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Ten Years After Iraq Invasion, Who Shall Be Held Accountable?

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: PTSD, Iraq war, politics, news, military, obama, veterans, politics, usa )

- 1820 days ago -
The justification for war was false and the victims are endless, even extending to those dying today in Syria. A bitter look back from leading Moroccan daily Le Soir.

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Alexa R (319)
Friday March 22, 2013, 4:37 am
I quote: "Without the money and legitimacy, itís hard to get involved in another war, nevermind all the innocent victims. Too bad for Syria, it has no oil."


Alexa R (319)
Friday March 22, 2013, 4:47 am
I also quote: "once more a battleground between Shi'ites and Sunnis, but at least they have their oil back. Happily-ever-after ending? Not really, no."


This is the story for the whole of the 'Arab Spring' .. no surprises here .. Syria will not have a 'happily-ever-after ending' either, just like Iraq, Libya, Egypt, etc .. sadly .. in the meanwhile we have a whole Lost Generation of youths on our hands throughout ME ..


pam w (139)
Friday March 22, 2013, 9:27 am
It was about money and oil.

It was about ego and machismo.

It was about corruption in many countries and at many levels.

But--ALL wars have been about corruption, wealth and machismo.

. (0)
Friday March 22, 2013, 3:31 pm
The current bloody war in Syria is linked to the Bush administration?

Mike H (252)
Friday March 22, 2013, 3:48 pm
Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. Only the war profiteers have won.

Diane O (194)
Friday March 22, 2013, 4:06 pm
Update: Syria received Iraq's WMD's. After years of Saddam blocking inspections it comes to light that during that time they were mobilized and Syria was the recipient. George W. Bush knew this but remained quiet and now it is revealed.

George W. Bush is a saint next to Obama. The liberals crucified GWB and while they were doing it their own democrats voted to go into iraq. They had WMD's.

Case closed.

The people of Iraq were being raped, gassed, tortured, mutilated and murdered at the hand of a manic dictator and the US went in and got rid of him. There is proof of massive graves where Saddam Hussein killed his own people simply because they didn't agree with him.

The US made a huge difference in Iraq. They elevated the status of women with the ability to vote and brought some semblance of democracy to this country. Now that the US pulled out "too early" IMO the corruption/terrorists are infiltrating Iraq once again. Obama is not smart. He is a political robot. Obama's visit to Israel is a good he know how Israel, Palestine and Jordan feel about him....and it's not good.

This is what happens when you elect an anti American incompetent to the highest office in our country. We have four more years of Obama....the teleprompter reader who feels that America should be put in her place.

Sad that we have to put up with four more years of this clown.


Diane O (194)
Friday March 22, 2013, 4:08 pm
typo: "now he knows how Israel....."

Sheila D (28)
Friday March 22, 2013, 4:13 pm
Thanks for the article.

lee e (114)
Friday March 22, 2013, 4:23 pm
Poor deluded D.O (should I add an H?) What a sad reminder that the education problem of America - included people of (nearly) my generation! We know all too well the fact that Faux noise produces such "misfits" and humanoids that perpetuate the very worst of (oops - I almost said American values) human values - that most of the world would assume to be ethical!
To call the worst president who should be/have been brought to a war crimes trial by now to our current President is an insult to our ethical culture - and thus devoid of any sense of citizenship whatsoever!
This country was taken over by "domestic terrorists" when bush the twig and his co-hort cheney the pig came to power and decided to ridicule every aspect of integrity the country once had - by preempting a war and introducing torure as a policy in OUR NAME -- so fellow torturer -- I renounce every iota of nonsensical - demonic logic that you come by your abhorrent conclusions!

Diane O (194)
Friday March 22, 2013, 4:34 pm
You need to brush up on your current news.

Diane O (194)
Friday March 22, 2013, 5:07 pm
History will be very good to George W. Bush. Obama, IMO, will be noted as the most disrespected out going president in the history of our country.

Diane O (194)
Friday March 22, 2013, 5:10 pm
When you elect an inexperienced person to the highest office in our country who then surrounds himself with Chicago trained politicians, tax evaders and more, this is the end result. Then once in office Obama becomes "a loner" because he doesn't trust anyone but his "senior" advisor, Valerie Jarratt, who has no experience in anything other than being Mayor Daley's administrative assistant and the end result is that you elected yourself an incompetent.

