19th March 07:15
WMDs in Iraq: Was it an honest mistake?
Indeed, I just ran into an old newspaper article dated November 1,
2002, less than 2 months after the 9/11 attacks and we were still
preparing for a war against Afghnistan, I believe.
And the headline said:
Estados Unidos: ``Se agota el tiempo'' para una resolucio'n sobre
That was Bush's ``time is running out'' rant to the world for the
purpose of moving the UNSC to pass a new resolution on Iraq which
would would legalize an invasion based on some tehnical violation.
There was never any realistic threat against any country in the world
from Iraq at that time. So, Bush's information outflow manager,
condoleezza Rice, talked about ``mushroom clouds over American
cities'' and Blair talked about ``45-minute launch of chemical or
biological warheads''. We already knew from day one that even the
defense chief of Israel, a country which would have the most to worry,
dismissed such a scenario. He said so in public and gave a clear
explanation. That explanation is exactly what the British
investigation now reports and an article on the subject is attached
below. But Bush and Blair knew their denizens were ignorant and they
exploited their ignorance and the trust they placed in them.
Yahoo! News Sat, Jul 10, 2004
Blair Braces for Iraq Intelligence Report
Fri Jul 9, 8:08 PM ET
By ED JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer
LONDON - An inquiry into the quality of British intelligence has
concluded that claims that Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s Iraq
(news - web sites) could rapidly launch chemical or biological attacks
were "poorly sourced and vague," a newspaper reported Friday.
Intelligence on the speed of such attacks was expected to be a key
point in a potentially damaging report by retired civil service chief
Lord Butler to be issued on Wednesday.
Butler was appointed on Feb. 3 by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to head
the five-member committee looking into the intelligence claims.
The statement that Iraq could launch on notice of just 45 minutes was
made four times in an intelligence dossier published by Prime Minister
Tony Blair (news - web sites)'s government in September 2002, as it
built its case for war in Iraq.
According to London's Evening Standard newspaper, Butler will conclude
the 45-minute claim "should never have been published because it was
poorly sourced and vague." The newspaper did not disclose the source
of its story.
Butler, the newspaper reported, also concluded that the dossier should
have included vital caveats on the limits of British intelligence on
Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
The government long ago acknowledged it had just one source for the
45-minute claim, but two of Britain's most senior intelligence
officials have defended the credibility of the source.
John Scarlett, head of the Joint Intelligence Committee which produced
the September dossier, said the source was a senior Iraqi military
Sir Richard Dearlove, outgoing head of Britain's foreign intelligence
service MI6 told the inquiry the officer was "certainly in a position
to know this information."
In Washington, the Senate Intelligence Committee said the Central
Intelligence Agency (news - web sites) fell victim to "group think"
which assumed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction -- an
assumption shared even by some governments which opposed the war.
"This was a global intelligence failure," committee chairman, Sen. Pat
Roberts, said on Friday.
There was no immediate reaction in Britain to the U.S. report.
Before the invasion of Iraq, Blair was adamant that Saddam had
stockpiles of fearsome weapons.
"What I believe the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt
is that Saddam has continued to produce chemical and biological
weapons, that he continues in his efforts to develop nuclear weapons,"
he wrote in a foreword to the September 2002 dossier.
However, the Iraq Survey Group's hunt for evidence has proved largely
fruitless, and Blair has retreated. "I have to accept that we have not
found them, that we may not find them," Blair told a parliamentary
committee on Tuesday.
Butler's inquiry aims to establish why there was such a gap between
"intelligence gathered, evaluated and used by the government" and the
lack of evidence on the ground in Iraq.
It has focussed on the "structures, systems and processes" of how
intelligence was gathered "rather than on the actions of individuals,"
leading many commentators to assume that key government and security
officials will not be singled out for criticism.
The 45-minute claim received extensive media coverage. It became the
subject of an intense row between the government and the British
Broadcasting Corp., after the BBC said Blair's office knew it was
false and inserted it against the wishes of intelligence chiefs.
Three previous inquiries have cleared Blair's government of acting
dishonestly or misusing the intelligence made available to it.
But more concerns have been raised about the 45-minute claim.
Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee said in a September
2003 report that the claim was potentially misleading, as the dossier
failed to make clear it referred to battlefield munitions, not
The committee also said intelligence reports failed to reflect "the
uncertainties and gaps in the U.K.'s knowledge about the Iraqi
biological and chemical weapons."