, adding: “Obviously, I would say that counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism is kind of job No. 1 over there for everybody.”

U.S. forces are locked in a bloody struggle with insurgents in Iraq, and the U.S. military death toll since the invasion stands at more than 1,350, with 10,000 wounded.

The Duelfer report concluded that Iraq had no stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons and its nuclear program had decayed before last year’s U.S.-led invasion.

The findings are contrary to prewar assertions by the Bush administration, which stated in the run-up to the war that Saddam possessed stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, was actively reconstituting his nuclear arms program, and might provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists to attack America. (Additional reporting by Caroline Drees and David Morgan)

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