Obama never should've been elected in 2008. Now our country has to wait it out for the next four years until we can watch him pack his bags and load up his moving van and get out of Washington DC. Next stop? Probably Hollywood for a very short gig.

Jennifer Ward (40)
Friday March 22, 2013, 6:49 pm
Iraq was a huge mistake- however, there is no excuse for interfering in Syria. Foreign arms from all sources keep the civil war fuelled. 'Helping' either side will only ensure more people are killed and injured. It is very sad situation for the innocent people caught up in this insanity.

John B (185)
Friday March 22, 2013, 7:19 pm
Thanks Cal for the link to the article by Sa‚d A. Tazi. The fallout from the Criminal actions of the Bush administration continue. Bush and his fellow gang members should be sitting in a cell at the Hague awaiting trial.

Jason S (50)
Friday March 22, 2013, 7:21 pm
Bush and every person lied to the world deport off the earth to the moon, Good posting, thanks

. (0)
Friday March 22, 2013, 7:26 pm
Bush, and then Obama.

Helen Porter (39)
Friday March 22, 2013, 10:43 pm
Everyone who had to do with it, positive or negative.

There's a life review coming up where we each must give account.


Diane O (194)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 3:46 am
What is now being made public is that Iraq HAD WMD's....they refused inspections for years while they moved them to Syria. Changes the whole picture.


Rose Becke (141)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 4:53 am
I agree with Jason S

David C (151)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 5:28 am
not the people who should be???

Diane O (194)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 6:21 am
John, I agree we should get out of the middle east. Let them kill, slaughter, rape and kill their own people over a slight difference in their religious beliefs. We are in complete agreement on that point.

It has recently been made public that there is proof from Syria that they did, indeed, receive the WMD's from Saddam Hussein. It is no longer classified information. It is now considered unclassified and as such we are reading about it on the internet. It changes the entire story. Those individuals with a high clearance have known about this for years but could not talk publicly about it. Meanwhile, the biased left wing media has a field day pummeling GWB for decades. Bush knew the WMD's went sent to Syria. Many in "high places" knew this but no one could talk about it until now.

The problem with Obama is that he is simply incompetent to lead a strong country like the US. Obama is offering other countries millions of taxpayer dollars on his "photo op tour" of Israel. Yes, he is "throwing money" at serious problems again. He doesn't know how to fix anything because he has a band aid mentality to circumvent a solution. Big problem is that he is using our money in a wasteful manner. How do we know this? All any of us need to do is focus on his failed $860 billion stimulus where he handpicked private sector green companies and every single one of them filed bankruptcy. What is it with the liberals that they think this is okay? If this had been GWB, they would be crucifying him in the media nonstop day and night. But, because this is "Obama" they applaud everything he does even when it's wrong for America.

Yes, Jimmy Carter was at least an honest man. Dumb but honest.

jan b (5)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 9:38 am
Did anyone watch the Video on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow joins Alex Wagner to talk lessons from the Iraq War, ďHubris,Ē and the 10th anniversary ..
If you didn't you would have learned step by step what led us to war and people were caught on VIDEO so no denying the truth.....

jan b (5)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 9:41 am
Diane I cannot believe at this point with all that information ...the videos that are out there about your party and what they did from year 2001 to 2009 that you still are on the bandwagon of supporting the FRAUD. WHY WHY WHY ?????? It's mind boggling that you BLAME OBAMA for our situation's crazy nuts---and you are embarrassing yourself.

Julie E (404)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 11:57 am
Sometimes I like to just read comments. Thanks Cal.

Diane O (194)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 12:56 pm
Yes, reading the comments can be very entertaining. I supported George W. Bush going into Iraq 100%. What I didn't support was the US pulling out too soon. What we know today, however, as we look at Afghanistan, a long and arduous war with no accomplishments, is that we simply cannot make a difference in the middle east. I believe we were making headway in Iraq for women and bringing some semblance of democracy there but because we pulled out the terrorists are moving back in. I blame Obama for pulling out too soon. Where there was once hope that hope has diminished for the Iraqi people. What we all have learned is that the middle east engages in religious wars. Yes, we have learned a valuable lesson. I still support George W. Bush going in and taking Saddam Hussein out. And, there's no doubt in my mind that the history books will be very kind to GWB. They will not be kind to the Incompetent Obama. These two men cannot even come close to being compared as equals IMO.

