Sunday, September 07, 2003

About those WMD...

While we of course regret to report this, it turns out that mistakes have been made:

No weapons of mass destruction have turned up in Iraq, nor has any solid new evidence for them turned up in Washington or London. But what about Baghdad's patchy bookkeeping the gaps that led U.N. inspectors to list Iraqi nerve agents and bioweapons material as unaccounted for?

Ex-inspectors now say, five months after the U.S. invasion, that the "unaccountables" may have been no more than paperwork glitches left behind when Iraq destroyed banned chemical and biological weapons years ago.

...It was always a "fragile assumption" to expect Iraq to provide a highly detailed, fully consistent and well documented account of all its weapons work, said U.S. defense analyst Carl Conetta. No military can do that, he wrote in a report recapping the Iraq inspections.

A U.S. audit last year, for example, found the Pentagon had lost track of more than 1 million chemical-biological protective suits, said Conetta, of the Project on Defense Alternatives, a private think tank.

In perhaps the most striking example, U.S. government auditors found in 1994 that almost three tons of plutonium, enough for hundreds of nuclear bombs, had "vanished" from U.S. stocks, because of discrepancies between "book inventory" and "physical inventory."
Like Bush, the media should be forced to eat a whole bunch of crow over this.