Tony Blair got it years ago, and still gets it:
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he would have found a justification for invading Iraq even without the now-discredited evidence that Saddam Hussein was trying to produce weapons of mass destruction.
“I would still have thought it right to remove him. I mean, obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments about the nature of the threat,” Blair told the BBC in an interview to be broadcast this morning.
It was a startling admission from the onetime British leader, who was President Bush’s staunchest ally in the decision to invade Iraq in 2003.
Blair’s comments were immediately denounced by critics who accused him of using false pretenses to drag Britain into an unpopular war that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of allied troops and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.
Speaking to broadcaster Fern Britton, Blair insisted that ousting Hussein had improved the situation in Iraq by laying the foundation for a more democratic country. He described the upcoming Iraqi elections as “probably the single most significant thing that’s happened to that region for many years.”
“I can’t really think we’d be better with him and his two sons still in charge,” Blair said of Hussein.
The title of that article above, from the LA Times, is titled: WMD Not Point Of Iraq War.
Of course it wasn’t. It was One of MANY reasons for that war, one of which….and the most important in my opinion…was Saddam’s support of terrorists. After 9/11 we could not allow this tyrant to continue to support our enemies while thumbing his nose at the entire world for the previous 13 years. As the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Phase II investigation report on pre-war Iraq Intelligence stated:
Conclusion 10: Statements in the major speeches analyzed, as well additional statements, regarding Iraq’s support for terrorist groups other than al-Qa’ida were substantiated by intelligence information. The intelligence community reported regularly on Iraq’s safe harbor and financial support for Palestinian rejectionist groups, the Abu Nidal Organization, and others. The February 2002 NIE fully supported the claim that Iraq had, and would continue, to support terrorist groups.
Conclusion 11: Statements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other al-Qa’ida-related terrorist members were substantiated by the intelligence assessments. Intelligence assessments noted Zarqawi’s presence in Iraq and his ability to travel and operate within the country. The intelligence community generally believed that Iraqi intelligence must have known about, and therefore at least tolerated, Zarqawi’s presence in the country.
Conclusion 12: Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa’ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa’ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence. Intelligence assessments, including multiple CIA reports and the November 2002 NIE, dismissed the claim that Iraq and al-Qa’ida were cooperating partners. According to an undisputed INR footnote in the NIE, there was no intelligence information that supported the claim that Iraq would provide weapons of mass destruction to al-Qa’ida. The credibility of the principal intelligence source behind the claim that Iraq had provided al-Qa’ida with biological and chemical weapons training was regularly questioned by DIA, and later by the CIA. The Committee repeats its conclusion from a prior report that “assessments were inconsistent regarding the likelihood that Saddam Hussein provided chemical and biological weapons (CBW) training to al_Qa’ida.”
Amendment 119 – strike the above conclusion and insert
Conclusion 12: Statements by the President and Secretary Powell that Iraq had provided al-Qa’ida with weapons training were supported by the intelligence. Numerous intelligence assessments stated that Iraq had provided al-Qa’ida with weapons training and specifically training in poisons and gases. While some DIA reports raised questions about the credibility of this reporting and one CIA report noted that the source may have exaggerated his reporting in a separate area, the CIA did not raise questions about the source’s weapons training reporting and., in fact, provided and approved the use of this language in both the President’s and Secretary’s remarks.
Comments – None of the statements provided in this report suggested or implied that Iraq and al-Qa’ida had “partnership.” Additionally, while there were policymakers who commented that Iraq had provided al-Qa’ida with weapons training, those comments were fully supported by the intelligence. The al-Libi reporting on CBW training was never questioned by the CIA and the information was approved by the CIA for use in both the President’s Cincinnati speech and Powell’s UN speech. In the case of the Powell speech CIA actually provided the information to him to use in the speech in the draft of the speech the CIA wrote. Furthermore, the conclusion as drafted says that intelligence community “assessments were inconsistent” so accordingly, how can the Committee judge policymakers to not have any statements substantiated by the intelligence?
Saddam’s interest in, and support for, non-Iraqi non-state actors was spread across a wide variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic terrorist organizations. For years, Saddam maintained training camps for foreign “fighters” drawn from these diverse groups. In some cases, particularly for Palestinians, Saddam was also a strong financial supporter. Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or that generally shared al Qaeda’s stated goals and objectives.Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al Zawahiri) or that generally shared al Qaeda’s stated goals and objectives.~~~
Captured Iraqi documents have uncovered evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism, including a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist and Islamic terrorist organizations. While these documents do not reveal direct coordination and assistance between the Saddam regime and the al Qaeda network, they do indicate that Saddam was willing to use, albeit cautiously, operatives affiliated with al Qaeda as long as Saddam could have these terrorist-operatives monitored closely. Because Saddam’s security organizations and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearance of and, in some way, a “de facto” link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust. Though the execution of Iraqi terror plots was not always successful, evidence shows that Saddam’s use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime.
The Iraqi Perspectives Project (IPP) review of captured Iraqi documents uncovered strong evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism.
Even more here about the ties.
There was clear evidence Saddam supported terrorists and we could not allow that. No way, no how. I thank god every day we had a few world leaders, like Tony Blair and President Bush, that did what needed to be done to protect our countries.
As for the WMD’s. That same Senate report above concludes that while he may have not had any major amounts of WMD he DID have the intent and capabilities of reconstituting those WMD programs within a short amount of time after sanctions being lifted.
Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990’s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.
