So the hunt is finally over, and the verdict? Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction, and no capability to produce them. The Iraq Survey Group have requested that the US free the Iraqi scientists in their custody, including the two women (Rihab Taha or "Dr Germ" and Huda Amash or "Mrs Anthrax") whose release was demanded by the group who executed K Biggley.
Donald Rumsfeld has supposedly approved the release of some scientists last year, but the interim Government has kept them in custody.
Mr Bush admitted yesterday "I felt like we'd find weapons of mass destruction, or like many many here in the United States, many around the world, the United Nations, thought he had weapons of mass destruction." (No - you told us that they did, many of us did not believe you).
So was the cost (heavy civilian and military losses and billions of dollars/pounds from US and UK taxpayers) worth it? According to Bush..."Oh, absolutely."
So what did we get for this expense? Democracy?
Ayad Allawi, the Iraqi Prime Minister, has admitted that officials from his political alliance paid journalists for attending a meeting hosted by a cleric who is his ally. Sealed envelopes containing $100 notes (£53) were handed over in a move reminiscent of Saddam's information ministry. A spokesman claimed "It was done by one person acting as an individual. This person is not a decision-maker and action has been taken." Unfortunately, they have declined to advise who authorised the payments, or what action was taken when it was discovered. $100 is more than half a reporter's monthly salary.
The Iraqi government has expelled the (independent) al-Jazeera TV station because they do not give a pro-western slant to their reporting. There is nothing like a free press to protect democracy - and in Iraq, there is nothing like a free press!
The first report from Falluja (by Iraqi doctor, Ali Fadhil) confirmed that most of the 35,000 (Sunni) inhabitants of Falluja have lost their homes and will not be getting ballot papers for the upcoming election.
After the destruction of Falluja, the US used the National Guard to search ruined houses. Most of the volunteers for the National Guard are poverty stricken Shias, now seen by the Fallujans as US stooges. The situation is ripe for civil war.
Many of the major political groups and politicians (including the Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr) are boycotting the elections that they claim are illegitimate due to the continuing occupation.
US ground forces commander and US-installed Prime Minister Ayad Allawi admit that almost half of the population will not be able to vote as it is too dangerous. General Mohamed Abdullah Shahwani estimates there are some 200,000 "insurgents" in Iraq. However, Blair recently described Iraq as "relatively stable" but admitted "In the key area around Baghdad there is no doubt about it at all, we have got to deal these people a blow."
There will be no impartial observers to prevent the press-ganging of Iraqi´s, and there are already reports of the purchasing of ballots. The US military have advised they will adopt a "low-key approach on election day in order not to present obvious targets" leaving, the (pitifully tiny) Iraqi police to protect queues at polling stations.
The Pentagon has already raised the spectre of the "Salvador option" (the use of paramilitary death squads to wage a dirty war against the guerrillas). The interim government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is said to have given the proposal strong backing.