Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Defending The Indefensible

Well we got what we wanted. Alistair Campbell gave his version of events leading to the Iraq Invasion at the Chilcot Inquiry yesterday and it just made us more angry at the arrogance of the whole affair.

It could have been any of the recollections to set me off but what really astounded me was Campbell's unfathomable defence of the 2002 dossier on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) - the crux of the argument to go to war. Campbell said he, 'Defends every word of it.'

I find this incredible given that we knew not long after that parts of it relating to the infamous '45 minute' assertion that WMDs could be deployed in the field to threaten British Sovereign territory within 45 minutes were plagiarised from an internet version of an old student thesis. Further, how can you defend a document's credibility when at the very time Hans Blix and his weapons inspectors were indicating that no WMD or manufacturing capability had been found. In fact, Blix was pleading with the US and UK to hold off and give his team more time to find the weapons or chemical factories - and as this was central to the UN Resolution which the UK and US used to go with the invasion it was morally right that evidence should be found. Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein was issuing statements that there were no WMD which was the truth while the UK and the US just said he was lying.

At best this was Intelligence communities gone so far wrong as to make their credibility defunct or, at worst, Government arrogance in the face of clear evidence against a war under UN law. Campbell now, and then, behaves as if this is irrelevant but it isn't. It is the foundation for a model of peace that came out of the World Wars - the statute that stops a country or countries from invading just because they don't like what the others do. Violate this principle and we have anarchy on the planet once more.

For me, the faith-based zeal of leaders like Bush and Blair was no better than the zeal of faith-based terrorists who attempt regime change through atrocities. Blair and Bush just used armies and economies instead - manipulating international law to their favour through misuse of power.

I believe it was a time of great shame for Britain. The outcome in Iraq is as questionable as the outcome in Afghanistan - when the plan is merely to kick out the old and install a new friend, beware of getting what you ask for .

No comments: