Target Blair over dodgy dossier
SO the cat's out the bag... it was Tony Blair what done it, then blamed a wee
guy and ran away.
No matter how punctiliously Lord Butler has produced his report into the
substance, validity and gathering of the intelligence on Iraq's capability of
producing and using weapons of mass destruction, in between every line is the
unmistakable message: Tony Blair misled the House of Commons and the country.
It's been difficult to fathom the Prime Minister over the past few days. First,
he admits Saddam's WMD may never be found, then he says he's still convinced
going to war was the right thing to do.
Naturally for a king-emperor, he hasn't displayed remorse at having passed on
false information to the hoi-polloi and sent their sons and daughters to kill
and be killed in a country which turns out to have been incapable of the effort
needed to circumvent the restrictions and sanctions placed on the Hussein regime
by the international community.
A year and a half ago, before the deaths of an estimated 12,000 people, Hans
Blix, the United Nations weapons inspector, couldn't find any WMD. He pleaded
with Bush 'n' Blair for a few months more to discover the accurate state of
Lots of people couldn't understand why the good buddies refused to grant him the
time to definitively prove, or disprove, the existence of chemical, biological
or nuclear weapons.
But we ken noo. After the United States Senate Committee's inquiry into the
intelligence received by the President, we know, because Senator John
Rockefeller spelled it out, that while Hans Blix was criss-crossing Iraq in
pursuit of weapons long since destroyed or degraded, Bush was talking war-war
and Blair was going with the flow, scared to rock the big ship USA.
The Senator was unequivocal; even though the intelligence was not water-tight
the President had already decided to go to war.
Tony Blair just fell into line. Judicious pressure from the PM's office was
applied to John Scarlett, then the chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee, to
be a bit more adventurous and colourful than civil servants are normally when
writing a report for ministers.
He knew Tony Blair wanted justification for war, and he allowed the integrity
and objectivity of his job to be compromised when he deleted the advice from the
intelligence officers that Saddam would only use any WMD he possessed if
attacked. For this immoral and craven dissembling, John Scarlett should be asked
to resign from his new, promoted, position; head of MI6. But what of the person
whose influence corrupted the intelligence process?
What should we demand of the Prime Minister? If he continues to defend declaring
war on a country which intelligence reports on both sides of the Atlantic now
prove posed no immediate threat to the safety of the United States or UK, how
can we defend him from the charges levelled at all of us by a substantial slice
of Arab opinion, because of his behaviour?
Arabs who detested Saddam Hussein believe George Bush to be anti-Arab and
anti-Muslim. Unfortunately for our safety and peace of mind, they see Tony Blair
as his obedient servant.
This has made the world much less safe, as Bush 'n' Blair are seen as war
criminals by many in the Middle East who, although glad to see the back of
Saddam, are bitterly resentful of American/British imperialism and the thousands
of dead Iraqis who were given no choice in their fate. It will rub salt in the
wounds of peaceful Iraqis, and add to the number of recruits for suicide bomb
missions, if Tony Blair claims in the Commons debate that his actions have made
Iraq, and the world, safer (with the possible exception of Africa, of course,
but who's counting?).
So it falls to all of us, making use of all the means of communication now open
to us, to demand an apology from Tony Blair. If John Kerry, the Democratic
candidate for the American presidency, continues to pile the pressure on Bush,
and distance himself and his popular running mate John Edwards, from the
decision to go to war, it's quite likely that the part of the Senate Committee's
report blacked-out to spare Blair's blushes will be leaked.
George Bush, no doubt, will say Tony Blair didn't want, or mean, to mislead him
as to the threat from Saddam, that the British PM is a great guy, but that this
time, the intelligence on which his advice was based was wrong.
This might get Bush halfway off the hook in election year, but not a word of it
will be believed in the Middle East.
To support the people there calling for peace and patience, and to try to
deprive terrorists of recruits, it's in our interest to pressurise Tony Blair
into an admission of being wrong about WMD...and by implication, wrong about
Post by => Vox Populi Â©
Thursday, July 15, 2004.
British Intelligence on Iraq 'Seriously Flawed'
By Ed Johnson
The Associated Press LONDON -- Iraq had no usable chemical
or biological weapons before the war, and British
intelligence to the contrary relied in part on "seriously
flawed" or "unreliable" sources, an official inquiry
However, it absolved Prime Minister Tony Blair's
government and the intelligence agencies of "deliberate
distortion or culpable negligence."
Blair said he accepted the report's findings and
accepted personal responsibility for any errors made.
In a statement to the House of Commons, Blair
conceded that it was "increasingly clear" Saddam Hussein
had no stockpiles of illicit weapons on the eve of the war.
But he insisted the U.S.-led military campaign was not a
"I have to accept, as the months have passed, it
seems increasingly clear that at the time of invasion
Saddam did not have stockpiles of chemical or biological
weapons ready to deploy," Blair said.
But, he insisted, "I cannot honestly say I believe
getting rid of Saddam was a mistake at all. Iraq, the
region, the wider world is a better and safer place without
Former Cabinet Secretary Lord Butler's report,
echoing the findings of last week's U.S. Senate report,
said that Iraq "did not have significant, if any, stocks of
chemical or biological weapons in a state fit for
deployment or developed plans for using them."
The report said the government's claim in a September
2002 dossier that Hussein could use chemical and biological
weapons on 45 minutes' notice was potentially misleading
because it did not explain that it referred to battlefield
However, the report backed the government's claim
that it had intelligence that Iraq had sought uranium in
Africa, and that the claim was not based on forged
"Everyone genuinely tried to do their best in good
faith for the country in circumstances of acute difficulty.
That issue of good faith should now be at an end," Blair
The report said the September 2002 dossier prepared
by Blair's government on the Iraqi threat pushed the limits
of available intelligence.
"Language in the dossier may have left with readers
the impression that there was fuller and firmer
intelligence behind the judgments than was the case," the
"The clearest evidence that the British government
hadn't got an intention to mislead is that it would have
been a very foolish thing to do to say that these weapons
were there, when as a result of the war the fact that
whether they were or not was going to be established so
soon," Butler said at a news conference following the
release of his report.
Butler said there was a suspicion the 45-minute
detail, mentioned four times in the September 2002 dossier,
had been included in the dossier because it was
"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden.
It is our
number one priority and we will not rest until we find him."
~ George Bush Jr. 2001-09-13
"I don't know where he (bin Laden) is. I have no idea and I
really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our
priority." ~ George Bush Jr. 2002-03-13
"I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in
order to get a deferment. Not was I willing to go to Canada.
So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes."
~George W. Bush on how he dodged the