During a debate on another site regarding the rights and wrongs of the Iraq War, Stan issued a challenge to rubbish his 22 REASONS WHY IT WAS RIGHT TO INVADE IRAQ. Yes i know that this has been thrown backwards and forwards relentlessly over the last 6 six years and nobody is going to change their minds about things now at this late time but i can't resist a challenge and who better to quote then the people there at the time. His main justifications run along the lines of:
Instead of over-throwing Saddam at that time, the allies gave way to liberal sentiment and left him in power on the basis that he would never be in a position to threaten neighbouring countries again.
Dick Cheney, why did you not remove Saddam in 1991? Was it to pacify us bleeding heart lefties? 'If we had gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone, we wouldn't of had anybody else with us. It would have been a US occupation of Iraq. Once you got to Iraq and took it over and took down Saddam Hussein's Government than what you going to put in it's place? That's a very volatile part of the World. It's a quagmire if you try and take over Iraq. The other thing was casualties, everyone was impressed with how we were able to do our job with so few casualties as we had but for the 146 Americans killed in action and their families it wasn't a cheap war. The question for the President as to whether we went on to Baghdad and took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth. Our judgement was not that many and i think we got it right.' American Enterprise Institute 1994
The intelligence was showing that Saddam still possessed WMD and was continuing with his WMD programme.
Was the Intelligence at the time showing Saddam had WMD's and was building WMD Programmes? Let's listen to Pat Roberts in 2004 at a news conference on the Senate Intelligence Committee Report: 'One fact is now clear: Before the war, the U.S. intelligence community told the president, as well as the Congress and the public, that Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and if left unchecked, would probably have a nuclear weapon during this decade. Well, today we know these assessments were wrong. And, as our inquiry will show, they were also unreasonable and largely unsupported by the available intelligence.- Most of the key judgments in the October 2002 national intelligence estimate on Iraq's WMD programs were either overstated or were not supported by the raw intelligence reporting'.
Whats the New York Times got to say about it - 'Another group of British memos, including the so-called Downing Street memo written in July 2002, showed that some senior British officials had been concerned that the United States was determined to invade Iraq, and that the "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" by the Bush administration to fit its desire to go to war'.
The UN inspectors, most governments, every intelligence agency in the world, and even Saddam's own generals were convinced that these weapons still existed.
Was everyone convinced about Saddam's intentions Robin Cook? - 'The reality is that Britain is being asked to embark on a war without agreement in any of the international bodies of which we are a leading partner - not NATO, not the European Union and, now, not the Security Council.' 2005
Hmm, that's a large swathe taken out of everyone. What about the US intelligence Agency then former CIA operative Tyler Drumheller, "The Central Intelligence Agency warned President Bush before the Iraq war that it had reliable information the government of Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, they simply brushed off the warning, saying they were no longer interested in intelligence and that the policy toward Iraq had been already set. CBS 60 Minutes
Even the Americans didn't think he had them then. Anything to add head of the Iraq Survey Group Charles Duelfer? 'There was no evidence that Iraq produced weapons of mass destruction after 1991'.
Throw us a bone former Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter 'As of December 1998 we had no evidence Iraq had retained biological weapons, nor that they were working on any. In fact, we had a lot of evidence to suggest Iraq was in compliance'. 2002
The feeling after 9/11 was why should a tyrant like Saddam be given the benefit of that doubt, particularly if it provided a legitimate reason for getting rid of him?
Saddam was a nasty piece of work so did you try and sneak in a bit of regime change without telling us Tony? 'I have got no doubt Saddam is very bad for Iraq, but on the other hand I have got no doubt either that the purpose of our challenge from the United Nations is disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, it is not regime change.' 2002
After being given every opportunity to comply with the UN resolutions Saddam rejected the final demand under resolution 1441 which called for "an accurate, full and final disclosure of Iraq's WMD's and of all aspects of its WMD programme".
Saddam set out a 12000 page dossier stating he had no WMD's. Blair & Bush were adamant that he did. Which of these of these 3 were telling the truth?
To argue that the war was DEFINITELY illegal is not therefore defensible whereas the Prime Minister's parliamentary answer putting the legal case for the war is legally defensible.
Was it legal deputy legal advisor to the Foreign Office Elizabeth Wilmshurst? Her resignation speech over the issue said 'I regret that I cannot agree that it is lawful to use force against Iraq without a second Security Council resolution to revive the authorisation given in SCR 678.' 2003
Iraq War architect, Richard Perle, is it worth asking you if it was legal? "I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing. International law would have required us to leave Saddam alone, and this would have been morally unacceptable." 2003. Blimey, wasn't expecting that from him.
You agree with neo-con Richard Perle that it was illegal then Lord Bingham of Cornhill, former Lord Chief Justice and Senior Law Lord of the United Kingdom, 'the invasion was a serious violation of international law and of the rule of law." 2008. Take that as a yes then.
I know you had your doubts UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith because your leaked memo that turned up in the media initially advised that 'the war would be in breach of international law for six reasons, ranging from the lack of a second United Nations resolution to UN inspector Hans Blix's continuing search for weapons'. Yes, we know you went from that to everything's legal and above board days before the invasion.
Let's ask Jack Straw, when he was in his former role as Justice Minister, why the minutes of the cabinet meetings where the legality of the Iraq war was discussed was subjected to the first ever ministerial veto when a Freedom of Information request was entered, despite the Information Commissioner ordering the minutes to be disclosed in the public interest. Nothing to say on that Jack. The UN top banana, Kofi Anan will surely have an opinion on whether the Iraq war was legal or not. 'I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter from our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal.'
In coming down in favour of the war Blair probably saw this as the lesser of the evils and as the chance to act as a restraining influence on Bush in a way that those opposing the war were not able to do..
As luck would have it, here's a copy of the Chatham House report on Blair's influence on George Bush. 'Despite military, political and financial sacrifices by the UK, Mr Blair had been unable to influence the Bush administration in "any significant way". 2006
Surely the American State Department didn't think of him as little more than a poodle did they senior state department analyst Kendall Myers 'for all Britain’s attempts to influence US policy in recent years, we typically ignore them and take no notice — it’s a sad business'.
Far from the invasion being anti-Islamic, the (Islamic) Kurds, anti-Saddam Sunnis and the Shias rejoiced at being liberated from Saddam's tyranny (even now despite the post-war mayhem a recent poll has shown that over 60% of the population believe that overthrowing Saddam was worth the hardship entailed, 75% of the Shias and 81% of the Kurds).
Feeling the love in the streets of Umm Qasr are we lads?
2004 Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies - 92% of Iraqis perceive Coalition forces as occupiers, rather than as liberators or peacekeepers.
2005 Sunday Telegraph 45% of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American
troops are justified - rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province. 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops;
2006 Washington Post 83% want the US-led Coalition forces to immediately withdraw from the country.
2006 (PIPA), 78% of Iraqis believe that the US military presence is provoking more conflict that it is preventing.
2006 Centre for Research and Strategic Studies-95% believe the security situation has deteriorated since the arrival of US forces.
That government wants our troops to stay as long as it takes to do the job. To cut and run now would be one of the most ignoble acts in our history.
I agree and have argued for this myself. We broke it, we fix it.