Is the question of the legality of the war missing?

Here’s a point I hadn’t thought of ( there are some). The Chilcott inquiry isn’t competent to rule on the legality of the Iraq war, according to a set of unnamed judicial figures and other lawyers the Guardian’s legal affairs corr has talked to. This is sure to be hotly debated and Chilcott himself will have to give an answer in one of the early public sessions which start today.. Is there a hint here that one of the sources is no less than Lord Bingham, the retired senior law lord ( if he were still in harness he’d be the President of the new Supreme Court)? A big pillar of the establishment but no government lackey, he said last year that the invasion was “a serious violation of international law.” Chilcott’s defence must be that his requirement of full disclosure of all the documents and other evidence relating to legality – the head of the foreign office’s legal department resigned over it – will allow people to make up their own minds. But it’s an unsettling thought, I agree.

  • wild turkey

    Brian

    Legality with respect to Chilcott, requires in any effective sense the ability to define and name culprits, assign blame and responsibility, and recommend effective sanctions (ie imprisonment, fines, the guillotine)

    on the evidence and documents issue, if you visit the Chilcott website, evidence does not currently include any documentation. Documentation which could, just possibly, lead to effective questioning and cross-examination of some of the lies/distortions which may be put about in the course of hearings

    I just heard a twisted, gross and bizarre sound. it was not jedward.

    it was a QC assuring Tony Blair that he has nothing to worry about save to where he puts his money after lectures and articles in 2 years time commenting on the Chilcott ‘Inquiry’

  • Jimmy Sands

    Assuming a finding of illegality, then what?

    In the real world that is.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Brian

    I wouldn’t normally mention it, but as we’re going to be talking a lot more about the Iraq Inquiry, ‘Chilcot’ only has one ‘t’.

    On the substance of the post, I suspect that there will be a little rapping of the knuckles, but not too much pain for the government. I can’t imagine Blair eating humble pie, but if he were to, it might satisfy enough people. Since the Tories backed the war, I doubt if there’s the political will for anything other than probable whitewash.

  • Jimmy

    Agree 100% with the first post by wildturkey.

    Just as in the enquiries of Dr. Kelly and Jean Charles de Menezes, Bloody Sunday, I can see no other outcome than a tacit and light response of ‘We were perhaps wrong, lets learn from these lessons’. Will Blair and others be held accountable? No, Will Chilcott have the full evidence? again No. The usual Whitewash will prevail.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    It is actually worse than doing nothing.

    It’s like asking the family of a man who has just murdered someone to hold a full and unbiased enquiry into the killing – and it just offers another smokescreen and further obfuscation by overload with irrlevant and massively detailed material.

    Everybody knows from the absolute piles of evidence, including 2 eye witnsesses in the cabinet (Cook and herself from South Armagh) that there was no basis for this war and it is those who decided to go to war, voted for it and continued to defnd it i.e. most of the Labour party, all of the Tory Party and presumably all Unionists(is this correct?) who should be brought to account.

    A few funny guys from Oxbridge in dark glasses and tweeds will take some of the wrap but will quickly be replaced with others prepared to do what’s necessary for the Queen or whatever the jibber-jabber is and the ciriticsm of Blair will not bother him unduly when he kneels down at night to say his newly learned Hail Mary’s.

  • Fabianus

    I know very little about such legal niceties but what’s the position of the next of kin of soldiers who died in Iraq?

    In the event that Chilcot declares the war illegal can, say, the parents of a dead soldier sue the state for negligence? If that’s the case then there could be some almighty big awards in damages paid out.

    But as Jimmy Sands reminds us above, this would only apply in the real world.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    IWSMWDI: “Everybody knows from the absolute piles of evidence, including 2 eye witnsesses in the cabinet (Cook and herself from South Armagh) that there was no basis for this war and it is those who decided to go to war, voted for it and continued to defnd it i.e. most of the Labour party, all of the Tory Party and presumably all Unionists(is this correct?) who should be brought to account.”

    Actually, Sammy, the first Iraq war never really ended, legally — there was a cease-fire, not a treaty or surrender. As such, if you want to be technical, the Iraq was is as legal as sea salt, on the basis of the Iraqi breaches of the terms of the ceasefire. Not that that was the argument they made to justify the war, granted, but it wouldn’t surprise me that, if this inquiry actually threatened to grow some teeth, that this argument wouldn’t float to the surface.

    Fabianus: “In the event that Chilcot declares the war illegal can, say, the parents of a dead soldier sue the state for negligence? If that’s the case then there could be some almighty big awards in damages paid out.”

    Could they sue? Sure — all they’d need is a lawyer willing to take their money. Would they have a real case that would stand up in court? Probably not.

  • 6countyprod

    Around 100 million people were murdered by a series of communist regimes in the twentieth century and there’s nary a word about it.

