15 December, 2006

Blair and Saddam's WMD.

The Independent claims that Tony Blair's

...case for going to war in Iraq has been torn apart by the publication of previously suppressed evidence that Tony Blair lied over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

A devastating attack on Mr Blair's justification for military action by Carne Ross, Britain's key negotiator at the UN, has been kept under wraps until now because he was threatened with being charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.
The Independent publishes Mr Ross' formerly secret supplementary evidence to the Butler Inquiry. I can see nothing new in the evidence, just a lot of guff about legality and UN resolutions which is as totally irrelevant in 2006 as it was in 2002 and 2003.

Stifling the yawns, I will repeat what I have written before. There was a good case to be made for invading Iraq: a careful reading of Charles Duelfer's Iraq Survey Group Report reveals clearly that Iraq's WMD development programme was indeed a major threat to regional stability and western strategic interests. Further evidence to that effect is still coming to light. However, Blair chose not to make that particular case. Instead, mainly in order to keep the rabble on the Labour backbenches onside, he invented a story about an immediate (ie, 45 minutes) threat from Saddam's WMD. At the time, nobody with half a functional brain believed the claim but it was enough to stave off a potentially embarrassing left wing revolt in the House of Commons. The real story is what that tells us about the Labour left.

Edit: 19/12/06: In the interests of accuracy, I should add that it is highly likely that Alastair Campbell, Blair's press secretary, actually invented, or at least suggested to Blair, the 45 minute threat. However, Blair alone must take responsibility for what he said.

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