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U.S. Report Concludes Iraq Had No WMD When Invaded

6 October 2004 -- The chief U.S. weapons inspector says Iraq had no active chemical, biological, or nuclear programs at the time of the U.S.-led invasion.

In a final report presented to a U.S. Senate committee today in Washington, Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group, concludes that Baghdad gave up its weapons of mass destruction in 1991 and had no stockpiles.

The threat of such weapons was the main reason cited by the United States and Britain for the March 2003 invasion.

U.S. President George W. Bush defended the invasion during a campaign stop today in the eastern state of Pennsylvania.

"Our nation awakened [after 11 September 2001] to an even greater danger -- the prospect that terrorists who killed thousands with hijacked airplanes would kill many more with weapons of mass murder," Bush said. "We had to take a hard look at every place where terrorists might get those weapons, and one regime stood out -- the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein."

In his report, Duelfer notes that Hussein had not abandoned his pursuit of such weapons and had hoped to revive these programs if UN sanctions on Iraq were ever lifted.

(with wire reports)