    On the other hand, 50 million Muslims are liberated from murderous, despotic dictators by Bush and Blair and some people are screaming for an inquiry to find out if it was done legally?

    My goodness, what a crazy, pathetic world we live in!

  • Fabianus

    6countyprod

    “On the other hand, 50 million Muslims are liberated from murderous, despotic dictators by Bush and Blair and some people are screaming for an inquiry to find out if it was done legally?”

    Yes, that’s because we’re supposed to be the good guys. And unlike the people living in the communists regimes we have the power to call our leaders to account. In theory at least.

    We can’t say (yet) with certainty that Bush wanted to go into Iraq come what may but it’s looking increasingly like that was the case. It also seems to me that Saddam could have been toppled by means other than invasion. After all, when the CIA wish to “take out” an individual they send in a crack team or mastermind an internal coup. They did it in 1954 in Guatemala and it’s possible they did it in Honduras in June of this year.

    Could they have done it in Iraq? I don’t doubt it. Saddam had many enemies who’d have been very willing to assist in his overthrow. Those hundreds of thousands of Iraqis didn’t have to die, the country didn’t have to be destroyed and millions made homeless.

    And our armed forces, some 150 at the last count, certainly didn’t have to die.

  • joeCanuck

    I don’t doubt for a moment that there will be a whitewash a la Widgery.
    You have to give them credit for something; the British Establishment are experts at that.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fabianus: “We can’t say (yet) with certainty that Bush wanted to go into Iraq come what may but it’s looking increasingly like that was the case. It also seems to me that Saddam could have been toppled by means other than invasion. After all, when the CIA wish to “take out” an individual they send in a crack team or mastermind an internal coup. They did it in 1954 in Guatemala and it’s possible they did it in Honduras in June of this year.”

    In order, Bush, like as not, had targeted Iraq, for reasons both good and bad — I’m certain that it was considered unfinished business on a couple fronts, for example. Saddam built himself a box, putting himself between Iraq and a hard place. He had to come clean re: WMD if he wanted out from under sanctions, but needed to convince the Iranian mullahocracy that he had WMD to keep them out of his yard, so to speak.

    “Crack CIA team” has been up there with “jumbo shrimp” and “military intelligence” since at *LEAST* the Carter administration — the travails of the CIA and their various efforts against Castro makes even that late date being questionable.

  • Fabianus

    Dread Cthulhu

    I’m with you on the Castro efforts but isn’t every country/scenario unique? I think we can say with near certainty that the CIA toppled Guzman in 1954. It’s disputable that they helped to oust Zelaya this year but that isn’t my point.

    My point is that it wouldn’t have taken a Machiavellian mind to have concocted a plot to dispose of Saddam Hussein. He wasn’t that clever, as we learned in the end, just as his “invincible” Imperial Guard proved to be nothing of the sort.

    No, take it all around George Bush is a war criminal, and Tony Blair possibly. Will they be prosecuted? Hell no. They’ll live out the remainder of their vile lives in wealth and splendour, admired and respected by the less discerning among us. This is the way of the world.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Fabianus,

    presumably under you world-view the Tories are guilty of supporting a war criminal as they were in favour of the war irrespective of any dodgy dossier.

    The incoming Tory government is arguably to the right of the current Amercian administration.

    Anti-Europe, pro-war – jaysus knows what PoshBoyDC would get up to in Irealnd if we didnt have the GFA to keep him in line.

  • RepublicanStones

    I expect the black markers are being ordered in preperation for the report as we speak.

  • 6countyprod

    Guys, guys, guys,

    It was not just a matter of removing one man, as the ensuing Sunni uprising proved. The whole oppressive system had to be replaced.

    Let’s not forget, as most liberal journalists and bloggers consciously do, that a mere twenty percent of the Iraq population had for decades imposed its authority over the country by sheer terror and wholesale slaughter of the Shia and Kurd populations. That has now ended, thanks to Bush and Blair.

    As for the CIA being involved in Honduras: Get a grip! Obama was absolutely PO’d that one of his potential-dictator, leftwing, Chavez-loving buddies in central America had been removed from power by an alert Honduran Congress, Supreme Court and military. (or maybe you think the CIA were trying to undermine Obama, lol)

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    6countyProd,

    re. “Let’s not forget, as most liberal journalists and bloggers consciously do, that a mere twenty percent of the Iraq population had for decades imposed its authority over the country by sheer terror and wholesale slaughter of the Shia and Kurd populations. That has now ended, thanks to Bush and Blair.”

    ..and guess which power crazy counntry set that little arrangement up? (UK)

    ..and guess which irresponsible countries supplied the weapons? (US & UK)

  • Judas Priest

    ‘..and guess which irresponsible countries supplied the weapons? (US & UK) ‘

    actually if you ever bothered to check things out, nearly all Iraqi weaponry was of Russian/French (and some Chinese) origin.

