Wednesday :: Jan 7, 2004

New Report Asserts Bush "Systematically Misrepresented" Iraq WMD Threat To Sell War

by Steve

In a report to be released Thursday, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace concludes that the Bush Administration “systematically misrepresented” the threat from Iraq’s WMDs in the march towards war.

These distortions, combined with intelligence failures, exaggerated the risks posed by a country that presented no immediate threat to the US, Middle East or global security, the report says.

The study from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace concludes that, though the long-term threat from Iraq could not be ignored, it was being effectively contained by a combination of UN weapons inspections, international sanctions and limited US-led military action.

It says the evidence shows that although Iraq retained ambitions to develop weapons of mass destruction, almost all of what had been built had been destroyed long before the war.

Inspectors from the US-led coalition are still seeking evidence of the programmes in Iraq. But Joseph Cirincione, director of Carnegie's non-proliferation project, said: "We think it's highly unlikely that there will be any significant finds from now on."

The report says administration officials misrepresented the threat in three ways. They presented nuclear, biological and chemical weapons as a single WMD threat, lumping together the high likelihood that Iraq had chemical weapons with the possibility that it had nuclear weapons, a claim for which there was no serious evidence. The administration also insisted without evidence that Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader, would give WMD to terrorists.

Finally, officials misused intelligence in many ways. "These include the wholesale dropping of caveats, probabilities and expressions of uncertainty present in intelligence assessments from public statements," it says.

The Carnegie assessment concluded: "There is no evidence of any Iraqi nuclear programme", contrary to assertions by Dick Cheney, vice-president, and others in 2002. It notes that since the war the US-led coalition has found no chemical weapons or programmes and no biological weapons or agents.

Following a day after the Washington Post reported that the Iraq Survey Group has found only weapons programs on paper after seven months of looking, the New York Times reports that 400 of the inspectors looking for military equipment have now been reassigned because their work is done.

The Bush administration has quietly withdrawn from Iraq a 400-member military team whose job was to scour the country for military equipment, according to senior government officials.

The step was described by some military officials as a sign that the administration might have lowered its sights and no longer expected to uncover the caches of chemical and biological weapons that the White House cited as a principal reason for going to war last March.

A separate military team that specializes in disposing of chemical and biological weapons remains part of the 1,400-member Iraq Survey Group, which has been searching Iraq for more that seven months at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. But that team is "still waiting for something to dispose of," said a survey group member.

A report to be released Thursday by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has concluded that it was unlikely that Iraq could have destroyed, hidden or sent out of the country the hundreds of tons of chemical and biological weapons and related production facilities that American officials claimed were present "without the United States detecting some sign of this activity."

And yet the public seems not to care and gives the president increasing approval ratings over Iraq. But we’ll see how long this will go on if we keep having mortar attacks that kill and wound large numbers of our troops.

Steve :: 11:23 PM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!