The Bush administration has admitted that Saddam Hussein probably had no weapons of mass destruction.
officials in the Bush administration have admitted that they would be
'amazed' if weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were found in Iraq.
to administration sources, Saddam shut down and destroyed large parts
of his WMD programmes before the invasion of Iraq.
the claims came as US President George Bush yesterday repeatedly
justified the war as necessary to remove Iraq's chemical and biological
arms which posed a direct threat to America.
Bush claimed: 'Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. We will find them.'
comments from within the administration will add further weight to
attacks on the Blair government by Labour backbenchers that there is no
'smoking gun' and that the war against Iraq -- which centred on claims
that Saddam was a risk to Britain, America and the Middle East because
of unconventional weapons -- was unjustified.
The senior US
official added that America never expected to find a huge arsenal,
arguing that the administration was more concerned about the ability of
Saddam's scientists -- which he labelled the 'nuclear mujahidin' -- to
develop WMDs when the crisis passed.
This represents a clearly
dramatic shift in the definition of the Bush doctrine's central tenet
-- the pre-emptive strike. Previously, according to Washington, a
pre-emptive war could be waged against a hostile country with WMDs in
order to protect American security.
Now, however, according to
the US official, pre-emptive action is justified against a nation which
simply has the ability to develop unconventional weapons.