LONDON – No stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction will be found in Iraq, and coalition leaders were wrong in their assessment of Saddam Hussein’s arsenal, the former chief U.S. weapons inspector said Saturday. David Kay’s comments came a day after Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared to suggest that the Iraq Survey Group may cite evidence of such weapons when it gives its next report.
“We know Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He used them,” Blair said Friday. “What we know also is that we haven’t yet found them.” He then pointed out that the Iraq Survey Group was due to report in a few months.
Ridding Iraq of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons was the main justification Blair gave for going to war last year. But the prime minister’s staunch support for the U.S.-led invasion has proved deeply unpopular in Britain.
Kay, who resigned from the CIA (news – web sites) in January after searches failed to turn up weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, dismissed any suggestion that such arms could be found.
“Anyone out there holding — as I gather Prime Minister Blair has recently said — the prospect that ISG is going to unmask actual weapons of mass destruction are really delusional,” Kay told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.
“There is nothing there. There is a program there. There was an intention of Saddam Hussein at some point to reconstitute it.
“There were clearly illegal activities, clear violations of UN Security Council resolutions,” he said. “There are not actual stockpiles of newly produced weapons of mass destruction.”
Kay criticized the reluctance of coalition leaders to admit that their assessment of Saddam’s weapons arsenal was, as he believes, incorrect.
“The problem is the unwillingness to take the responsibility of saying a few simple words — we were wrong,” he said.
“We simply got it wrong. There were actually no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq was a dangerous country, Saddam was an evil man and we are better off without him and all of that. … But we were wrong in our estimation.”