Friday, December 11, 2009

Blair: Even without WMDs, I would have found a way to invade Iraq

Quoteth the Guardian:

Tony Blair has said he would have invaded Iraq even without evidence of weapons of mass destruction and would have found a way to justify the war to parliament and the public.

The former prime minister made the confession during an interview with Fern Britton, to be broadcast on Sunday on BBC1, in which he said he would still have thought it right to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

"If you had known then that there were no WMDs, would you still have gone on?" Blair was asked. He replied: "I would still have thought it right to remove him [Saddam Hussein]".

Significantly, Blair added: "I mean obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments about the nature of the threat." He continued: "I can't really think we'd be better with him and his two sons in charge, but it's incredibly difficult. That's why I sympathise with the people who were against it [the war] for perfectly good reasons and are against it now, but for me, in the end I had to take the decision."

Longtime readers of this blog will recall this post from its very early days, in which I mentioned a Nation article that claimed...well, let's let them do the talking:

Back in March 1988, [Colin] Powell was National Security Adviser to President Reagan. While images of the [Halabja] massacre shocked, albeit briefly, a Western public jaded by reports of slaughter in the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, the Administration moved quickly to protect its ally Saddam Hussein. Within a week of the attack, US diplomats began publicizing the canard that the Halabjans had died from Iranian chemical weapons, thereafter eliciting a Security Council resolution with no specific condemnation of Iraq that urged both sides to refrain from use of chemical weapons. [...]

The following March, when news of Iraq's revival of poison gas as a weapon finally surfaced in the press, the State Department condemned "the prohibited use of chemical weapons wherever it occurs," while Rumsfeld was sent back to Baghdad to pass the word that the condemnation had been essentially pro forma and that the American desire to improve relations "at a pace of Iraq's choosing remain[s] undiminished." Meanwhile, US diplomats worked to quash discussion of the issue at international forums.

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