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News | Dec. 1, 2004

Eliminating Adversary WMD: What's at Stake?

By Rebecca K.C. Hersman CSWMD Occasional Paper 1

The failure to find substantial evidence of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons in Iraq has exposed serious weaknesses in the U.S. understanding of the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threat posed by its adversaries as well as in its ability to deal effectively with these threats. A rancorous and highly politicized debate, primarily about the intelligence assessments of Iraqi WMD capabilities before Operation Iraqi Freedom, has dominated national discussion for months. Unfortunately, the current preoccupation with intelligence might mask other issues and shortcomings in the American ability to eliminate the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction in the hands of its enemies.