One thing all of us know is that WE do not have the classified information. Not you and not me. I am posting my personal opinions of George W. Bush, Obama and the Iraq war.

We have all seen the photos of the thousands of innocent Iraqi people that the dictator Saddam Hussein gassed and murdered. We put a stop to that. As in any war, innocent people get killed. It has happened in every war since the beginning of time.

It is suspected that the Syrian's are using these weapons on the rebels. Every middle eastern country wants their own WMD's. North Korea is suspected of having them and they are trying to develop more. China has nuclear weapons. Russia has more nuclear weapons than the United States does at this time.

Nuclear weapons are worthless as a military capability.

As far as embarrassing myself, I hardly think so. None of you know anymore than I do about classified information and what is really going on. All we can do is post our personal opinions and speculate and if your opinions are different from mine that's okay with me. Unlike you, I don't come out here looking for childish internet fights. I would think that engaging in personal attacks is about as embarrassing as it gets because it defines who we are.

Gene J (290)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 2:32 pm
Well my personal opinion is that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld ought be turning themselves to the Hague for trial for taking this nation into war on fabricated evidence. Iraq was never a threat to us, it never could be, the very idea that it was is still ludicrous. We've enough munitions and war making power to turn the entire planet into a smoking heap of nuclear ash. The very idea that a nation as small as Iraq or Iran could somehow harm us is beyond belief. They are a greater danger to themselves than they ever were or could be to us. Afghanistan? Well, they did harbor Bin Laden and we've not "won" but we have not fought an all out war there either, more in the nature of a police action - and we all know those don't turn out well. Either you go all in or you stay all out. Half measures get us exactly what we have there. Lots of horribly damaged soldiers and no "win". Just like Iraq, the moment the last coalition soldier leaves, the country will be at war, with itself again over who controls the drug cartel that it is. And the Taliban will win back all that they had because the "troops" we trained have no commitment to Iraq as WE envisioned it. Neither does Karzai. We are at war with terrorists, not nations, not now at least, and to pretend we were, well, that really didn't accomplish anything other than to remove bin laden from the world stage. The danger is still there as real as ever nearly 12 years after 9/11. Trillions upon trillions of dollars spent, the equal in human suffering, there and in our soldiers who will suffer the rest of their lives with PTSD as did my generation from Viet Nam. All for what exactly? Bin Laden is gone. But what a price we paid for that. What a price the people of the region paid for that. And the costs won't stop accumulating for a couple generations. No way to run a world..

Diane O (194)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 3:01 pm
Gene, if Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld had broken any laws they would've been charged and prosecuted. They obviously didn't break any laws.

Our country has been fighting wars since The Revolutionary War to win our independence. Do you think we shouldn't have fought that war?

Then there was the Franco American Naval War the "quasi" (or semi war) where we were fighting the French over commerce. Then the Barbary Wars where we stopped the barbary pirates for raiding ships in the Mediterranean. The War of 1812 was between the US and Britain and that had to do with the freedom of commerce. It's hard to say who won and Britain burned Washington down to the ground. Then we had the Creek (Indians) War over getting the Indians to stop slaughtering white people. Mexican American War - over the resentment of US annexation of Texas in a border dispute. The US Civil War - North against the South - about state's rights between two regions one highly industrialized and one that was agriculture based with slave labor.

Spanish American War - The USS Maine was sunk in 1898 in Havana Harbor by the Spanish - a territorial competition where the US basically took The Philipines away from Spanish occupation and Cuba gained their independence from Spain.

World War I - where the US supported Britain, France and Russia against Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary. World War II - where the allied powers defeated Germany, Italy and Japan. The Korean War where US and NATO forces fought to a stalemate against North Korea and communist China. Then the Viet Nam War - was part of a communist containment strategy. And then the Bay of Pigs, Grenada, Panama...Persian Gulf War.....intervention in Bosnia. Invasion of Afghanistan. Invasion of Iraq.

This is the way the world is, Gene.

Diane O (194)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 4:17 am
Despite Barack Obama's promises to salvage America's reputation abroad from all the damage supposedly done by the Bush administration, a survey shows support for the United States in several Middle East countries has dipped below its level from George W. Bush's final year in office.

According to the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project, "confidence in Obama" in Muslim countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Pakistan fell from 33% to 24% during his first term alone. Approval of his policies fell even further--from a high of 34% to the current low of 15%.

