Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Monday, April 28, 2003
US Plans to Triple Personnel in Hunt of Iraqi Weapons
Concerned about the failure tofind weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Bush administration is moving to triple the size of the team searching for such weapons in hope to speed up the process, The New York Times reported Sunday.
Concerned about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Bush administration is moving to triple the size of the team searching for such weapons in hope to speed up the process, The New York Times reported Sunday.
Even as some US officials are losing hope of finding actual weapons, the administration publicly insist that evidence of unconventional weapons, as opposed to the weapons themselves, will accumulate in the coming weeks and months, though perhaps slowly.
To step up the pace, about 1,000 military and scientific personnel will be added in the coming weeks to the team in a bid to interview Iraqis who may have knowledge of Iraqi weapons programs and look for evidence, the newspaper quoted a military official as saying.
Only 500 are doing the job now, with perhaps 150 actually searching and the rest providing backup and support.
"A fairly robust organization is going over there (in Iraq)," a US military official said. "It will also look for evidence of war crimes, terrorism connections, missing POWs -- anything it can find that will help get to the weapons of mass destruction."
Administration officials and experts say that evidence of Iraq's illegal weapons programs will most likely consist of items like empty shells for chemical or biological weapons, labs that could be used to make arms and so-called precursor chemicals that could also be used for fertilizers, pesticides and the like.
The United States has been accusing Iraq of possessing weapons of mass destruction and used the allegation as the major pretext for waging the Iraq war.
As hopes to find such weapons begin to dwindle, the US government now floats the possibility that Baghdad might have destroyed the weapons prior to the war or moved them out of the country.