Tuesday, March 21, 2006
AP: Saddam tried to show no WMD
By CHARLES J. HANLEY, AP Special Correspondent -- Tuesday, 21 minutes ago
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Exasperated, besieged by global pressure,and top aides searched for ways in the 1990s to prove to the world they'd given up banned weapons.
"We don't have anything hidden!" the frustrated Iraqi president interjected at one meeting, transcripts show.
At another, in 1996, Saddam wondered whether U.N. inspectors would "roamfor 50 years" in a pointless hunt for weapons of mass destruction. "When is this going to end?" he asked.
It ended in 2004, when U.S. experts, after an exhaustive investigation, confirmed what the men in those meetings were saying: that Iraq had eliminated its weapons of mass destruction long ago, a finding that discredited the Bush administration's stated rationale for invading Iraq in 2003 to locate WMD.
The newly released documents are among U.S. government translations of audiotapes or Arabic-language transcripts from top-level Iraqi meetings dating from about 1996-97 back to the period soon after the 1991, when the sent inspectors to disarm Iraq.
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