BAGHDAD, Iraq – The United States is increasing its radio appeals for Iraqis involved in weapons of mass destruction programs (search) to surrender for trial, offering leniency for those who cooperate.
On Sunday, an AM radio station in Baghdad operated by U.S. Army's Psychological Operations (search) personnel broadcast an appeal to Iraq's former weapons scientists to give up.
"It's time to leave your hideouts," an announcer said in Arabic. "If you come voluntarily and give information about weapons of mass destruction and their launch vehicles, the United States will do its best to give you a just trial in accordance with the law."
Nearly three months of searching have turned up no Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and pressure is mounting on President Bush to explain the failure.
Last week, U.S. military units assigned to track down the banned weapons appeared to slow their search — with some assigned to other duties — as some officials said they had run out of places to look. A Pentagon intelligence team is coming in to take over the effort, relying more on leads from interviews and documents.
Saddam Hussein's alleged caches of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons were the main justification offered by the United States to go to war.
The Army Psyop broadcasts are aimed at helping the effort to find more candidates to interview. The station, which is called Information Radio (search) and is operated from a portable radio transmitter, has broadcast similar appeals since April.
In the past two weeks, the station has increased its appeals — broadcasting them multiple times daily.
"If you choose to cooperate today, you'll get tolerance and mercy for what you've done. If you refuse to cooperate today, you'll be arrested later," the announcer repeats.