Colin's Journal

Colin's Journal: A place for thoughts about politics, software, and daily life.

August 2nd, 2003

A clarification

I’ve had some thoughtful feedback regarding my previous posts on the war in Iraq. It made me realise that I’ve not written about the question of whether the intelligence used to justify the war was manufactured or altered for political reasons.

In my opinion the answer is certainly “no”. Too many people are involved, and the stakes are so high, that manufacturing or distortion of intelligence evidence is not a credible accusation. What I do think happened was that the government (or parts of it) decided to go to war, and then utilised the available evidence to justify the action. It is in this context that I make the assertion that the PM mislead the houses of parliament and the country.

The impression that many MPs were under, and which was perpetuated through the country’s media, was that Iraq posed the most serious threat to the national security of the UK. Intelligence evidence, suggesting that Iraq was trying to gain capabilities that would allow it to be a threat, existed but as the weapons inspectors demonstrated, there was little or no evidence that Iraq had made any progress in achieving this aim since the end of the last gulf war.

It’s my belief that the PM lead the country to war for strategic and political reasons. However, even if you believe he genuinely perceived Iraq to be such a serious threat, it is obvious by now that he was wrong: Iraq was not a serious threat at all. The weapons inspectors should have been allowed to finish their job (showing that no WMD existed), and we should not have gone to war on the basis of the threat that Iraq posed to the UK. An argument can be made that we were right to invade Iraq for humanitarian reasons, but this was not the argument that the PM promoted.

Either the PM mislead the country, or he was wrong. In either case we waged war on another country because of his actions, and he should be held accountable.

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