Many of Obama's first actions upon assuming office in 2009 aimed to bolster relations with Muslim countries. These included his infamous apology tour and the 2009 Cairo speech in which he pledged "mutual interest and mutual respect" between Americans and Muslims.

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 6:41 am
Kind of like saying in the good old days of the Soviet Empire Russia didn't have much crime.

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 1:13 pm
The invasion of Iraq was beginning to be planned when W took office. It was a set-up from the beginning. The tech bubble had just burst and the price of a barrel of oil was around $28. 9/11 caused the stock mkt. to close for nearly a week after 9/11, and when it reopened, it halved itself.....crashed. As the wealthiest saw their fortunes fall, a guy named Curveball, a liar, whose false info was used as a basis to invade Iraq, was presented to the media. Those who told the truth with facts, like Joe Wilson, were rewarded with slander....his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, lost her job when the Bush Admin. outed her as a CIA agent. Only Scooter Libby went to jail, though.
War profiteers gained much wealth through "No-Bid-Cost-Plus" contracts which were gifted to mercenary corporate contractors:
United Technologies gross profit--$5.3 Billion
L-3 Communications gross profit--$956 Million
Finmeccanica gross profit--$3.2 Billion
EADS gross profit--$1.4 Billion
NorthropGrumman gross profit--$2.1 Billion
Raytheon gross profit--$1.9 Billion
General Dynamics gross profit--$2.5 Billion
BAE Systems gross profit--$2.3 Billion
Boeing gross profit--$4 Billion
Lockheed Martin gross profit--$2.7 Billion
Halliburton--$39.5 Billion

These figures are from Truthout 3/14/13.
Was it really worth 4400 dead American troops, over 30,000 American soldiers severely wounded & now under the care of the V.A., and hundreds of thousands of dead and re-located Iraqis? Clearly, the answer is no. And, history will NOT be kind to W---it will be just as kind to him and his cronies who had no spark of kindness within their soul-less bodies. We must also not forget that the employees of these war profiteers were making FOUR TIMES the money our troops were making.
Janice b. mentioned "Hubris"....that was an excellent and factual report which I greatly enjoyed, and will add my recommendation to hers.

. (0)
Monday March 25, 2013, 11:47 am
Iraq never had WMD's, the War was based on misinformed information Blair admit this in the Iraq Inquiry over 3 years ago, not one of the British biggest Military mistake, but the biggest in the History of the British Military, just waiting for the outcome to see if the War was Illegal or not, the British have already said many times, Blair must be tried for War Crimes


Diane O (194)
Monday March 25, 2013, 3:05 pm
The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein's air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed.

The Iraqi general, Georges Sada, makes the charges in a new book, "Saddam's Secrets," released this week. He detailed the transfers in an interview yesterday with The New York Sun.

"There are weapons of mass destruction gone out from Iraq to Syria, and they must be found and returned to safe hands," Mr. Sada said. "I am confident they were taken over."

Mr. Sada's comments come just more than a month after Israel's top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Yaalon, told the Sun that Saddam "transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria."

Democrats have made the absence of stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq a theme in their criticism of the Bush administration's decision to go to war in 2003. And President Bush himself has conceded much of the point; in a televised prime-time address to Americans last month, he said, "It is true that many nations believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. But much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong."

Said Mr. Bush, "We did not find those weapons."

The discovery of the weapons in Syria could alter the American political debate on the Iraq war. And even the accusations that they are there could step up international pressure on the government in Damascus. That government, led by Bashar Assad, is already facing a U.N. investigation over its alleged role in the assassination of a former prime minister of Lebanon. The Bush administration has criticized Syria for its support of terrorism and its failure to cooperate with the U.N. investigation.

The State Department recently granted visas for self-proclaimed opponents of Mr. Assad to attend a "Syrian National Council" meeting in Washington scheduled for this weekend, even though the attendees include communists, Baathists, and members of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group to the exclusion of other, more mainstream groups.

Mr. Sada, 65, told the Sun that the pilots of the two airliners that transported the weapons of mass destruction to Syria from Iraq approached him in the middle of 2004, after Saddam was captured by American troops.

