Final report: no WMDs

When the United States invaded Iraq last year to disarm Saddam Hussein’s regime, there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or any facilities to build them, according to a definitive report released Wednesday.

The 1,000-page report by chief weapons searcher Charles Duelfer, a document that President Bush said would represent the last word on the issue, confirms earlier findings and undermines much of the Bush administration’s case about the Iraq weapons threat, though it does say Saddam intended to restart his weapons programs once United Nations sanctions were lifted.

Story here. As August notes, this probably isn’t what Bush was hoping for last June:

Q Mr. President, a year ago in Evian, there was an expectation that in the ensuing months, weapons such as chemical or biological weapons, would be found in Iraq. I wonder if you can share with the American people your conclusions, based on what you’ve learned over the past 15 months, sir, as to whether those weapons were — existed and they were hidden, were they destroyed, were they somehow spirited out of the country, or perhaps they weren’t there before the war, and whether you had a chance to share this with your G8 partners.

THE PRESIDENT: Right, no — Bob, it’s a good question. I don’t know — I haven’t reached a final conclusion yet because the inspectors — inspection teams aren’t back yet. I do know that Saddam Hussein had the capacity to make weapons. I do know he’s a dangerous person. I know he used weapons against his own people and against the neighborhood. But we’ll wait until Charlie gets back with the final report, and then I’ll be glad to report.

And the really convenient thing is, there’s a major debate tomorrow night, at which Bush can gladly report that he was wrong, wrong, wrong.