WMDs: THE HUNT IS OVER….Unless the Washington Post site has been hacked, this is stunning news. The army teams looking for WMD in Iraq have apparently given up:

Leaders of Task Force 75’s diverse staff — biologists, chemists, arms treaty enforcers, nuclear operators, computer and document experts, and special forces troops — arrived with high hopes of early success. They said they expected to find what Secretary of State Colin L. Powell described at the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 5 — hundreds of tons of biological and chemical agents, missiles and rockets to deliver the agents, and evidence of an ongoing program to build a nuclear bomb.

Scores of fruitless missions broke that confidence, many task force members said in interviews.

….The hunt will continue under a new Iraq Survey Group, which the Bush administration has said is a larger team. But the organizers are drawing down their weapons staffs for lack of work, and adding expertise for other missions.

….”Smoking gun” is now a term of dark irony here. Maj. Kenneth Deal, executive officer of one site survey team, called out the words in mock triumph when he found a page of Arabic text at a former Baath Party recreation center last week.

….In a climate-control room, chemical weapons filters and carbon dioxide scrubbers protected the air and an overpressure blast valve stood ready to vent the lethal shock waves of an explosion. And a decontamination shower stood under an alarm panel designed to flash the message “Gas-Gaz.”

“Is it evidence of weapons of mass destruction?” asked Deal. “No. It’s probably evidence of paranoia.”

It’s getting late and I don’t have time to comment on this extensively, but if this report is accurate it’s simply mind blowing. You really should read the entire thing.

More on this later, I’m sure. Much more.

UPDATE: I guess now we know why Rumsfeld told reporters the other day that the search teams probably wouldn’t find any WMD. He said it because he already knew it was true and was in the process of drawing down the MET teams. I really can’t wait to see how the Wurlitzer spins this tomorrow.