Archive article from The Socialist Issue 356
What We Think
Iraq War: The Guilty Men
NO SO-CALLED weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq. The main justification for the war, that Saddam's chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons posed a threat to the world, was completely fraudulent.
Now two top-level inquiries, by the Senate Intelligence Committee in the US and Butler here, completely shatter the Bush-Blair case for war.
The damning US Senate report shows that the CIA, using bogus 'evidence', cooked the intelligence books. The CIA's assessment, it says, is "the greatest intelligence failure in the history of the nation".
All the blame is dumped on the CIA's spymasters. The report clears Bush and vice-president Dick Cheney of pressuring the CIA. They blame "collective group-think". But how come it harmonised so well with the Bush-Rumsfeld agenda?
One incident is very revealing. A CIA analyst urged his boss to warn Colin Powell that 'evidence' of Saddam's mobile bio-weapon laboratories Powell was about to present to the UN general assembly came from a very dodgy Iraqi source, codenamed 'Curveball'. His boss told him: "This war's going to happen regardless of what Curveball said or didn't say... the Powers That Be probably aren't terribly interested in whether Curveball knows what he's talking about."
The Bush regime was already mobilising for war. The CIA's job was to supply the required 'evidence'. John Rockefeller, the Senate Committee's Democratic vice-chair, complains that the report "fails to fully explain the environment of intense pressure in which intelligence community officers were asked to render judgements on matters relating to Iraq, when the most senior officials of the Bush administration had already forcefully and repeatedly stated their conclusions publicly."
At least George Tenet resigned as CIA director - before Bush was forced to sack him. Here, unbelievably, John Scarlett, chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee, the body that served up the phoney intelligence for Blair, has been promoted to head the secret security service, MI6.
Yet, as Butler shows, British intelligence chiefs are guilty of exactly the same kind of falsification and deception as the CIA. Between them, Scarlett and Blair 'sexed-up' the evidence published in the September 2002 dossier.
The intelligence chiefs played a shameful role in falsely justifying war against Iraq. Ultimately, however, it is Blair and his ministers who bear the responsibility for unleashing barbarous death and destruction on the people of Iraq.
Scarlett should not be promoted, but sacked. The secret intelligence services, which are a threat to democratic rights, should be abolished.
Blair must go
A genuinely independent committee of democratically elected representatives from trade unions, community organisations and so on, should be appointed to investigate the activities and the files of all the intelligence services. Any agencies charged with responsibility for the protection of the safety of the public should be open, publicly accountable, and subject to democratic control.
Blair committed Britain to Bush's course of military aggression. He took the decision to join the imperialist invasion and occupation of Iraq. Butler further exposes the deceitful manoeuvres used to justify this indefensible action. It is time for Blair to go.
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