The search for WMDs? It's over

The Iraq Survey Group gives up on the hunt, but not without warnings about how the war in Iraq has increased the risk.

Published April 26, 2005 1:26PM (EDT)

The president can keep looking under the sofa, but for the rest of the U.S. government the hunt is now officially over. Charles Duelfer, the head of the government's Iraq Survey Group, has just filed a final addendum in which he says the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has "gone as far as feasible." The result: Nothing at all.

Well, that's not entirely true. While the Iraq Survey Group never found the weapons of mass destruction -- the ones the president used to sell the war, the ones about which Donald Rumsfeld said, "We know where they are" -- Duelfer warns in his report that the downfall of Saddam Hussein's government means that weapons experts who once worked for the dictator are seeking work elsewhere -- and that "hostile foreign governments, terrorists or insurgents may seek" such "Iraqi expertise."

Oh, and then there's this: Duelfer confirms that some equipment potentially related to WMD work is missing from sites that were "heavily damaged and looted" during the early days of the war, and that this missing equipment "could contribute to insurgent or terrorist production of chemical or biological agents."

Remember when the war in Iraq was supposed to make us safer?

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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