50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile “biological laboratories.” He declared, “We have found the weapons of mass destruction.”
The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.
A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq – not made public until now – had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president’s statement.
Back when the number of dead Coalition soldiers was only 208, and thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children were still alive.
The story of the mobile biological weapons' labs came from a 'delusional' alcoholic Iraqi exile, self-proclaimed chemical engineer, code name Curveball, the cousin of an aide to Ahmed Chalabi. Curveball had been discredited years earlier, before the start of the war in March '03, before 9/11/01, before even Bush got into the White House. However,
...[the story] was central to an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate that concluded Iraq 'has' biological weapons, and was widely used by President Bush and Dick Cheney to make their case for war.
It now appears there were problems with Curveball from the start, but the intelligence community was willing to believe him 'because the tales he told were consistent with what they already believed.'
In May 2000 doubts about his credibility surfaced when he was examined for signs that he had been exposed to biological agents. While the results were inconclusive, a US official was surprised to find Curveball had a hangover and said he 'might be an alcoholic.' By early 2001, the Germans were having doubts of their own, telling the CIA their spy was 'out of control'.
But warnings were dismissed. Intelligence analysts who voiced concern were 'forced to leave' the unit mainly responsible for analysing his claims, the commission found. At every turn analysts were blocked by spy chiefs and their warning never passed on to policy-makers.
In the aftermath of the US-led invasion, Iraqis whom Curveball claimed were co-workers in Saddam's alleged biological weapons programme did not know who he was. He claimed he'd witnessed a deadly biological weapons accident when he was not even in Iraq when it was meant to have happened. After September 2001, his claims were given greater credibility despite the fact that he was not in Iraq at the time he claimed to have taken part in illicit weapons work.
Because Bush was determined to invade Iraq, and there was nothing to justify an illegal, preemptive war.
Impeachment is the least of Bush's worries; this is a war crime.