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  Why we went to war

US gives up on search to find reason for invading Iraq

The US has officially given up on its quest to find a legitimate reason for invading Iraq, the man in charge of it has said. Charles Duelfer, the head of the Iraq Survey Group, had been tasked with finding a new excuse for the war after previous ones fell through, but his search has been largely fruitless.

"We had hoped to find a good reason for invading Iraq somewhere, but we've been all over the place and there's no sign of anything," he admitted. "Some of the team hoped that Saddam might had hidden an extra-special one in his hole or one of his palaces or something, but it would appear not."

Previous excuses for attacking Iraq have included the suggestion that Saddam Hussein may have been behind the 9/11 attacks, which was quickly found to be so utterly ridiculous that it was put down as a bad joke, and the equally ludicrous idea that the country which, it transpires, had no heavy weapons and a generally inept army posed some kind of a threat to the US.

Obvious reasons for the invasion, such as the liberation of Iraq's oil supply or even the liberation of its people from a brutal tyrant that the US and Britain used to support, have been dismissed on the grounds of partial truth and wishful thinking respectively.

Mr Duelfer's team will now move on to a new search to prove that Saddam had the intention of doing something anything that could theoretically have provided an excuse for an invasion of some kind, one day, maybe.

On their way through Iraq the survey group did come across some interesting artefacts, including plentiful supplies of both sand and oil, a bear that "could quite possibly have defecated in a wooded area, had we not shot it and blown up the woods", and a mullah who turned out to be of Islamic origin. Alas, however, no weapons of mass destruction could be found.

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