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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 October, 2004, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Will WMD report make a difference?
Chief US weapons inspector Charles Duelfer who heads the ISG
No chemical, biological or nuclear banned weapons have been found in post-war Iraq, according to inspectors from the American-led Iraq Survey Group.

The findings have further intensified the debate about the justification for going to war with Iraq.

The official US report suggested however that Saddam Hussein intended to resume production of banned weapons when he could.

This report comes after US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also cast doubt on whether there was ever a connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

What are your views on the report's findings? Did Iraq pose a threat? Or was was the US and its allies wrong to go to war?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your e-mails. The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received:

This topic was suggested by Cesar Fabunan, Philippines:
I would like a discussion on what people think about the Iraq Survey Group's Report

This report does not tell us anything we did not know before. At no time was there clear evidence that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs and/or he worked with al-Qaeda. The only difference it makes is that these statements are now "official". Conclusion: To invade Iraq was never justified.
Judith, USA

Clearly - even Blair has admitted - Saddam was no threat to us. When the wolf really does turn up, it'll be that much harder to convince the public. Shame on you Tony, for desecrating your office.
Mike Page, Folkestone

Maybe not in the short term but it is yet another finding that will lead to history judging Bush and Blair as the dangerous and corrupt leaders of our time. People will look back on this period and wonder why on earth they were allowed to get away with so much.
Joon Flowers, Middlesex

Why would the Iraq Survey Group - specialists looking for facts on nuclear, biological or chemical weapons - sex up their report with Saddam's oil corruption or resort to make guesses about his future intentions? Both comments are clearly beyond their remit. Whatever the reason, I am sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the imminent elections in the US and UK!
Stuart , London, UK

Blair and Bush lied and started a war needlessly, and are responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people. This is a fact, and they should be brought to justice for the sake of their own countries' citizens and the future of democracy. Then perhaps we can begin to repair some of the damage done by this tragic campaign.
Paul Amery, London, UK

The war has been a waste of human life and resources
Tim, Lagos, Nigeria
I am astonished that there are still people in the USA who believe that Saddam had links to Osama bin Laden or that WMDs existed in Iraq. The war has been a waste of human life and resources. The real battle against terrorism has been sidelined by this senseless invasion of a sovereign Iraq that posed no threat to the USA.
Tim, Lagos, Nigeria

If there is no evidence of wmd then the international tribunal should look into the deaths of innocent Iraqi citizens
Ekata John Ade

Saddam´s twisting of the truth to make it look like he still had WMD and his un cooperation with the UN, forced the governments of the free and accountable world to the decision it made. I agree with the leaders of the free world, the decision still, was the correct one and I believe history will prove the correct decision to help bring this region out of darkness.
John Karran, Merseyside, UK

I support the war, I do not think that it matters whether or not their is a connection between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda. We have Saddam Hussein who is an evil man, one less terrorist to worry about.

After exhausting all options from imminent ( 45 minutes ) threat to weapons program capabilities, Bush and Bliar have still one more spin up their sleeve. After all, is it not that airplanes were used as WMD on 9/11? So declare air planes as WMDs and say Saddam possessed them. Oh! have I forgotten the " no fly zone ". Thank God. Now a second pre emptive war in the modern world, I hope, is made some what difficult
Raman V.R, Hyderabad, India

The argument that the war was right because of what may have been Saddam's intentions is a weak one
M Harhara, Croydon, UK
We had no evidence that Saddam had WMDs or any other banned weapons. Tony Blair and George Bush used this premise as their war showcase. It has been proved that no such weapons existed. Therefore, we went to war on a falsehood and many people have been and are being killed as a result of it. Tony Blair and George Bush should be removed from office. The argument that the war was right because of what may have been Saddam's intentions is a weak one and would not have won support for the war had it been used as a premise for it.
M Harhara, Croydon, UK

I am proud that the weapons inspectors have been brave enough to state the truth in blunt, unequivocal terms.
Heather, Stockport, UK
I am proud that the weapons inspectors have been brave enough to state the truth in blunt, unequivocal terms. Their evidence confirms that Britain and the UK were taken to war under false pretences; the intelligence was wrong, there were no WMD. I just wish someone in power would admit that, reassure us they won't make that mistake again, and get on with rebuilding Iraq rather than continuing to fuel an Israel/Palestine style conflict between the occupying forces and militant groups.
Heather, Stockport, UK

The real reasons for going to war in Iraq will never surface. Blaming WMDs, or links to Al-Qaeda are merely convenient and more so acceptable excuses under Bush's 'global' war on terror. This 'war' needs a 'real' target- Bush, the global terrorist!
Matt, Leeds

