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BUSH ENDS WMD HOPE.

Byline: TOM PARRY

GEORGE Bush yesterday all but abandoned hope of finding Saddam Hussein's WMD - and spoke only of "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities".

In his State of the Union speech, he said: "Some in this chamber, and in our country, did not support the liberation of Iraq. Objections to war often come from principled motives.

"But let us be candid about the consequences of leaving Saddam Hussein in power. Already, the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed.

"Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction program would continue to this day."

Mr Bush used the speech to outline his plans for domestic issues such as health care, drug abuse and tax cuts as he laid the ground for the presidential election in November.

But his "rhetoric" on Iraq was cited by Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy yesterday as reason enough for an independent inquiry into why we went to war with Iraq.

He said: "We began on the issue of weapons of mass destruction. The Prime Minister then moved to the finding of weapons of mass destruction programmes.

"And last night the President speaks of the search for 'weapons of mass destruction-related program activities'." But Mr Blair said the Iraq Survey Group was still searching for WMD. "There can be no doubt at all that those weapons existed," he said.

Voice of the Mirror: Page 6

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SMILES: Bush begins his speech to Congress yesterday
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 22, 2004
Words:254
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