"I know them very well. They are very good friends of mine. We trust each other. We are friends as pilots," Mr. Sada said of the two pilots. He declined to disclose their names, saying they are concerned for their safety. But he said they are now employed by other airlines outside Iraq.

The pilots told Mr. Sada that two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, Mr. Sada said. Then Special Republican Guard brigades loaded materials onto the planes, he said, including "yellow barrels with skull and crossbones on each barrel." The pilots said there was also a ground convoy of trucks.

The flights - 56 in total, Mr. Sada said - attracted little notice because they were thought to be civilian flights providing relief from Iraq to Syria, which had suffered a flood after a dam collapse in June of 2002.

"Saddam realized, this time, the Americans are coming," Mr. Sada said. "They handed over the weapons of mass destruction to the Syrians."

Mr. Sada said that the Iraqi official responsible for transferring the weapons was a cousin of Saddam Hussein named Ali Hussein al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali." The Syrian official responsible for receiving them was a cousin of Bashar Assad who is known variously as General Abu Ali, Abu Himma, or Zulhimawe.

Short of discovering the weapons in Syria, those seeking to validate Mr. Sada's claim independently will face difficulty. His book contains a foreword by a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, David Eberly, who was a prisoner of war in Iraq during the first Gulf War and who vouches for Mr. Sada, who once held him captive, as "an honest and honorable man."

In his visit to the Sun yesterday, Mr. Sada was accompanied by Terry Law, the president of a Tulsa, Oklahoma based Christian humanitarian organization called World Compassion. Mr. Law said he has known Mr. Sada since 2002, lived in his house in Iraq and had Mr. Sada as a guest in his home in America. "Do I believe this man? Yes," Mr. Law said. "It's been solid down the line and everything checked out."

Said Mr. Law, "This is not a publicity hound. This is a man who wants peace putting his family on the line."

Mr. Sada acknowledged that the disclosures about transfers of weapons of mass destruction are "a very delicate issue." He said he was afraid for his family. "I am sure the terrorists will not like it. The Saddamists will not like it," he said.

He thanked the American troops. "They liberated the country and the nation. It is a liberation force. They did a great job," he said. "We have been freed."

He said he had not shared his story until now with any American officials. "I kept everything secret in my heart," he said. But he is scheduled to meet next week in Washington with Senators Sessions and Inhofe, Republicans of, respectively, Alabama and Oklahoma. Both are members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The book also says that on the eve of the first Gulf War, Saddam was planning to use his air force to launch a chemical weapons attack on Israel.

When, during an interview with the Sun in April 2004, Vice President Cheney was asked whether he thought that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction had been moved to Syria, Mr. Cheney replied only that he had seen such reports.

An article in the Fall 2005 Middle East Quarterly reports that in an appearance on Israel's Channel 2 on December 23, 2002, Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, stated, "Chemical and biological weapons which Saddam is endeavoring to conceal have been moved from Iraq to Syria." The allegation was denied by the Syrian government at the time as "completely untrue," and it attracted scant American press attention, coming as it did on the eve of the Christmas holiday.

The Syrian ruling party and Saddam Hussein had in common the ideology of Baathism, a mixture of Nazism and Marxism.

Syria is one of only eight countries that has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, a treaty that obligates nations not to stockpile or use chemical weapons. Syria's chemical warfare program, apart from any weapons that may have been received from Iraq, has long been the source of concern to America, Israel, and Lebanon. In March 2004, the director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, saying, "Damascus has an active CW development and testing program that relies on foreign suppliers for key controlled chemicals suitable for producing CW."

The CIA's Iraq Survey Group acknowledged in its September 30, 2004, "Comprehensive Report," "we cannot express a firm view on the possibility that WMD elements were relocated out of Iraq prior to the war. Reports of such actions exist, but we have not yet been able to investigate this possibility thoroughly."

Mr. Sada is an unusual figure for an Iraqi general as he is a Christian and was not a member of the Baath Party. He now directs the Iraq operations of the Christian humanitarian organization, World Compassion.

I say "Where there's smoke there's fire." Saddam Hussein was a liar, a dictator, a cheater and a murderer. I wouldn't put anything past a person with his stellar qualities. He was less than a human being. He refused weapons inspections for YEARS. Wonder why? That's the question you have to ask yourselves...why did he refuse years of inspections? Perhaps he was mobilizing the WMD's and sending them to Syria.