Tony Blair's address to the nation told me that the UK was in imminent danger of WMD attack unless we invaded Iraq. Nothing discovered about Iraq since then excuses the fact that we were utterly misinformed. If that was ok then we might as well invade Sweden on the spurious grounds of haggis torture and hope to justify it later by the discovery of an e-mail about world domination.
Nigel Perry, Bristol UK

Robin Cook is dangerously wrong when he says "No capability or Programmes" - the report clearly shows that Hussein had every intention and had started a programme to develop them. 6 months to 1 year later and we would have faced more genocide by WMD by Hussein and people would be asking why we hadn't gone in before. Robin Cook needs to think about what he says before trying to get attention.
Rick, UK

All this report demonstrates is that containment was working and war was unnecessary
Iain, Cambridge, UK

We now know all about Saddam's "capabilities and intentions". His capabilities were negligible and his intentions were lunatic and unfulfillable. All this report demonstrates is that containment was working and war was unnecessary.
Iain, Cambridge, UK

The report's findings reiterate what the Hans Blix and his team were reporting before the war began. Mr. Blix was treated appallingly by both the US and the UK administrations. It was and is clear that Iraq did not pose an imminent threat to the UK or the US. The war was unjustified and quite possibly illegal under international law.
Brian, Edinburgh

As a result of this report people will once again state that we went to war on false pretences. However, let's not forget that Saddam was responsible for an eight year war with Iran. He also invaded Kuwait and gassed his own people. These actions alone resulted in the loss of thousands of lives. Therefore I ask the question! Is the world a safer place without Saddam? In my opinion yes.
James D , Birmingham, UK

Encourage politicians to commit to solving this problem rather than just criticising and defending the past
Pete, Birmingham UK
Right or wrong (and there's some of both in this argument), there's no point crying over spilt milk. What we (that includes the media and the BBC) need to focus our politicians and other governments on now is getting Iraq back to 'normal' by clearing out the extremists. Stop carping and do something positive! Encourage politicians to commit to solving this problem rather than just criticising and defending the past.
Pete, Birmingham UK

The coalition's invasion of Iraq has led many people to view the UN as a weak body. As more of these verbal comments are made, we will realise that we should have backed the UN from the beginning when it refused to support US claims about WMD and Iraq's supposed links to al-Qaeda.
Yazeed, Cape Town

Those who believe that it does not matter why the current administration told us we were going to war and that Iraq and the US are better off without Saddam completely miss the point. If that is the case we should be bombing several dozen other countries that are run by "bad men" and horrible dictators. The US needs to learn to keep its nose out of every other countries business. In fact, the US does business with many countries that are run by horrible dictators.
Daniel, San Francisco, USA

After the lies of the WMDs in Iraq, the American government attempts to use another line by linking between Saddam and Al-Qaeda to justify its illegal and immoral invasion to Iraq.
Natalie Maamari, Tripoli, Lebanon

If it is correct that Saddam was intent on rebuilding his armoury, then it was right and proper for him to be deposed; we know for certain he would have used WMD as he has used them before. However, whether it was the US and UK's responsibility to take him down is a moot point. The most deplorable aspect of this whole war, in my view, is the American attitude of 'he who holds the biggest stick makes the rules'.
Rob, London, UK

If Saddam had cooperated with the UN, it would have never happened
Larry Cotton, Houston USA
Saddam would never surrender unless forced to by invasion. At the time of war, everyone thought he had WMD. He is crazy enough to use them again on anyone. He surprised us. It's his fault for getting invaded. If Saddam had cooperated with the UN, it would have never happened. He's not too smart.
Larry Cotton, Houston USA

Saddam Hussein may be guilty of a number of dreadful things, but thought crime - is this a new legal precedent Bush and Blair are attempting to introduce? If this is allowed to stand Big Brothers Bush and Blair will be watching you ... as if they are not already.
Cameron Haig, New York

What's done is done I suggest we stop blaming people and start working out how we can fix the damage that has been done. The media's obsession needs to refocus on how the respective governments intend to fix the damage they have done.
Alan James, UK

The phrase " told you so" comes to mind
Rhyannon, Bristol, UK
The phrase - told you so - comes to mind, I attended the anti-war marches because I knew that Bush & Blair were exaggerating the truth and trying to pull us into an illegal war. The Iraqi people may have political freedom but what is that worth when they live in daily fear for their lives and their children are being blown up by car bombs.
Rhyannon, Bristol, UK

