Frustrated, U.S. Arms Team to Leave Iraq
Task Force Unable To Find Any Weapons
By Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 11, 2003; Page A01
BAGHDAD -- The group directing all known U.S. search efforts for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is winding down operations without finding proof that President Saddam Hussein kept clandestine stocks of outlawed arms, according to participants.
The 75th Exploitation Task Force, as the group is formally known, has been described from the start as the principal component of the U.S. plan to discover and display forbidden Iraqi weapons. The group's departure, expected next month, marks a milestone in frustration for a major declared objective of the war.
Leaders of Task Force 75's diverse staff -- biologists, chemists, arms treaty enforcers, nuclear operators, computer and document experts, and special forces troops -- arrived with high hopes of early success. They said they expected to find what Secretary of State Colin L. Powell described at the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 5 -- hundreds of tons of biological and chemical agents, missiles and rockets to deliver the agents, and evidence of an ongoing program to build a nuclear bomb.
Scores of fruitless missions broke that confidence, many task force members said in interviews.
Army Col. Richard McPhee, who will close down the task force next month, said he took seriously U.S. intelligence warnings on the eve of war that Hussein had given "release authority" to subordinates in command of chemical weapons. "We didn't have all these people in [protective] suits" for nothing, he said. But if Iraq thought of using such weapons, "there had to have been something to use. And we haven't found it. . . . Books will be written on that in the intelligence community for a long time."
Army Col. Robert Smith, who leads the site assessment teams from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, said task force leaders no longer "think we're going to find chemical rounds sitting next to a gun." He added, "That's what we came here for, but we're past that."
Motivated and accomplished in their fields, task force members found themselves lacking vital tools. They consistently found targets identified by Washington to be inaccurate, looted and burned, or both. Leaders and members of five of the task force's eight teams, and some senior officers guiding them, said the weapons hunters were going through the motions now to "check the blocks" on a prewar list.
U.S. Central Command began the war with a list of 19 top weapons sites. Only two remain to be searched. Another list enumerated 68 top "non-WMD sites," without known links to special weapons but judged to have the potential to offer clues. Of those, the tally at midweek showed 45 surveyed without success.
Полностью статья здесь.
Еще интересный момент здесь, это что противобункерные бомбы оказались неэффективны:
The bunker, toured several days later by a reporter, withstood the palace's destruction by at least two satellite-guided bombs. The bombs left six-foot holes in the reinforced concrete palace roof, driving the steel reinforcing rods downward in a pattern that resembled tentacles. The subsequent detonation turned great marble rooms into rubble.
But the bunker, tunneled deep below a ground-floor kitchen, remained unscathed. The tunnel dropped straight down and then leveled to horizontal, forming corridors that extend most of the breadth of the palace. Richly decorated living quarters were arranged along a series of L-shaped bends, each protected by three angled blast doors. The doors weighed perhaps a ton.
Впрочем, в этом же номере газеты нас уверяют, что это и не важно, было ли у Ирака ОМП:
No Weapons, No Matter. We Called Saddam's Bluff
By Michael Schrage
Sunday, May 11, 2003; Page B02
Russian President Vladimir Putin openly mocks America's failed efforts to find chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in Iraq. The Euroleft proclaims the coalition's rationale for invading the country -- the presence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) -- a fraud. Top Iraqi scientists still swear that their country has no such weapons. No nukes, no anthrax, no VX gas. Are they liars trying to cut a better deal for themselves? Or might they simply be telling the truth?
It doesn't matter. If Iraq has significant WMD capabilities, they eventually will be discovered. But even if Iraq proves utterly free of WMD -- or if it merely possesses a paltry two or three bio-weapons vans -- the coalition's military action was the most rational response to Saddam's long-term policy of strategic deception. Saddam Hussein bet that he could get away with playing a "does he or doesn't he?" shell game with a skeptical superpower. He bet wrong.
Короче, Саддам ответил за базар.