The Washington Post reports today that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq ended before Christmas. The White House and the Pentagon determined that, with the U.S. presidential election having passed without incident the previous month, there was no further political benefit to be gained from a charade that cost hundreds of millions of dollars and nearly a dozen lives of those working with weapons inspectors.
There are several disturbing aspects of this story, beyond the obvious point that the United States waged a preemptive war, spent almost two years searching for WMD, and now owns the world's most dangerous insurgency all for the purpose of confirming what U.N. weapons inspectors were telling the Bush Administration all along. The Post reports, for example, that "Congress allotted hundreds of millions of dollars for the weapons hunt, and there has been no public accounting of the money. A spokesman for the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency said the entire budget and the expenditures would remain classified." Also, the Post notes that in spite of the fact that the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) determined over a year ago that none of the Iraqi scientists being held had worked on WMD since the Persian Gulf War, some continue to be imprisoned by the U.S. without having been charged with a crime.
Those who have supported the war in Iraq should read this plain, factual statement from the Post story--"President Bush, Vice President Cheney and other top administration officials asserted before the U.S. invasion in March 2003 that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program, had chemical and biological weapons, and maintained links to al Qaeda affiliates to whom it might give such weapons to use against the United States."--and then click on the Post's link to "Faces of the Fallen."