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A Higher Form of Something, Certainly

John Rentoul

hfk 300x300 A Higher Form of Something, CertainlyGrateful to David in the comments for pointing out that Jeremy Paxman and Robert Harris, those two fierce opponents of the Iraq war after the event, co-wrote a book, A Higher Form of Killing, in the 2002 edition of which they asserted that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons.

The new 11th chapter begins with Iraq:

Every warning about the ease with which CBW [chemical and biological weapons] weapons could proliferate has been proved true by Saddam.

They continue:

The unsettling truth is that much of Iraq’s CBW arsenal remains intact … After the [1991 Gulf] war, the UN weapons inspectors’ attempts even to locate, let alone eradicate, Saddam’s stockpiles of gas and germs, were consistently frustrated, and finally ended in August 1998 when Iraq withdrew all co-operation from the UN team. Since then, it may be regarded as almost certain that Iraq has continued to develop CBW.

They quote Richard Butler, the UN weapons inspector, on the subject of tests on Iranian prisoners and Abu Ghraib inmates and the withdrawal of Iraqi co-operation, and comment:

This is Saddam Hussein’s regime: cruel, lying, intimidating, and determined to retain weapons of mass destruction – weapons capable of killing thousands, even millions, at a single blow.

Of Iraq, Syria, Libya and North Korea they say:

All four countries have a reputation for sponsoring terrorism, and it is this which is now most exercising governments around the world.

I agree with their conclusion, written in December 2001, even if they no longer do:

In the end, the only way to ensure disarmament is to enforce it … Stating the aim is easy enough. But how is it to be achieved? By diplomacy? By sanctions? By military force? These promise to be the dominating questions in world politics over the coming months and years, as the international community continues its long struggle to eradicate what Fritz Haber called “a higher form of killing”.

Previously, on Robert Harris, here and here. And on Jeremy Paxman.

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  • Ciaran Rehill

    The British have NBC weapons at Porton Down Mt Rentoul.

  • Jake_K

    Well, I guess Harris and Paxman look stupid for believing in Iraqi WMD then.

    But that is NOT the main point here, as you and your coterie of war crime apologists must surely know. 

    Blair as UK PM ultimately controlled the UK government and all of its “intelligence” gathering resources, as well as the Attorney General.  He eventually successfully pressurised them to “deploy the arguments” he and Bush wanted us to hear. 

    Via the above, Blair and Bush (plus the apparatchiks like Alistair Campbell and Karl Rove) stood up in front of the world and their own people and declared that Saddam had WMD and was a clear and present danger and must be removed.

    Now, we can take the position that the public, media and world as a whole was stupid for swallowing the stories of Al Qaeda in Iraq, WMD, ‘yellowcake’, 45 minutes to immolation and all the other utter tripe trotted out.  We can blame them (and if we believed it, blame ourselves) for that stupidity.

    BUT we must acknowledged that if a farmer grabs a bull by the nose and has it trample the neighbour’s garden, it is the farmer who takes the blame.  Blair invested whatever credibility there was in the office of the UK PM in his lies on Iraq.  So of course some people who respected that office believed him.

    Hence, Blair et al –> the ICC in The Hague.

  • porkfright

    So where are the WMDs’, then? Under an Iraqi patio, in the back of a battered 4×4, hidden in a hollow tree, miraculously abducted by flying saucer? Still waiting for an answer-plus photographs.

  • JohnJustice

    When will you get it into your head, Porkfright, that the war was not about Saddam actually possessing WMD but about him giving the impression that he had them by not cooperating with the UN inspectors to the extent required by UN resolution 1441?

    Not to mention the evidence uncovered by the post-war Iraq Survey Group that Saddam had kept his weapons capabiility in tact so that his WMD could be reconstituted once the eyes and ears of the world were off him (see the link with Julie’s excellent Iraq War Fact Sheet in JR’s post on the BBC Trust’s Paxman findings.

  • petersimplex

    So bloody what. Where did they get their intelligence from?  They, like even lazier journalists, are only served up with their intelligence by cheats and liars. Who can blame them? And the embedded journalists who went to Iraq were also just fed crap by their spook minders.  David Kelly saw lots of secret intelligence and probably eventually came to an opposite conclusion from the spooks.  Bad decision.

  • petersimplex

    Didn’t Saddam get his Anthrax from Porton Down?

  • JohnJustice

    You’re right about David Kelly seeing lots of secret intelligence but wrong about him coming to a different conclusion from the spooks. He actually supported the invasion as the only way of removing Saddam’s WMD threat (google David Kelly: the threat from Saddam). So if Kelly is your criterion of the rights and wrongs of all this you’ve obviously made a bad decision, Mr Simple.


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