Did he have those nukes when we invaded?
If left untouched could he have had a nuke in a short amount of time?
That’s the point.
He supported terrorists and took every step to ensure that he would have WMD within weeks of sanctions being lifted.
Those are the reasons we invaded and why it was the only right, just and smart thing to do.
I will end this post with a portion of President Bush’s speech to the UN in 2002, there were many reasons for the Iraq invasion….and most of the left and our MSM ignores them, instead wailing and gnashing their teeth about WMD. Those possible WMD’s along with Saddam’s support of terrorism made him a “grave and gathering danger”:
In 1991, Security Council Resolution 688 demanded that the Iraqi regime cease at once the repression of its own people, including the systematic repression of minorities — which, the Council said, “threaten(ed) international peace and security in the region.”
This demand goes ignored. Last year, the U.N. Commission on Human rights found that Iraq continues to commit “extremely grave violations” of human rights and that the regime’s repression is “all pervasive.” Tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution, and torture by beating, burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation, and rape. Wives are tortured in front of their husbands; children in the presence of their parents — all of these horrors concealed from the world by the apparatus of a totalitarian state.
In 1991, the U.N. Security Council, through Resolutions 686 and 687, demanded that Iraq return all prisoners from Kuwait and other lands. Iraq’s regime agreed. It broke its promise. Last year the Secretary-General’s high-level coordinator of this issue reported that Kuwaiti, Saudi, Indian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Bahraini, and Omani nationals remain unaccounted for — more than 600 people. One American pilot is among them.
In 1991, the U.N. Security Council, through Resolution 687, demanded the Iraq renounce all involvement with terrorism, and permit no terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq. Iraq’s regime agreed. It broke its promise. In violation of Security Council Resolution 1373, Iraq continues to shelter and support terrorist organization that direct violence against Iran, Israel, and Western governments. Iraqi dissidents abroad are targeted for murder. In 1993, Iraq attempted to assassinate the Emir of Kuwait and a former American President. Iraq’s government openly praised the attacks of September 11th. And al-Qaida terrorists escaped from Afghanistan are known to be in Iraq.~~~
Today, Iraq continues to withhold important information about its unclear program — weapons design, procurement logs, experiment data, an accounting of nuclear materials, and documentation of foreign assistance. Iraq employs capable nuclear scientists and technicians. It retains physical infrastructure needed to build a nuclear weapon. Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year. And Iraq’s state-controlled media has reported numerous meetings between Saddam Hussein and his nuclear scientists, leaving little doubt about his continued appetite for these weapons.
Iraq also possesses a force of Scud-type missiles with ranges beyond the 150 kilometers permitted by the U.N. Work at testing and production facilities shows that Iraq is building more long-range missiles that could inflict mass death throughout the region.
In 1990, after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the world imposed economic sanctions on Iraq. Those sanctions were maintained after the war to compel the regime’s compliance with Security Council resolutions. In time, Iraq was allowed to use oil revenues to buy food. Saddam Hussein has subverted this program, working around the sanctions to buy missile technology and military materials. He blames the suffering of Iraq’s people on the United Nations, even as he uses his oil wealth to build lavish palaces for himself, and arms his country. By refusing to comply with his own agreements, he bears full guilt for the hunger and misery of innocent Iraqi citizens.
In 1991, Iraq promised U.N. inspectors immediate and unrestricted access to verify Iraq’s commitment to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles. Iraq broke this promise, spending seven years deceiving, evading and harassing U.N. inspectors before ceasing cooperation entirely. Just months after the 1991 cease-fire, the Security Council twice renewed its demand that the Iraqi regime cooperate fully with inspectors, “condemning” Iraq’s “serious violations” of its obligations. The Security Council again renewed that demand in 1994 and twice more in 1996, “deploring” Iraq’s “clear violations” of its obligations. The Security Council renewed its demand three more times in 1997, citing “flagrant violations” and three more times in 1998, calling Iraq’s behavior “totally unacceptable.” And in 1999, the demand was renewed yet again.
As we meet today, it has been almost four years since the last U.N. inspectors set foot in Iraq — four years for the Iraqi regime to plan and build and test behind a cloak of secrecy.
We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder even when inspectors were in the country. Are we to assume that he stopped when they left? The history, the logic and the facts lead to one conclusion. Saddam Hussein’s regime is a
grave and gathering danger.
To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence. To assume this regime’s good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk we must not take.
Delegates to the General Assembly: We have been more than patient. We have tried sanctions. We have tried the carrot of “oil for food” and the stick of coalition military strikes. But Saddam Hussein has defied all these efforts and continues to develop weapons of mass destruction. The first time we may be completely certain he has nuclear weapons is when, God forbid, he uses one. We owe it to all our citizens to do everything in our power to prevent that day from coming.
The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations, and a threat to peace. Iraq has answered a decade of U.N. demands with a decade of defiance. All the world now faces a test and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding or will it be irrelevant?~~~
Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause and a great strategic goal. The people of Iraq deserve it and the security of all nations requires it. Free societies do not intimidate through cruelty and conquest and open societies do not threaten the world with mass murder. The United States supports political and economic liberty in a unified Iraq.
We can harbor no illusions. Saddam Hussein attacked Iran in 1980, and Kuwait in 1990. He has fired ballistic missiles at Iran, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel. His regime once ordered the killing of every person between the ages of 15 and 70 in certain Kurdish villages in Northern Iraq. He has gassed many Iranians and 40 Iraqi villages.