Hundreds of thousands of people died in the Iraq war. The reasons for this war remain muddied and far from clear. Today, March 19, marks the tenth anniversary of the day that foreign forces, including Americans and Brits, entered Iraq and the legality of that lengthy, bloody war is still open to debate.
The latest information on Iraq should serve as a warning for all those who would support military action in Syria. Contrary to popular believe, what can't speak can lie.
Monday in the UK BBC TV aired a Panorama special about the Iraq war. Some believe that the government has a partial hold over the BBC but surely such "specials" prove that is not true? You have to bear in mind of course that former Labour leader Tony Blair was PM at the start of the Iraq war and currently the UK has a Tory, Lib Dem coalition government. With an election scheduled for 2015 the political gloves are off.
All of that said Panorama made for interesting viewing.
Fresh evidence shows that MI6 and the CIA knew before the Iraq war that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Throughout the early part of the war we became accustomed to hearing US President George W Bush and the UKs Tony Blair witter on about WMD. It was the threat of those, and a possible nuclear threat, that was used to sell war to citizens in the west. Did these two leaders no there were no WMD?
In spite of the massive amount of spin and propaganda many people felt uncomfortable about this war. Today the Guardian has a report of the Panorama special which begins: Tony Blair told parliament before the war that intelligence showed Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programme was "active", "growing" and "up and running". A special BBC Panorama programme aired on Monday night details how British and US intelligence agencies were informed by top sources months before the invasion that Iraq had no active WMD programme, and that the information was not passed to subsequent inquiries. It describes how Naji Sabri, Saddam's foreign minister, told the CIA's station chief in Paris at the time, Bill Murray, through an intermediary that Iraq had "virtually nothing" in terms of WMD. Sabri said in a statement that the Panorama story was "totally fabricated".
However, Panorama confirms that three months before the war an MI6 officer met Iraq's head of intelligence, Tahir Habbush al-Tikriti, who also said that Saddam had no active WMD. The meeting in the Jordanian capital, Amman, took place days before the British government published its now widely discredited Iraqi weapons dossier in September 2002.
Lord Butler, the former cabinet secretary who led an inquiry into the use of intelligence in the runup to the invasion of Iraq, tells the programme that he was not told about Sabri's comments, and that he should have been. Butler says of the use of intelligence: "There were ways in which people were misled or misled themselves at all stages." When it was suggested to him that the body that probably felt most misled of all was the British public, Butler replied: "Yes, I think they're, they're, they got every reason think that"."
So the reasons for the war were flawed.
William Hague in the UK has tried to silence the Cabinet, as far as the Iraq war goes. Early in March he instructed Ministers not to mention the Iraq war. Of course he is busily trying to sell a conflict in Syria to the British people, by way of the unfolding humanitarian crisis in that country. You can argue that there would be no crisis if it was not for the rebels working with our support. As usual it is all subjective.
On the BBCs This Week, again early in March, Lord John Prescott former Deputy PM of the UK clearly stated that he had concerns about the Iraq war. Now that Tony Blair appears to say it does not matter that there were no WMD in Iraq as at least "we got rid off Saddam" it is obvious the war was far from legal.
People in the west need to do a great deal of soul searching before they allow themselves to be drawn into another costly, in every sense of the word, war. Do politicians have a different agenda for war? It is unlikely that action will come out of a need to help the people of Syria. It is more likely to come out of a need to disable that country, hit Iran and help Israel. Then there is oil.
Need we say more.