. (0)
Monday March 25, 2013, 5:48 pm
the reason why Bush and Blair did not find any WMD's . there was no WMD's in the first place Bush knew this and so did Blair;

I have 4 report from the BBC who covered the Inquiry. the weapons inspector Hans Blix was been question
Report 1
Iraq inquiry: Former UN inspector Blix says war illegal

The UN's former chief weapons inspector Hans Blix has said it is his "firm view" that the Iraq war was illegal.

Hans Blix: "They should have drawn the conclusion that their sources were poor"
Dr Blix told the Iraq inquiry the UK had sought to go down the "UN route" to deal with Saddam Hussein but failed.

Ex-Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, who advised the war was lawful on the basis of existing UN resolutions, "wriggled about" in his arguments, he suggested.

Dr Blix said his team of inspectors had visited 500 sites but found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction.

As head of the UN's Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) between 1999 and 2003, Dr Blix was a key figure in the run-up to the March 2003 invasion as he sought to determine the extent of Saddam's weapons programme.

'No smoking gun'
Asked about the inspections he oversaw between November 2002 and 18 March 2003 - when his team was forced to pull out of Iraq on the eve of the war - he said he was "looking for smoking guns" but did not find any.

While his team discovered prohibited items such as missiles beyond the permitted range, missile engines and a stash of undeclared documents, he said these were "fragments" and not "very important" in the bigger picture.

"We carried out about six inspections per day over a long period of time.

"All in all, we carried out about 700 inspections at different 500 sites and, in no case, did we find any weapons of mass destruction."

Although Iraq failed to comply with some of its disarmament obligations, he added it "was very hard for them to declare any weapons when they did not have any".

Legal explanation
He criticised decisions that led to the war, saying existing UN resolutions on Iraq did not contain the authority needed, contrary to the case put by the UK government.

"Eventually they had to come with, I think, a very constrained legal explanation," he said. "You see how Lord Goldsmith wriggled about and how he, himself, very much doubted it was adequate."

Lord Goldsmith has acknowledged his views on the necessity of a further UN resolution mandating military action changed in the months before the invasion and that the concluded military action was justified on the basis of Iraq breaching disarmament obligations dating back to 1991.

But Dr Blix said most international lawyers believed these arguments would not stand up at an international tribunal.

"Some people maintain that Iraq was legal. I am of the firm view that it was an illegal war. There can be cases where it is doubtful, maybe it was permissible to go to war, but Iraq was, in my view, not one of those."

He said he agreed with France and Russia, who argued that further UN authorisation was needed for military action.

"It was clear that a second resolution was required," he said.

In the run-up to war, he said the US government was "high on" the idea of pre-emptive military action as a solution to international crises.

"They thought they could get away with it and therefore it was desirable to do so."

'Judgement questioned'
While he believed Iraq "unilaterally" destroyed its weapons of mass destruction after the 1991 Gulf War, Dr Blix said he never "excluded" the prospect that it had begun to revive some form of chemical and biological capabilities.

In September 2002, he said he told Tony Blair privately that he believed Iraq "retained" some WMD, noting CIA reports that Iraq may hold some anthrax.

However, he said he began to become suspicious of US intelligence on Iraq following claims in late 2002 that Iraq had purchased raw uranium from Niger, which he always said he thought was flawed.

Since the war, Dr Blix has accused the UK and US of "over-interpreting" intelligence on weapons to bolster the case for war but he said the government's controversial September 2002 dossier on Iraqi weapons seemed "plausible" at the time.

He stressed that Tony Blair never put any "pressure" on him over his search for weapons in Iraq and did not question that the prime minister and President Bush believed in "good faith" that Iraq was a serious threat.

"I certainly felt that he [Tony Blair] was absolutely sincere in his belief.

"What I question was the good judgement, particularly of President Bush but also in Tony Blair's judgement."

Inspection timetable
Critics of the war believe that had inspectors been allowed to continue their work they would have proved beyond doubt that Iraq did not have active weapons of mass destruction capability - as was discovered after the invasion.

Dr Blix said the military momentum towards the invasion - which he said was "almost unstoppable" by early March - did not "permit" more inspections and the UK was a "prisoner on this train".

If he had been able to conduct more inspections, he said he believed they would have begun to "undermine" US-UK intelligence on Iraq's alleged weapons and made the basis for the invasion harder.

