- The death toll from the horrific recent Iraq
bombings has risen over 250. If Blair had not been
absolutely determined to attack Iraq on the basis of
a knowing lie about WMD, they would be alive now,
along with millions of other dead. ISIS would never
have taken control of territory in Iraq and Syria.
Al Qaeda would never have grown from an organisation
of a few hundred to one of tens of thousands. We
would not have a completely destabilised Middle East
and a massive refugee crisis.
expect a full truth and a full accounting from the
Chilcot panel of establishment trusties today.
Remember who they are.
the Butler Inquiry which whitewashed the fabrication
of evidence of Iraqi WMD. The fact is that, beyond
doubt, the FCO and SIS knew there were no Iraqi WMD.
In the early 1990’s I had headed the FCO Section of
the Embargo Surveillance Centre, tasked with
monitoring and preventing Iraqi attempts at weapons
procurement. In 2002 I was on a course for newly
appointed Ambassadors alongside Bill Patey, who was
Head of the FCO Department dealing with Iraq. Bill
is a fellow Dundee University graduate and is one of
the witnesses before the Iraq Inquiry this morning.
I suggested to him that the stories we were
spreading about Iraqi WMD could not be true. He
laughed and said “Of course not Craig, it’s
bollocks”. I had too many other conversations to
mention over the next few months, with FCO
colleagues who knew the WMD scare to be false.
was party to a Butler Inquiry conclusion that the
Iraqi WMD scare was an “Honest mistake”. That a man
involved on a notorious whitewash is assuring us
that this will not be one, is bullshit.
friend and former jogging partner of Alastair
Last time I
actually spoke to him we were both Ambassadors and
on a British frigate moored on the Neva in St
Petersburg. Colleagues may have many words to
describe Rod Lyne, some of them complimentary, but
“open-minded” is not one of them.
Committee were to feel that the Iraq War was a war
crime, then Rod Lyne would be accusing himself. As
Ambassador to Moscow he was active in trying to
mitigate Russian opposition to the War. He
personally outlined to the Russian foreign minister
the lies on Iraqi WMD. There was never the slightest
private indication that Lyne had any misgivings
about the war.
Uzbekistan we always copied Moscow in on our
reporting telegrams, for obvious reasons. Lyne
responded to my telegrams protesting at the CIA’s
use of intelligence from the Uzbek torture chambers,
by requesting not to be sent such telegrams.
Freedman is the most appalling choice of all. The
patron saint of “Justified” wars of aggression, and
exponent of “Wars of Choice” and “Humanitarian
Intervention”. He is 100% parti pris.
part of his evidence to the House of Lords Select
Committee on the Constitution on 18 January 2006:
basic idea here is that our armed forces
prepared for what we might call wars of
necessity, that the country was under an
existential threat so if you did not respond to
that threat then in some very basic way our
vital interests, our way of life, would be
threatened, and when you are looking at certain
such situations, these are great national
occasions. The difficulty we are now facing with
wars of choice is that these are discretionary
and the government is weighing a number of
factors against each other. I mentioned Sierra
Leone but Rwanda passed us by, which many people
would think was an occasion when it would have
been worth getting involved. There was Sudan and
a lot of things have been said about Darfur but
not much has happened…
was a very unusual situation where it was not an
ongoing conflict. If we had waited things would
not have been that much different in two or
three months’ time and so, instead of responding
either to aggression by somebody else, as with
the Falklands, or to developing humanitarian
distress, as in the Balkans, we decided that
security considerations for the future demanded
Sir Martin Gilbert
(died in course of Inquiry)
wing historian whose biography of Churchill focussed
on Gilbert’s relish for war and was otherwise dull.
(Roy Jenkins’ Churchill biography is infinitely
better). Gilbert was not only rabidly pro-Iraq War,
saw Blair as Churchill.
Although it can easily be argued that George W
Bush and Tony Blair face a far lesser challenge
than Roosevelt and Churchill did – that the war
on terror is not a third world war – they may
well, with the passage of time and the opening
of the archives, join the ranks of Roosevelt and
Churchill. Their societies are too divided today
to deliver a calm judgment, and many of their
achievements may be in the future: when Iraq has
a stable democracy, with al-Qaeda neutralised,
and when Israel and the Palestinian Authority
are independent democracies, living side by side
in constructive economic cooperation.
of the FCO institution the Ditchley Foundation – of
which the Director is Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the UK
Ambassador to the UN who presented the lies about
Iraqi WMD and was intimately involved in the lead in
to war. So very much another cosy foreign policy
short, the committee – all hand-picked by Gordon
Brown – could not have been better picked to ensure
Over 50% of
the British population were against the Iraq War,
including for example many scores of distinguished
ex-Ambassadors, many military men and many
academics. Yet Brown chose nobody on the Inquiry who
had been against the Iraq War, while three out of
five were active and open supporters of the war.
expect to see this truth reflected in any of the
mainstream media coverage.
Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights
activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan
from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the
University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.