John Williams, a former Foreign Office aide, said last night that publication of his document would expose how members of Tony Blair's team were locked in a mindset that made military action inevitable.One of my very first posts on lefthandpalm was a piece I wrote round about the time of the Hutton enquiry. At the time, I wrote:
On Wednesday, ministers will hit a deadline for publishing the 2002 document, after years of resistance.
The Williams draft was written in September 2002, only days after Mr Blair, then Prime Minister, announced that the Government would publish a dossier of intelligence showing that Saddam Hussein threatened the world with his weapons. (2)
On the 24th September Tony Blair stood up in the House of Commons and announced that “[Saddam] has existing and active military plans for the use ofNothing has emerged to make me resile from that. With Blair sniffing about after the EU presidency, it is time to re-examine his duplicity n the run up to the invasion of Iraq.
chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes”.
He described the report as “Extensive, detailed and authoritative.”He was speaking not to the house but to the nation watching at home, who were skeptical of the reasons being advanced for war. He didn’t give any detail. He didn’t explain that the weapons referred to, if they existed, were minor battlefield munitions, not SCUD missiles crammed with Anthrax or mustard gas.
At best we have a prime minister who doesn’t know what he is talking about; more likely, one who misled the British people as to the nature of the threat Saddam Hussein posed. (2)
1 - ''Dodgy dossier' was 'wrong', its author says,' by Ian Griggs and Brian
Brady, in The Independent, 17th of February, 2008. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/dodgy-dossier-was-wrong-its-author-says-783374.html)
2 - As described previously on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2007/02/stale-thoughts-on-iraq-war.html