The link between Saddam and Osama is that they are both very evil men. Can we get a few facts right. Saddam was a tyrant and a murderer. If he could sponsor Osama he would have, we know full well he gave money to the suicide bombers families in Palestine. Also, the US did not go to war over oil. How much oil was in Bosnia when Britain and the US rescued hundreds of thousands of Muslims from possible slaughter? - None! Iraq in the long run will heal, just as Germany and Japan did in the 2nd World Wars.
Chris H, London

Firstly, it's hard to misunderstand a perfectly simple sentence: "To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two (Bin Laden and Saddam)." Seems very straightforward to me. Secondly, without, of course, suggesting any impropriety, does anyone know what the current holding of Dick Cheney (and Rumsfeld?) is in Halliburton Oil and does anyone else know quite how much money they have made from their operations in Iraq? Should anyone in Texas be reading this I am quite easily persuaded that Halliburton is a very noble, charitable organisation who find themselves sat on billions of dollars entirely by accident.
Ashley M, London

If Bush gets re-elected, Rumsfeld will be out of a job
Alan, Washington DC, USA
No one here in Washington is happy with the job Rumsfeld is doing. I predict if Bush gets re-elected, Rumsfeld will be out of a job.
Alan, Washington DC, USA

After the prison abuse stories, I'm very surprised that this man still has a job and continues to command attention from the world press.

His admission should hardly be a surprise and will not change things. Those voting for Bush have selective hearing and reasoning.
Caroline, USA

Lately US politics feel a bit like a Liars Anonymous meeting, where everyone confesses to being a liar, so that the rest of the group may embrace them and help them to overcome their addiction. The question now is: Addiction to what? Power? Megalomania? Oil? .. The list is extremely long ...
Mir, Eindhoven, Netherlands

The only link that existed to justify the Iraq's war was between GW Bush and the petrol.
Jorge Sanz Garcia, Almazan Spain

It is unfortunate that these re-tractions have become commonplace with this administration.
Molly, Pacifica USA

Well; so what? The world, at this moment, is the playground of the Neo-Cons. We should not expect even an apology; only more of the same. And, don't forget folks, the world is a better place without Saddam; if you don't understand that, you are just another idiot like me....
Aristides Garcia, Amsterdam, Holland

There were never any links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. The administration has lied to us from the start. Rumsfeld should resign. Bush should be impeached.
Julie Carter, Scarborough, Maine

Flip Flop... so now we have Rumsfeld and Powell stating that there was no link. Cheney and Bush are still too stubborn to admit or too crooked and afraid for investigations leading to the personal benefits resulting from their practices. How obvious does it need to get before US citizens realize they have been used?
Rob, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Is that their way of saying 'sorry, we made a mistake'?
Raluca, Brit in the States

Don't apologise to us! Apologise to the dead and maimed service men, the Iraqis missing their loved ones
Matt, Amsterdam, Netherlands (ex UK)
"Regrettably misunderstood"? Don't apologise to us! Apologise to the dead and maimed service men, the Iraqis missing their loved ones and to all the future victims of the terrorists that you just helped create Mr Rumsfeld. The US administration has lied to its own people and sent the American sons and daughters to a pointless death. Why are we so surprised that the man who most helped arming Hussein, protected him over the chemical attacks of the Kurds and shook hands with Hussein, even as it was clear he was torturing his own people, suddenly turns out to be a liar?
Matt, Amsterdam, Netherlands (ex UK)

To quote John Kerry, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" What about the thousands of Iraqi citizens, men, women, and children who died for Mr Bush and Company's "mistake"?
Adele, Seattle USA

Of course it makes a difference why America went to war. In any case Saddam was no threat to anyone, try Osama bin Laden and a myriad other dictators all over the world. This war has destroyed Americas credibility and moral high ground.
A Gimei, Columbus, Oh, USA

Did anyone actually believe that there ever was a link? Say what you like about Saddam, but he was no friend of Bin Laden. I'm amazed to this day that anyone ever thought that there was any truth to this. Even our government knew they would be pushing it to try this on!
Dominic Tristram, Bath, UK

I quickly checked if Fox news features this item on their website, and it doesn't. It is very likely that the people to whom Rumsfeld's comment may make a difference, will never hear it.
Coretta, Bern, Switzerland

The famous photograph of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein shows that "links" and alliances are related to momentary needs. So whether or not there were secret or passing links between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, the Bush Administration seemed as if they were going to war no matter what. Rumsfeld is a master of words and a great persuader, but I think many people are really starting to wonder what actually went on behind the scenes at the White House.
Adam G, New York, USA