The US and UK have always maintained that Saddam Hussein failed to co-operate fully with the inspections process and was continuing to breach UN disarmament resolutions dating back to 1991.

In his evidence in January, former foreign secretary Jack Straw said the regime had only started complying in the final period before the invasion "because a very large military force was at their gates".

The inquiry, headed by Sir John Chilcot, is coming towards the end of its public hearings, with a report expected to be published around the end of the year.


. (0)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 1:31 am
Report 2 Iraq intelligence 'not very substantial' says Prescott

Iraq intelligence 'not very substantial' says Prescott

The intelligence on Iraq's weapons threat was not "very substantial", former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott has said.

He told the Iraq inquiry he was "nervous" about the intelligence being presented in 2002 - some of which he said was based on "tittle-tattle".

However, he said he did not have the knowledge to challenge the assessments.

Nevertheless, he defended the military action taken as "legal" and said he would take the same decision again.

Lord Prescott, deputy prime minister between 1997 and 2007, is the last senior former Labour minister to be giving evidence to the Chilcot inquiry into the war.

The inquiry is looking at the UK's role in the build-up to the war and the handling of its aftermath, and is expected to publish its report around the end of the year.

In an interview in December, Lord Prescott expressed some doubts about the war.

However, he told the inquiry that MPs had backed the action and that "democratic accountability had been satisfied".

While former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith had a "difficult decision" to make before deciding the war was legal, he said he accepted the judgement that military action was justified on basis of existing UN disarmament resolutions.

While it was "fashionable" to criticise Tony Blair for taking the UK to war, he said the former prime minister had "agonised" over the death of every British soldier.

In his opening statement, he expressed his "deepest sympathies" to the relatives of the 179 British service personnel killed in Iraq.

Lord Prescott, the final witness in the current round of public hearings, said he attended 23 out of 28 Cabinet meetings which discussed UK policy towards Iraq as well as holding a number of private meetings with Mr Blair.

Intelligence doubts
Asked about the intelligence shown to ministers about Iraq in 2002, Mr Prescott said had "no evidence" it was wrong but admitted he was a "little bit nervous about the conclusions on what I seemed to think was pretty limited intelligence".

"When I kept reading them, I kept thinking to myself, 'is this intelligence?", he said.

Describing it as "basically what you have heard somewhere and what somebody else has told somebody", he suggested the conclusions drawn on the back of it "were a little ahead" of the evidence.

"So I got the feeling it wasn't very substantial," he said.

With hindsight, he said recommendations made by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) "were frankly wrong and built too much on a little information".

"That was my impression at the time but, you know, I just thought 'well this is the intelligence document, this is what you have'.

"It seems robust but not enough to justify to that. Certainly what they do in intelligence is a bit of tittle-tattle here and a bit more information there."

However, he said he was certain that Saddam Hussein presented a real threat to regional security as he had attacked both Kuwait and Iran in recent years.

'Maintaining unity'
He said the UK's "priority" was to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis and suggested it was a "real achievement" for Tony Blair to persuade the US to try and get UN support for action against Iraq.

But he said US policy towards Iraq had been one of regime change since the Clinton presidency and the Bush administration did not want to be "diverted" from this course by diplomatic negotiations.

From conversations with former US Vice President Dick Cheney - who he described as a "hard-liner" - he said he got the impression Iraq was "unfinished business".

He described UK-led efforts to get a second UN resolution in early 2003 specifically authorising military action as "absolutely critical".

Asked about Cabinet discussions in the run-up to the war, he said he saw his job to "maintain unity" over the issue, suggesting that Labour was haunted by internal splits in the party in the 1970s and 1980s.

"There was a desire to maintain unity. Iraq could have split it if the Cabinet had said no, no no."

Ministers had to decide whether "to stay in or get out" and with the exception of Robin Cook and Clare Short - who both ultimately resigned - he said his colleagues had clearly reconciled any reservations they may have had.

Lord Prescott's appearance was the final scheduled public hearing, but inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot said witnesses could be recalled in the autumn if the committee felt the need to clear up "conflicts or gaps in the evidence".

Sir John also said his five-member panel planned to visit Iraq in the autumn to hear "Iraqi perspectives" and see first-hand the consequences of British troops' six-year presence in the country.

At best, the Bush administration have some explaining to do, a second UN resolution in early 2003 specifically authorising military action as "absolutely critical".
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