Tony Blair has said Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction “may never be found”.
Mr Blair said he had “to accept we haven’t found them and we may never find them”. Mr Blair seems awfully slow coming to this conclusion; many of us believed this to be the case when Hans Blix reported on 7th March 03 that “Iraq has carried out a substantial measure of disarmament” and showed little evidence of any ongoing weapons programmes.
Investigations in both the UK and US would appear to place the blame for this debacle on the intelligence services. You have to ask why the White House and Downing Street took this bad intelligence, which looked flaky even to the layman, over the reports coming from the UN’s Chief Weapons Inspector. It seems clear that Bush and Blair wanted to portray Iraq as dangerous even when the best evidence shows it wasn’t. If you were looking for a country posing a danger to others North Korea is a far better candidate; it has an active nuclear programme and tested a missile by launching it over the top of Japan. North Korea has a decent Army though, and isn’t sitting on top of the world’s second largest oil reserves.
Our two leaders pointed our that Saddam was a bad man who had killed and tortured his own people and that Iraqis would be better off without him. True enough, though there are several situations that appear more urgent in Africa where hundreds of thousands die in military action, from starvation or preventable disease. If we were really serious about protecting people from their genocidal or incompetent governments we would have reformed the UN Security council to take on the task. Instead we broke with the worldwide institution leaving behind any hope of a international form of justice and acted like vigilantes. We could do it because the US was powerful enough to do it and no-one else is powerful enough to stop them. Of course breaking with international law on invading Iraq wasn’t the end of it, we now know the Americans didn’t like the Geneva Conventions either and broke those as well.
Finally they tried to claim that Iraq was a hotbed of terrorism and in bed with al-Qaeda. Nothing was further from the truth as Saddam and Osama bin Laden had very different ideas on Islam. With 15 of the 19 Sept 11th hijackers, as well as Osama bin Laden himself, being Saudi why has it not been invaded as a hotbed of terrorism??
So Iraq wasn’t a danger to us, Saddam was bad for his people but probably wasn’t the worst in the world and other places were a better breeding ground for terrorism. All the reasons given for the war fail to stand up to examination yet we went ahead regardless. It means that the US & UK governments were either grossly incompetent or they lied to us, having other undisclosed reasons for the invasion. Despite the only options being poor judgement or deceit neither Bush or Blair feel this is a sufficient reason to resign or even apologise.
Both the US and UK government bodies that should hold the head of government in check failed badly to even question the evidence placed in from of them. The UK House of Commons should be ashamed for the lack of rigour the evidence against Iraq was examined. The Tories failed completely to act as an opposition should in getting a government to justify itself, Labour’s MPs were still too star-struck by Tony to live up to their principles (Robin Cook the obvious exception), leaving just the Lib Dems to put up a wishy washy opposition (I saw Charles Kennedy’s speech in Hyde Park and it was fairly lame).
Americans: eject Bush from the White House this November. As I recall from the last election he probably shouldn’t have been there for the last few years either.
Britons: make it clear to the Labour Party that Tony Blair post Iraq is a liability to the party and could cost them the election. Get Tony replaced by someone else and get Robin Cook back in the cabinet.
The World: patch up the UN and fix its failings. We need a source of international justice that is recognised worldwide and that will be able to stand up to the US if needed. Buy Russian Vodka, French wine and German cars; reward the countries that stood up against the world’s biggest bully.