Rumsfeld's comments change nothing. There are people who simply don't want to believe that the US made a mistake, and those who don't believe there is an Iraq - al-Qaeda link already have plenty of evidence, like the bipartisan 9/11 Commission Report. It simply doesn't matter to the supporters of the Bush-Cheney team whether there was ever a link. If it did matter, Kerry would be up 15-20% in the polls, and not running neck-and-neck.
Anon, Los Angeles, USA

What you have here, again, is the mass media taking Rummy's comments out of context
Darryn, Chicago

Lots of you are foolishly making claims on the 9/11 Commission's report. In there, there are 66 pages detailing the links between al-Qaeda and Saddam. What you have here, again, is the mass media taking Rummy's comments out of context in effort to attack Bush. It's been stated that the media it is worth 15 poll points for the Democrats, more and more I'm forced to believe that number.
Darryn, Chicago

I do not believe there was any connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda. I think that based on all the information that is out there, that this is pretty clear. Rummy actually said something truthful for a change, and then had to back peddle. You can only lie for so long before you forget what you lied about.
Richard Michaelson, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Mr Rumsfeld's comments add one more nail into the Bush/Cheney "misleading America" coffin. Rumsfeld does not want to go down in history as ignorant of the true facts; wilfully oblivious yes, unknowingly ignorant, no.
Rene de P, Nel Air, MD

I don't care. There is no doubt in my mind that me, my family, my friends and everyone I know is better off with Saddam gone. Who cares if he was in cahoots with Bin Laden or not? He was a bad, bad man who wanted all of us killed.
Peter, California

It makes me understand that America and Britain went to Iraq for oil.
Faztudo Langisse, Maputo

Well, it doesn't take an Einstein to figure out why the USA started a war in Iraq
Jan, Berlin

Well, it doesn't take an Einstein to figure out why the USA started a war in Iraq, especially when there was no clear evidence of the connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, or any proof for the existence of nuclear weapons! I actually find Rumsfeld's statement rather provocative and pointless, at this point. Bush and his administration can only be characterised as not only incompetent but also quite dangerous individuals, who should actually resign for the sake of peace!
Jan, Berlin

It changes nothing. We suspected a long time ago that there was no connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and that Bush and Blair had taken their eyes off the real war in Afghanistan. We always suspected that Bush used September 11th as an excuse to settle old scores against Iraq.
Graham Rodhouse, Helmond, The Netherlands

It may well be that no direct connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda existed. However, who among us would be so naive as to think that Iraq was not involved in the matrix of terror stretching around the world?
Ross C Glen, San Francisco, USA

Personally, I find North Korea, Iran, and the nuclear armed Pakistan and India more of a threat than Saddam's Iraq. Why didn't out governments put more effort in solving those problems than 'dynamic group-thinking' the US in invading Iraq?
Miran, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

That Al Qaeda conspired with Saddam has even been debunked by the 9/11 commission! (A commission incidentally that Bush was pressured into having, and even then refused to testify under oath at.)
Frank S, UK

For once, Donald Rumsfeld has admitted what has always been the truth-the absence of an obvious link between Al Qaeda and Saddam. This undoubtedly erodes the basis of the attack on Iraq. We need a more plausible excuse for going to war.
Dr. William Ahadzie, Accra, Ghana

This just goes to show that the Bush Administration led the country into a war based solely on profits and not in the interest of American and World security. Sadly, half of the American electorate puts on their blinders to this information and still manages to want Bush for a second term.
Donovan, Austin

Michael Moore has been saying this for ages
Andy Bird, Cheshire, UK
Funny how the facts are catching up with the Bush administration, now election time looms. Michael Moore has been saying this for ages. How embarrassing!
Andy Bird, Cheshire, UK

Saddam's Iraq was fanatically secularist, which deplored any influence from religion, unless it was to further deify Saddam himself. This is at opposites with the likes of al-Qaeda which wants to setup an Islamic state, and considers Saddam as an enemy to that goal. The British public could not be convinced of this link, and so Blair did not pursue it. It is just a matter of the country's political maturity as to how far a politician can go before his claims become too outrageous to believe. Still, we have a way to go yet, we still got sucked in by the WMD claim.
Pete, UK

In my mind it finally proves US invasion in Iraq was based on wrong information. Shouldn't Bush now apologize to the world community? Or what?
Kazi Firoz, Kosice, Slovakia.

