Monday, July 07, 2003

Conclusions, conclusions, conclusions... 

There are many conclusions in the Foreign Affairs Select Committee report released today, and these conlcusions seem based on the kind of fragile and faulty reasoning and intelligence that lead us into this war to begin with.

For example, the committee concluded that Britain relied too heavily on U.S. intelligence, including that of exiles and defectors with an "agenda of their own". Yet it is also concluded that the perception of the threat posed by Iraq to Britain was "genuinely perceived as a real and present danger and that the steps taken to protect them [the United Kingdoms] were justified by the information available at the time. (Paragraph 41)"

In other words, relying on the U.S. for intelligence information, to the degree that Britain did, was seen as faulty, but the perception of threat was genuine.

This despite the fact that a March 2002 British intelligence report on wmd's in Iraq basically downplayed the threat. This despite the fact of pre-9/11 conclusions reached in this country by the CIA. When the CIA adruptly changed its intelligence reports on Iraq after 9/11, to claim the presence of vast Iraqian stockpiles of chemican and biological weapons, wouldn't the British be just a little skeptical?

And if British officials weren't skeptical, committee members want to know why, given that it is likely that British officials were made aware of the CIA report from March 2002, declaring the Niger document to be forged. According to the committee, the report was "squelched", and the committee, in today's report wants to know why and how this report was squelched.

In light of available intelligence, it is difficult to swallow the belief that officials in Britain "genuinely" believed in a threat, just as it is difficult to believe American officials believed in an immanent threat. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that officials genuinely believed in the need to convince the British public of a threat. Wether the threat was real or not was at question then, as it is now.

It doesn't help that one of the architects of this preemptive policy, Wolfowitz, admitted wmd's were basically an excuse for going to war. Hard to believe the British weren't aware of this "excuse". Why, you'd have to believe that Blair is the willing dupe of the U.S., instead of a collaborator.

It is difficult to believe that Vice-President Cheney and intelligence on this side of the Atlantic failed to inform the British of Joseph Wilson's report on the Niger/Iraq connection. The question remains, why did Bush and Blair choose to rely on that report, despite evidence to the contrary. The committee in its report is asking for intelligence data as to when British intelligence was informed of the forged Niger documents by the CIA.

The report, while clearing Alastair Cambell of "sexing the dossier", has not cleared the government of emphasizing the 45 minute claim of readiness of Iraq's biological and chemical weapons, and wants to know why the claim was included in the dossier, given that it was from a single uncorroborated source.

An article in the guardian.co.uk, in which experts in weapons assessments were gathered from both sides of the Atlantic, says UN weapons inspectors had inspected the supposed sites of biological and chemical weapons in Iraq, and nothing was turned up.

Bottom line conclusion of the report: the Ministers did not mislead Parliament.
This conclusion has been made despite the second dossier being plagiarized and a sham, despite the use of forged documents in the first dossier, despite the 2002 intelligence report to the contrary of the september dossier, despite the continued findings of the UN inspectors that failed to corroborate a single belief in the existence of weapons of mass destruction.

One can only conclude that conclusions reached in this report are politically motivated. Yet the report leaves many unanswered questions, leading one to wonder how such a conclusion could be reached. How long will the British public put up with denial and deception?

Parliament is asking for answers now:

The intelligence and security committee is to investigate whether Downing Street spun or distorted intelligence from MI6 to drum up public and parliamentary support for the war against Iraq.

This investigation could not occur a moment too soon, yet one would hope the investigation would be thorough and take as much time as needed. The health of our republics is all that is at stake.