Former war correspondent Gregg Zoroya answers this reader question. Have a question of your own? Send it using #askusatoday. USA TODAY
We invaded the country less than two years after the Sept. 11 attacks amid accusations from the Bush administration of WMD. What did we find?
Remember the Bush administration’s response to 9/11?
On Sept. 8, 2002, just a year after the terrorist attacks on New York City, then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice told CNN: “We don’t want the smoking gun (of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction or WMD) to be a mushroom cloud.”
The nation was still raw — fertile ground for the Bush administration to make the case that weapons of mass destruction should never be allowed to fall into the hands of terrorists.
But were there actually WMDs in Iraq? And what was that country’s tie to the 9/11 attacks?
The plan then-President George W. Bush had was twofold: Argue that the government of dictator Saddam Hussein had ties with al-Qaeda terrorists, and that Saddam had chemical and possibly biological weapons, and the potential for developing a nuclear bomb.
That plan led to the invasion of Iraq. Now a reader wants to know: Whatever happened to those WMDs cited by Bush to justify the war?
I was in Baghdad in the weeks before the invasion and then during the military operations that followed as an embedded USA TODAY journalist with U.S. troops, who crossed from Kuwait into Iraq in March 2003. The conflict lasted nearly a decade and claimed the lives of more than 4,400 U.S. troops.
I share my experiences and what the troops did (and didn’t) find as they searched bunkers for potential weapons in this Ask USA TODAY video answer, above.
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