This alleged link was just one of the original falsifications and of course the concerned leaders were aware of the almost impossibility of Al Qaeda and Saddam style system working together at any level. They were simply fully opposing systems. The only truth in all the reasoning was that Saddam regime was a bad regime. However, Regime change is illegal under UN charter. Unfortunately lying does not seem to be.
Istvan Hunanui, Chisinau, Moldova

Is anyone else a little concerned that the man responsible for the largest military force in human history cannot make up his mind
Glenn Herbert, Matlock, UK
Is anyone else a little concerned that the man responsible for the largest military force in human history cannot make up his mind whether he had seen evidence that Saddam had terrorist links?
Glenn Herbert, Matlock, UK

No WMD, no links to al-Qaeda, no freedom for Iraqis, Iraq is on the brink of splitting into 3 parts, and yet another puppet government is propped up. But, the first priority when invading Iraq has always been securing the oilfields. Primary objective accomplished.
Hussam I, UK

Just how can someone "misunderstand" the statement - "had not seen any strong hard evidence that links the two.?" That cannot be spun in anyway that doesn't completely assume the pure stupidity of the listener.
Andrea McCormick, Harrisburg, USA

This just shows how efficient the intelligence machinery is in the US. Anybody with a little knowledge about the Middle East could have told you that Saddam Hussein had no ties with Bin Laden. This was what people have been saying for a long time and just now the Defence Secretary discovered it? It makes you wonder.
Mehrdad, Finland

How is it that Donald Rumsfeld even has a job in government anymore? After the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, shouldn't he be facing a military court as opposed to reporters questions? Rumsfeld had dealings with Hussein during the Reagan administration, and probably knows better than anyone the connection never existed.
Patrick Daly, Brooklyn, USA

Every thinking individual has questioned this link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. Quite frankly, many Americans have always thought this war was about oil, not terrorism, profits, not security. Some of us question if there was another reason besides 9/11 that we attacked Afghanistan since we so quickly transferred our attention elsewhere. I don't know how I as an American will stand the shame if this right-wing administration is re-elected.
Lisa Starrfield, Gregory, USA

This has now become a rule that the Bush administration's key personnel blurt out conflicting, contradicting comments from time to time. Confuse, deceive and mislead - these have been the three basic mantras of this corrupt administration right from the beginning.
Rakesh, London, UK

Donald Rumsfeld has a habit of blurting out the uncomfortable truth, and then he has to be put back 'on message', to use the vernacular. The fact is that all the official reasons for going to war with Iraq were based on falsehoods. The US went to war with Iraq in order to impose a puppet government in Baghdad that would enable the US to use the country as its major base in the Middle East, so that it could massively increase its influence and power in the region.
Paul F, London, UK

There was little or no terrorism in Iraq before the war. We have now ignited a fire that will burn for years, if not decades.
James Davey, Leeds, UK

Is that thunder I hear... or the Democrats waving flip-flops! John Kerry must be laughing all the way to the polls!
Valerie Hajir, Amman, Jordan

It is quite amusing to watch our glorious leaders both in the US and UK now back-pedalling from their previous convictions
Tony B, UK
Of course, Rumsfeld's own links with Saddam are well enough documented, as are George W Bush's links with the Bin Ladens! But really it is quite amusing to watch our glorious leaders both in the US and UK now back-pedalling from their previous convictions on Saddam and Osama, and on WMD, as if they had never held them in the first place, and had somehow been duped by their own intelligence services, rather than having taken the intelligence and milked it for all it was worth to try to justify a war fought for other reasons entirely.
Tony B, UK

I don't think it makes any difference if al-Qaeda had links to Iraq or not, the Iraqi people are free from the torment of Saddam Hussein, and the world is relieved of his threat.
Andy, Birmingham, UK

Iraq is similar to Vietnam, a knee jerk reaction. That time against communism, this time against Islamic terrorism. Both times they chose what they saw as an easy target, and both times they have regretted it. The regret isn't over yet though.
Chris, UK

Who's flip-flopping now?
Lee, Hebburn, England

It changes nothing as long as what existed before is the firm belief that we were taken to war with no justifiable reasons, no UN backing and no intelligence. As a result we have made the lives of 1000's of Iraqis more miserable and their homeland the battleground.
Jocelyn Godbold, Bristol, UK

I think we all know why the US went to war in Iraq and it certainly wasn't links to al-Qaeda, to find WMD or bring freedom to Iraqis.
Scott, Leeds, UK

Scott, I think we all (well at least two million of us) knew why we went to war. And we knew well before it happened too! I just find it hard to understand why our "leaders" credit us with such little intelligence.
Richard, UK

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