• Hi Guest: Welcome to TRIBE, the online home of TRIBE MAGAZINE. If you'd like to post here, or reply to existing posts on TRIBE, you first have to register. Join us!

Blair admits weapons of mass destruction may never be found

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
Blair admits weapons of mass destruction may never be found

· PM shows first doubts on central reason for war
· Asked was he wrong on WMD, he says: 'I don't know'

Sarah Hall, Richard Norton-Taylor and Julian Borger in Washington
Monday January 12, 2004
The Guardian

Tony Blair yesterday signalled that weapons of mass destruction may never be found in Iraq, in his first admission of fallibility over the central justification he gave for going to war with Iraq.

In his most downbeat assessment of the contentious issue so far, the prime minister said he did not know whether WMD would be unearthed, and conceded that this flew in the face of widespread initial expectations.

"I do not know is the answer," he admitted. "I believe that we will but I agree there were many people who thought we were going to find this in the course of the actual operation ... We just have to wait and see".

The prime minister's admission - the latest shift in a gradual lowering of expectations - came in a wide-ranging interview on BBC 1's Breakfast with Frost programme.

Asked by the veteran broadcaster if the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction - the basis on which he took the country to war - was wrong, he replied: "Well, you can't say that at this point in time".

He said that he had acted on intelligence on Saddam Hussein's programmes, and stressed that, throughout the conflict, the chief of defence staff, General Sir Michael Walker, had also believed this.

"The chief of defence staff and other people were saying well, we think we might have potential WMD finds here or there. Now these things didn't actually come to anything in the end - but I don't know is the answer."

Mr Blair's uncharacteristically flat response, in an interview in which he was bullish about top-up fees and the Hutton inquiry, spoke volumes about his diminishing certainty that WMD would be found. He pointedly failed to refer to the weekend discovery of 36 shells containing chemical agents in the Iraq desert north of Basra, believed to be remnants from the Iran-Iraq war.

The prime minister's admission of doubt marks a significant shift in his public stance on the weapons issue.

In September 2002, he told the Commons that "Saddam's weapons of mass destruction programme is active, detailed and growing", a stance with which he persisted as he took the nation to war in March last year.

As recently as last June, he told MPs he had "no doubt" they would "find the clearest possible evidence of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction", though he watered down this claim to "WMD programmes" the following month.

But with the Iraq Survey Group which is leading the hunt reporting in September that it had uncovered no weapons of mass destruction, he slid further, to speaking about evidence of "clandestine laboratories".

A similar erosion of confidence has been evident within the intelligence community. "There may be small quantities, and maybe not," a well-placed Whitehall official said yesterday, in stark contrast to the note struck by the joint intelligence committee and MI6 before, during and immediately after the war.

Britain's intelligence community now realise they face a huge credibility problem which could have far-reaching and damaging consequences already manifested by the widespread scepticism that greeted the decision over the new year to cancel British Airways flights to the US.

Senior Whitehall officials are now falling back on the argument that ministers, in their determination to go to war, should never have relied so much on intelligence in the first place.

Intelligence, they say, is almost always a question of assessment and judgment, and not hard facts.

That should have been clear when the government published its Iraqi weapons dossier in September 2002, they imply.

Political opponents reacted to Mr Blair's shift in ground with a mixture of bemusement and derision.

"Once again Tony Blair is hedging his bets," said the shadow foreign secretary, Michael Ancram. "The prime minister should come clean, and explain whether his previous claim to have evidence of weapons of mass destruction was yet another fabrication, and if not what that evidence was."

Paul Keetch, the Liberal Democrat defence spokesman, said it was "disingenuous" to blame intelligence reports when the prime minister had taken the decision to embark on the conflict. "Intelligence is not an exact science. But if he is now saying he's unsure whether there were WMD or not, one would have assumed that uncertainty would have been apparent at the time," he said.

The Labour backbencher Jeremy Corbyn, a fierce opponent of the war, described Mr Blair's shift in language as "ridiculous".

"Ten months ago, he told us that he was absolutely certain there were weapons of mass destruction. He's now saying ... they might not find them. This is ridiculous. We were taken to war on the basis there was a real threat."

The admission of doubt is particularly significant for Mr Blair because, unlike President George Bush, he put WMD, rather than regime change, at the centre of his justification for war.

Mr Blair must now brace himself for the Hutton report into the death of the Iraqi arms specialist Dr David Kelly, which is expected by the end of the month. Yesterday, he vowed he would not hide from any criticisms - a charge put by the Conservative leader, Michael Howard.

It would be absurd for him not to respond to the report on the day it was published, he said, though he refused to confirm he would lead the debate in the Commons a week later.

"I can assure you I have no intention of hiding away from this at all," he said. "On the contrary, I am enthusiastic about being at long last able to debate these issues on the basis of an objective, independent judgment by a judge, rather than speculation."

Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Boss Hog
Iraq body count: January 12, 2004

Reported Iraqi Civilian Deaths:



damn another 199 - 232 and I'll have to start giving a damn. I believe I set the number as 10,000 originally didn't I?

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
Excuses should be found after the war not before hand. Bush and Blair made the ultimate mistake by justifying an invasion before it happened. You don't do this, you create a violation you invade and then you justify. Doing it the other way around always makes you a liar.

Reasons for invading Iraq should have been trivial to fabricate. And this is why I don't believe that Spet 11 was staged. If Bush were capable of fabricating a reason than i would have been far more efficent and effective than the bs he was forced to use. WMD and links to terrorism were pretty bad reasons in my opinion. Personally I think they should have simply caused Iraq to appear to be in violation of the 91 cease fire, prove that a jet (or create the proof) violated the no fly zone. Prove that oil was being illegally shipped violating the embargo. Hell prove anything that you can to justify the initial attack and then simply go to far.

Many things that Saddam did (for instance burrying jets in the desert) would have been effective undewr the guise that I suggest. They would have strengthened the case more and more. Where as now Bush has a specific detail that he is now forced to provide proof for. Its impossible, any evidance that is found is to valuable a resource to allow to become public.

If for instance parts were found for a centerfuge. It would be in the CIA's and militaries best interests to keep there mouthes shut. They gain more by finding where they came from, how they were shipped, who shipped them than they do by using the evidance as justification. By mak9ing what they find public they only create incentives for the groups that were involved to hide in better ways, by looking ignorant they hide there hands much better.

Personally I believe that if Blair and Bush actually founf any evidance of WMD it would be best for there military and inteligance to keep quite. This inheritly makes the war complicated in that victory is in the end a defeat because of perspective.

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
It's never been my belief that the US "staged" 9/11... I think they saw it coming and welcomed the attack so they could milk it for all it was worth. If they saw it coming and did what they could to ensure that it happened effectively, then that is still complicity. To this day, more and more evidence points toward that.

"We need a good excuse to attack Iraq".

"We're going to be attacked in a few months."