Breaking News: Eight years on, some people are still against the Iraq war

John Rentoul

 Breaking News: Eight years on, some people are still against the Iraq warEight years on and for some people it was as if the Iraq war were yesterday, only they cannot remember the detail, so they report it again through their anti-war prism. Chris Ames and Richard Norton-Taylor were there, I know, but the only thing that they remember is that they were against it. In The Guardian, they report:

Britain and the US were planning to take action against Saddam Hussein without a second UN resolution six months before the invasion of Iraq, a newly released letter from the-then prime minister Tony Blair’s office shows.

(A sub-editor who might not have been around at the time puts the date of the invasion as May 2003 in the sub-headline, but that is not important. Update: and it has now been corrected.)

One of the most important points about UN resolution 1441 for the Americans was that it did not require a further resolution before military action. That is what the words “final opportunity” mean. The “second” resolution was sought, at Tony Blair’s behest, for political reasons to show unity and to help to persuade British opinion. That was probably a mistake, and the French certainly thought so, believing that 1441 was sufficient authority for the use of military force (until Jacques Chirac changed his mind).

emb Breaking News: Eight years on, some people are still against the Iraq warAs for Eliza Manningham-Buller (right, at the Mile End Group of Queen Mary, University of London, last year) and her same old, she manages to contradict herself, saying:

Intelligence isn’t complete without the full picture and the full picture is all about doubt.

This is three sentences after her categorical statement:

Iraq did not present a threat to the UK.

Well, it is a point of view, if you were opposed to the war all along – she was deputy director of MI5 until she took the top job in October 2002, after the publication of the dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction in September 2002. It was never suggested that Iraq posed a direct military threat to the UK, but that Saddam Hussein’s WMD capability might end up in terrorist hands.

MI5, for those who do not know, is the Security Service, responsible for domestic security. The intelligence agency responsible for foreign threats to British security is known as MI6.

Thus it was legitimate for MI5 to make the point that the invasion of Iraq might increase the threat from home-grown terrorists. This was well known at the time, so it is not news eight years later. Especially when it is reported without the rest of the story: namely that this threat had to be balanced against the threat from Saddam.

Update: Ames has written a more detailed account of his “very significant” documents at his Iraq Inquiry Digest site. It is all very interesting, but does not alter what actually happened, which is that the US would not agree to Resolution 1441 if it would require a further resolution before military action. Lord Goldsmith changed his view that the early draft – and indeed 1441 itself – was not a safe legal base, when he discussed its negotiating history with the Americans and with Jack Straw.

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  • aardvark10

    I’ll not lower myself to the petty little insults like “grow up” directed at people who don’t happen to agree with you. It only illustrates just how juvenile you are yourself.
    I’ll just direct you to the 45 minute claim and the accusation that Saddam had an active program to acquire nuclear materials. This claim was based on a single unreliable source, yet Blair went public in the strogest possible fashion. There are only two alternatives. Either he did not question the intelligence, or he deliberately misrepresented its strength. Either way, when waging war, it is an absolute disgrace. You may be quite happy to invade nations on this sort of thing, but that simply strengthens the impression of how juvenile you really are.

  • JohnJustice

    Talking about Stan Rosenthal, Chris, would you care to explain here why you banned him from your site, after you had invited him to be a contributor. Might it not have had something to  do with the fact that he  was consistently puncturing your over-blown anti-war arguments. It couldn’t have been for the usual reason of excessive personal abuse since from what I have seen of the exchanges (google” Stan Rosenthal banned from Chris Ames’ Iraq Inquiry Digest” the abuse was coming almost entirely from your side). I understand  btw that one of your sponsors, The Index of Censorship, was “disappointed” with your decision.  

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