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EDITIONS
Breakfast Wednesday, 28 May, 2003, 05:15 GMT 06:15 UK
The search for Iraqi weapons
Breakfast reporter Jules Botfield in Hull
In Hull, many feel the war was ultimately justified
More than two months since the start of the Iraq war coalition forces in Iraq have yet to find any conclusive evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Getting rid of the WMDs - chemical, biological and possibly basic nuclear weapons - was one of the central aims of the war.

But so far, little evidence has been found for their existence. And now, the American Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is saying Iraq may have destroyed them all before the war began.

  • This morning, Breakfast looked at one of the war's unanswered questions: where are the Weapons of Mass Destruction? And, if there are no significant finds, was the war justified?

  • Jules Botfield reported for us from Hull. There, she found that many people accepted the war had been necessary, even if weapons of mass destruction were never found.


  • We crossed live to Baghdad, to find out when the weapons inspectors are due back in to the country.


  • We also talked to the British journalist Christopher Hitchens. He's just written a book, re-examining our attitudes to the Iraq war and President Bush.


  • We also asked for your views

    Shortly after the war began, The Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon gave this explanation of why no weapons had yet been found:

    "We've known that Saddam Hussein was making determined efforts to hide these weapons... It will take some time uncover them.

    "I don't believe it is sensible to put a timetable on that - ultimately it will depend on people coming forward who have knowledge of the whereabouts of those weapons of mass destruction."

    False alarms

    But weeks later nothing, and the promise of a smoking gun has yet to materialise although there have been false alarms.

    A few weeks ago "suspicious" artillery shells that tested positive for a chemical agent, were found in a school.

    In another incident chemical weapons experts found a possible storage site for such weapons near Hindiyah in central Iraq.

    The unidentified chemicals, found in 14 barrels at a military training site were suspected to include the nerve gas Saran.

    Lack of evidence

    Despite all these incidents there is still no undisputed evidence that Saddam was running a chemical/biological weapons programme.

    Earlier this week it was reported that US inspectors have concluded that suspect vehicles discovered inside Iraq are bio-weapons laboratories.

    The analysts have produced a report which calls the vehicles an 'ingeniously simple, self-contained bio processing system'.

    Inspectors

    Now, United Nations nuclear weapons inspectors are due to arrive back in Iraq, on their first visit since the US led invasion.

    But they won't resume their hunt for weapons of mass destruction, instead they'll investigate reports of looting from an Iraqi nuclear site.

    Tell us what you think

    E-mail us at breakfasttv@bbc.co.uk

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  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    Weapons of Mass Destruction
    Jules Botfield tests opinion in Hull
    Where are the weapons?
    The BBC's Caroline Hawley in Baghdad
    Regime change
    Journalist Christopher Hitchens explains why he supported the war against Saddam
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    21 May 03 | Politics

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