The debate over the future of post-war Iraq is focusing on the prime reason given by U.S. and Britain for the military invasion – Iraq’s alleged production of weapons of mass destruction. And U.S. forces trying to restore order continue to come under attack. Robert Raffaele has the latest.
In New York City, the retiring Chief United Nations Weapons Inspector for Iraq, Hans Blix, gave his final report to the Security Council. Mister Blix said his inspectors found no evidence that Iraq was still manufacturing chemical or biological weapons, before they left the country prior to the U.S.-led war. But he said it was possible such weapons were hidden or destroyed. He urged that international inspections press ahead.
HANS BLIX/CHIEF U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR
“We did not have time to interview more than a handful of persons who were said by Iraq to have participated in the unilateral destruction of biological and chemical weapons in 1991. Such interviews might have helped toward the resolution of some outstanding issues.”
U.S. President George W. Bush is repeating his vow that the United States will eventually determine the truth about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Thursday, Mister Bush paid a visit to cheering U.S. troops in Qatar. He told them their efforts in Iraq had made the free world safer from terrorism. And he promised that U.S. officials would not rest until proving that Saddam Hussein did indeed have weapons of mass destruction.
U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
“This is a man who spent decades hiding tools of mass murder he knew the inspectors were looking for. You know better than me, he got a big country in which to hide them. We are on the look, we will reveal the truth. But one thing is certain. No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the Iraqi regime is no more.”
Meanwhile, U.S. troops in Iraq continue to come under fire.
American military officials say a U.S. solider was killed and 5 others wounded Thursday in the town of Fallujah, when they were hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. An additional 3,000 U.S. troops were deployed to the former stronghold of Saddam Hussein.
That brings the total number of U.S. forces in Fallujah to 6,000.