While the Democrats in the U.S. Senate forced the upper house to close to the public for the purpose of investigating whether President Bush deceived the nation about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a new book attempts to remind the world that WMDs were indeed found after the invasion.
In fact, lots of them were found.
In his new book, "Disinformation: 22 Media Myths That Undermine the War on Terror," investigative reporter Richard Miniter reports once again on some major nuclear and chemical warheads discovered by coalition forces. They include:
* 1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium
* 1,500 gallons of chemical weapons agents
* 17 chemical warheads containing cyclosarin (a nerve agent five times more deadly than sarin gas)
* Over 1,000 radioactive materials in powdered form meant for dispersal over populated areas
* Roadside bombs loaded with mustard and "conventional" sarin gas, assembled in binary chemical projectiles for maximum potency
This is only a partial list of the horrific weapons verified to have been recovered in Iraq to date. Yet Americans overwhelmingly believe U.S. and coalition forces have found no weapons of mass destruction.
Let's take a close look at the first example. Many would be shocked to hear that nearly 2 tons of enriched uranium was found in Iraq – enough to make dozens and dozens of nuclear weapons and countless "dirty nukes."
Yet, in July 2004, the U.S. government announced it had transferred the nearly 2 tons of enriched uranium found in Iraq to an undisclosed location in the United States.
The uranium was what was left of supplies looted when the Iraqi facility was left unguarded between the retreat of Saddam Hussein's forces and the advance of U.S. forces.
The airlift was completed June 23, five days before the U.S.-led Coalition Authority transferred the sovereignty to the Iraqi interim government.
The uranium was from the Tuwaitha nuclear facility, about 20 kilometers south of Baghdad. It was once a premium Iraqi facility for development of nuclear weapons but was dismantled in 1990s after the first Gulf war. The facility is now under the control of the new Iraqi interim government.
It was not clear where exactly the uranium is being kept, but American Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham described its removal as a "major achievement" in the Bush administration's goal of keeping "potentially dangerous nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists."
"It also puts this material out of reach for countries that may seek to develop their own nuclear weapons," Abraham said in a statement.
In a letter to the Security Council, IAEA Director General Mohammad El Baradei confirmed the transfer, saying that about 1.8 tonnes of uranium enriched to the level of 2.6 per cent had been transferred June 23 along with 6.6 pounds of low enriched uranium and about 1,000 highly radioactive sources.
What were the expectations of those looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – finished nuclear warheads ready for launch?
On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid moved to lock out the public and press for the purpose of forcing an investigation into prewar intelligence issues.
Democrats said the move was necessary to overcome Republican efforts to "obstruct" a full investigation and a reluctance to investigate how administration officials handled the intelligence used to sell Congress and the public on invading Iraq.
The inquiry would be a follow-up to the July 2004 intelligence committee report that blamed a "series of failures" by the CIA and other intelligence agencies for the mistaken belief among U.S. policymakers that Iraq had restarted its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.
Sen. Christopher Bond of Missouri, a Republican member of the intelligence committee, said the panel's 2004 report found no indication that the mistaken assumptions about Iraq's weapons programs were the result of political pressure.
All of this leaves many inside Washington wondering why President Bush doesn't just cut the ground out from under his political opponents by reminding the American people in a televised speech exactly what kinds of WMDs and potential WMDs were found in Iraq.