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No proof of WMD before or after attack

By MINLU ZHANG in New York | China Daily | Updated: 2023-03-20 09:42

On Jan 8, 2004, a middle-aged man with gray hair and glasses appeared at a hearing of the United States Senate Armed Services Committee. He was a weapons proliferation expert who led a CIA-run operation in 2003.

"Let me begin by saying we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here," said David Kay, former head of the Iraq Survey Group, giving evidence at the hearing.

"It turns out we were all wrong, probably, in my judgment, and that is most disturbing."

The Iraq Survey Group, which investigated the presence of alleged weapons of mass destruction, or WMD, in the country, found none. Kay attributed this to a shortage of agents on the ground in Iraq before the war and analysts feeling pressured to reach conclusions based on insufficient information.

Just about one year before the hearing, in March 2003, the US, with Western allies, started a war against Iraq without the authorization of the United Nations. It did so on the pretext that the country possessed WMD, referring to nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, and that it had close ties to terrorist groups that had committed a terrorist attack in the US on Sept 11, 2001, that left nearly 3,000 people dead.

False pretext

The war in Iraq broke out 20 years ago on Monday, and over the years several independent investigations and even US government commissions have looked into the assertions that formed the pretext for it, and have concluded there is no evidence to support any of them.

The invasion was "a very important moment in the history of the United Nations", UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Friday.

More than 7,000 US service members and more than 8,000 contractors have lost their lives in wars since Sept 11, 2001, in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. More than 30,177 US service members and veterans who fought in those wars have committed suicide. In addition, about 177,000 uniformed Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis and Syrian allies had lost their lives by November 2019, according to a project conducted by Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

A Pew Research Center survey of veterans reported in 2019 that 64 percent of them said the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, and 62 percent of US people said the war was not worth it.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres paid a visit to Iraq this month for the first time in six years, expressing the UN's support for the people of Iraq.

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