Reminders of Iraq
I was sorry to learn from Paul Waugh of the death of Brian Jones, the former Defence Intelligence Service official (right) who felt that his doubts about some of the intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s weapons programme had been ignored by the Government before the Iraq war.
He was a decent public servant who thought that some more senior people in the intelligence services had not been careful enough with their material. I don’t doubt that he had a low opinion of Tony Blair, but his disagreements tended to be dispassionate and factual; that was his style. He understood that the intelligence failings on Iraq were a bit more complicated than the result of wicked politicians forcing the spies to say things that they did not believe to be true.
To illustrate the complexity, so at odds with the simple anti-war view, Waugh reminds us of Jones’s evidence to the Hutton inquiry (pdf, annex A), in which Jones explains that his worry about David Kelly was that Kelly was too favourable about the September 2002 dossier. We know from Kelly’s own writing and from his sister’s evidence to Hutton that Kelly supported military action against Saddam, which Jones did not.
By coincidence, after months in which the Iraq war had faded from view, another player in that drama is in the news today. Hans Blix has written in the New Statesman under the headline, “How do we stop Iran getting the Bomb?”
Oh, good, you might think. Perhaps he has an insight into how to persuade President Ahmadinejad to end his defiance of the will of the United Nations and its IAEA, which Blix used to head.
Unfortunately, it turns out that Blix’s cunning plan is to tell the Israelis to give up their nuclear weapons.
It is naivety on such an extra-galactic scale that it makes one wonder whether Saint Hans is quite the witness that the anti-war side want in their pagoda. If I were them, I would stick to the more realistic arguments of Brian Jones.Tagged in: chilcot, iraq
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