Last week, the administration's top weapons inspector in Iraq, Charles Duelfer, reported that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction. The Iraq Survey Group's 1,000-page report concludes that after Iraq's defeat in the 1991 Gulf War, the country's chemical and biological weapons programs were destroyed. Saddam Hussein also ended his nuclear program that year and the report found no evidence of efforts to restart it. Newspapers around the country are chiming in with their commentary on the report's conclusions.

Providence, RI — Providence Journal
"The Missing WMD"
October 8, 2004

"The nation needs to hear the administration explain as fully and frankly as possible how its interpretations of intelligence information led it to erroneously assert with such force just before the invasion that Iraq had stockpiles of WMD then.

"Did high officials, especially the president, ask tough enough questions about the intelligence? Were they too swayed by ideology to coolly evaluate the available facts? Did they knowingly exaggerate estimates of Iraqi WMD capabilities? Did they make too many decisions not founded on information from spies on the ground in Iraq?"

Cleveland, Ohio — The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"No Near-Term Threat"
October 8, 2004

"The CIA's lengthy search for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction has ended, finally, with an admission that there were none to find… That conclusion long has been evident. Now, it's official.

"What also should be official is an acknowledgement from the White House that the Iraq war was launched on mistaken premises and in near total ignorance of what really was happening inside Iraq."

Charlotte, N.c= — News and Observer
"About Those WMDs"
October 8, 2004

"The conclusion that Iraq did not have stockpiles of illegal weapons is inescapable. An admission of error is in order.

"Duelfer's exhaustive report demands a forthright response from President Bush and his administration… It would take strength to admit, first to the American public and then to the world community, that the case for enforcing the resolutions was built on erroneous information."

Minneapolis, Minn. — The Star-Tribune
"The Next Iraq"
October 8, 2004

"President Bush repeatedly has said he wasn't going to take the word of a madman when the security of the nation was at risk. But it wasn't the word of Saddam that mattered; it was the word of Hans Blix and of the inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency. It was also the worries of America's traditional friends in the world, who listened to Blix and who rejected the Bush administration's case for war."

Milwaukee, Wis. — Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
"Stop Intelligence Blunders"
October 7, 2004

"The final report of the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, released Wednesday, does two things. First, it removes any semblance of the Bush administration's rationale for having gone to war in Iraq. Second, it removes any doubt about the need to overhaul this country's intelligence community.

"If Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction or indeed any plans to revive a weapons program, and if he had no collaborative relationship with al-Qaida, then any threat he might have posed to this country was hardly imminent. This simply demolishes the administration's argument that a pre-emptive attack was needed."

Las Vegas, Nev. — Las Vegas Sun
"Yet Another Blow to War's Justification"
October 8, 2004

"An inquiry is under way to determine how the U.S. intelligence services could have provided Bush with so much faulty speculation about Iraq. We believe the American people should begin another line of inquiry: Why was Bush so inclined to believe the intelligence services when there was no proof of anything they were saying?"

Louisville, Ky. — The Courier-Journal
"No 'gathering threat'"
October 8, 2004

"The comprehensive report on Iraq's arsenal of illicit weapons, conducted by an American inspector chosen by President Bush, clinches what should now be obvious to anyone with a decent regard for truth and integrity: The President's case for war stands totally discredited. Sanctions and weapons inspections had worked. The 'gathering threat' evoked by the President did not exist. The war was unnecessary.

"But the report offers little support for urgent action. It concludes that Iraq would have required at least a year to make chemical weapons and much longer to build a nuclear bomb, and had lost interest in biological agents. Moreover, Saddam's main desire for such weapons was to deter Iran. Put simply, there was no peril requiring immediate, pre-emptive military action."

Cincinnati, Ohio — Cincinnati Post
"Weapons That Weren't"
October 8, 2004

"It bears noting that Bush, in his remarks Thursday, suggested that he was relying on what 'our intelligence' was reporting. But the buck stops at his desk. And the overriding fact is that the Bush administration was wrong. Saddam Hussein never had the weapons of mass destruction that Bush said he had."

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