Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Tony Blair Still Has Not Apologized for his
Role in the Destruction of Iraq
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, November 11, 2015
Apologetic journalists have been
trying to get Bush and Blair to apologize for their 2003 invasion and
destruction of Iraq, in vain. The maximum they got every time is an admission
that the intelligence reports were wrong, as readers can see here.
The end outcome was the destruction of Iraq, the strongest Arab state, part
of the Zionist long-term plan of establishing the Israeli Empire, from the Nile to the Euphrates.
Did Tony Blair really apologise for the Iraq war?
“Historic moment Tony Blair FINALLY apologises for Iraq War” said the Mail
headline on 25 October 2015, following an
interview with Fareed Zakaria on CNN. But did he really apologise
for the Iraq war?
Zakaria asked him:
“Given that Saddam
Hussein did not prove to have weapons of mass destruction, was the decision
to enter Iraq and topple his regime a mistake?”
He didn’t answer
that very pertinent question and unfortunately Zakaria didn’t press him to
do so. But, his reply included the following: "I can say that I
apologize for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong” about
Iraq’s so-called “weapons of mass destruction”. Of course, he wasn’t
personally responsible for this intelligence: the UK’s intelligence services
He was personally responsible for misrepresenting the
intelligence and other matters and, by so doing, he greatly exaggerated in
public the threat from Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” as judged by the
intelligence services. Without that, he may not have been able
to get parliamentary endorsement for military action against Iraq. He
has yet to apologise for any of that.
Information about these
misrepresentations has been in the public domain for many years. As
long ago as 2003, I submitted
evidence the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee about
them (which the Committee ignored). An invaluable source for them is
A Case to Answer (Chapter I) by Glen Rangwala, which was compiled in
“Small quantities” became “stockpiles”
following is a spectacular example of Tony Blair’s exaggeration of the
intelligence he received.
A Joint Intelligence Committee assessment
of 15 March 2002 stated:
“Intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programmes is sporadic and patchy.
[...] From the evidence available to us, we believe Iraq retains some
production equipment, and some small stocks of CW agent precursors, and may
have hidden small quantities of agents and weapons. [...] There is no
intelligence on any BW agent production facilities but one source indicates
that Iraq may have developed mobile production facilities.” (Butler
report, Annex B)
Yet, a few weeks later on 3 April 2002, he told
“We know that he [Saddam Hussein] has stockpiles of major
amounts of chemical and biological weapons, we know that he is trying to
acquire nuclear capability, we know that he is trying to develop ballistic
missile capability of a greater range.”
There, he transformed the
“small quantities” that might exist, according to the intelligence
assessment, into “stockpiles” that definitely do exist.
This was not
an isolated instance of exaggeration, which had accidentally slipped out: he
made several statements around that time expressing certainty about Iraq’s
possession and continued production of proscribed weapons that was not
warranted by the intelligence at that time.
For example, on 3 March
2002, he told Australia's Channel Nine: "We know they are trying to
accumulate weapons of mass destruction”.
On 11 March 2002, at a
press conference in Downing Street with US Vice-President Dick Cheney, he
said that “there is a threat from Saddam Hussein and the weapons of mass
destruction that he has acquired is not in doubt at all".
consider apologising for all that.
Weapons production “beyond
Another notorious example is in his foreword to the dossier
Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Assessment of the British
Government published in September 2002. In it, he wrote:
“What I believe the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt is
that Saddam has continued to produce chemical and biological weapons …”
This certainty was unwarranted by the available intelligence. A
report by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) of the House of
Commons published in September 2003, criticised this certainty, saying it
“could give the impression that Saddam was actively producing both chemical
and biological weapons and significant amounts of agents”. Indeed it
The reality was very different. According to the ISC,
the intelligence services didn’t know what agents had been produced and in
what quantities, and what quantities, if any, had been put into weapons.
The ISC concluded:
“We believe that this uncertainty should have
been highlighted to give a balanced view of Saddam’s chemical and biological
He should consider apologising for that.
“Unaccounted for” material exists?
In the months before the
invasion, he also frequently misled the public about what UN inspectors had
said about Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons. For years, the
Iraqi regime had claimed that all their chemical and biological weapons and
agents had been destroyed. It was not the contention of UN inspectors
that Iraq was lying, merely that it had not provided adequate documentary or
other proof that the material had been destroyed. Until Iraq did so,
the inspectors deemed that material “unaccounted for”.
words, at no time did UN inspectors rule out the possibility that Iraq had
no proscribed weapons or material at all – which turned out to be the case.
However, in the lead up to the invasion, Tony Blair regularly gave the
impression that, according to the UN, Iraq had a treasure trove of chemical
and biological weapons and agents, when all the inspectors had said was that
material was “unaccounted for”. For example, he
told MPs on 18 March 2003, when they voted for military action:
“When the inspectors left in 1998, they left unaccounted for 10,000 litres
of anthrax; a far-reaching VX nerve agent programme; up to 6,500 chemical
munitions; at least 80 tonnes of mustard gas, and possibly more than 10
times that amount; unquantifiable amounts of sarin, botulinum toxin and a
host of other biological poisons; and an entire Scud missile programme. We
are asked now seriously to accept that in the last few years—contrary to all
history contrary to all intelligence – Saddam decided unilaterally to
destroy those weapons. I say that such a claim is palpably absurd.”
There, Tony Blair stated as a fact that proscribed material deemed
“unaccounted for” by UN inspectors actually existed. In doing so, he
seriously misled the House of Commons. He should consider apologising
This egregious misrepresentation was compounded by the
fact he failed to tell MPs that, if these chemical and biological agents did
exist, by 2003 most of them would have degraded to such an extent that they
would no longer be effective as warfare agents. (See UN document
Issues: Iraq’s Proscribed Weapons Programmes published on 6 March 2003,
pages 73, 82 and 101). He should consider apologising for that.
Chirac said “no” in present circumstances
And then there is his
lie about what President Chirac said in a TV
interview on 10 March 2003. At that time, Tony Blair was trying to
get members of the Security Council to support a second resolution, which
would have been interpreted as authorising military action. However,
he had managed to persuade only two other members of the Security Council
(Spain and Bulgaria) to vote for it.
speech to MPs on 18 March 2003, he blamed President Chirac for this
“Last Monday [10 March], we were getting very close
with it [the second resolution]. We very nearly had the majority
agreement. … Then, on Monday night, France said that it would veto a second
resolution, whatever the circumstances.”
This, according to Tony
Blair, frightened off Security Council members who were on the brink of
voting “yes” and ended any possibility that the second resolution would get
In fact, President Chirac didn’t say that France
would veto a second resolution “whatever the circumstances”. On the
contrary, he made it crystal clear that there were circumstances in which
France would vote for a second resolution authorising military action,
namely, if the UN inspectors reported that, because of obstruction by the
Iraqi regime, they couldn’t do their job. But that wasn’t the case on
10 March 2003. Then, inspections were proceeding more or less
unhindered and the inspectors were asking for more time to complete their
mission. In those particular circumstances, President Chirac announced
that France would vote "no" to allow inspections to continue.
excuse his failure to get majority support in the Security Council for the
second resolution, Tony Blair claimed that President Chirac had said that
France would always veto military action – and he set in train a media
campaign to blame France for his failure. His EU adviser from 2000 to
2004, Stephen Wall
confirmed to the Chilcot inquiry that he had witnessed Tony Blair in a
Downing Street corridor give Alastair Campbell “his marching orders to play
the anti-French card with the Sun and others”.
Tony Blair should
consider apologising for that.
(For a fuller account of his
Lies, half-truths and omissions on the road to war against Iraq).
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