  • 6countyprod

    Thanks, JP. You beat me to it. Bang goes another liberal fabrication!

  • 6countyprod

    For the record: Who armed Iraq?

  • Fabianus

    Sammy

    “presumably under you world-view the Tories are guilty of supporting a war criminal as they were in favour of the war irrespective of any dodgy dossier.”

    Not only under my world-view. They most certainly are guilty.

    “The incoming Tory government is arguably to the right of the current Amercian administration.”

    I ain’t arguing. And your point?

    6countyprod

    “It was not just a matter of removing one man, as the ensuing Sunni uprising proved. The whole oppressive system had to be replaced.”

    No, Saddam gave a face and leadership to the Sunnis, who’d been at loggerheads with the Shi’as since Mohammed was an OAP. There has always been strife in Mesopotamia—it’s where our civilisation came from so do the sums.

    “As for the CIA being involved in Honduras: Get a grip!”

    I was careful to say it was possible. But the Guatemala incident is historical fact. No doubt there are many more but the USA is adept at covering its tracks.

    This is not to say I’m anti-American. I’m simply wondering why the CIA couldn’t have told Bush he was out of his depth and that they’d sort out Saddam.

  • NCM

    6countyprod, I wish I could still believe the worldview that you apparently do — but it is dangerous fantasy. We would be much better off getting out of the meddling in the internal affairs of others business and building a just society at home. We would likely find that the tyrants and dictators that we build up one decade and throw down the next will crumble on their own accord if we just stop creating the conditions that drive them into power and keep them there.

    Who armed Iran? Who armed Afghanistan? The more we play realpolitik, the deeper we dig the world into viciousness, ourselves included.

  • Fabianus

    NCM

    Good and healthy comment!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fabianus: “My point is that it wouldn’t have taken a Machiavellian mind to have concocted a plot to dispose of Saddam Hussein. He wasn’t that clever, as we learned in the end, just as his “invincible” Imperial Guard proved to be nothing of the sort.”

    Sure, but after HW’s betrayal of the Shia and the Kurds following Sandbox I, they’d have been hard pressed to find sturdy natives that would trust them. The CIA can do good work when they have a mind to, but they need folks in country. Castro was the beginning of the end, while the Carter years was damn near a stake through the heart, due to the new restrictions on intelligence operations — look at the goat-screw Mr. Peanut and the boys made of the hostage rescue in Iran. Rather than treat the operation as a serious operation, Jimmy allowed them to treat it like the Special Olympics, where everyone gets a medal, with predictable results.

  • Wilde Rover

    NCM,

    “6countyprod, I wish I could still believe the worldview that you apparently do—but it is dangerous fantasy. We would be much better off getting out of the meddling in the internal affairs of others business and building a just society at home. We would likely find that the tyrants and dictators that we build up one decade and throw down the next will crumble on their own accord if we just stop creating the conditions that drive them into power and keep them there.

    Who armed Iran? Who armed Afghanistan? The more we play realpolitik, the deeper we dig the world into viciousness, ourselves included.”

    You beat me to it Fabianus.

    Well put NCM.

  • Fabianus

    Dread Cthulhu

    “Jimmy allowed them to treat it like the Special Olympics”

    Whoops. You ain’t from around here, are you boy?

    Otherwise you’d know that the words “Jimmy” and “Special Olympics” sit uncomfortably together.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    6countyprod,

    The UK and the US in Iraq.

    The British set up the unstable state of Iraq. The RAF itself is ‘alleged’ to have used chemical weapons against the rebelling Kurds – what is not in dispute is that they bombed them and other Iraqis into submission. There was of course the little matter of recently discovered oil to be considered. No doubt Sadam would have approved.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/apr/19/iraq.arts

    Regarding US military support for Iraq – are you suggesting the US did not militiarily support Saddam? Dont tell me both the Senate and House of Representatives are part of a liberal/lefty plot as well?

    From Wiki.

    “The United States supported Iraq during the Iran–Iraq War as a counterbalance to post-revolutionary Iran. This support included several billion dollars worth of economic aid, the sale of dual-use technology, non-U.S. origin weaponry, military intelligence, Special Operations training, and direct involvement in warfare against Iran as well.[3][4]

    Support from the U.S. for Iraq was not a secret and was frequently discussed in open session of the Senate and House of Representatives, although the public and news media paid little attention. On June 9, 1992, Ted Koppel reported on ABC’s Nightline, “It is becoming increasingly clear that George Bush, operating largely behind the scenes throughout the 1980s, initiated and supported much of the financing, intelligence, and military help that built Saddam’s Iraq into” the power it became”,[5] and “Reagan/Bush administrations permitted – and frequently encouraged – the flow of money, agricultural credits, dual-use technology, chemicals, and weapons to Iraq.”[6]

  • 6countyprod

    I am surprised at you, Sammy. Quoting Wikipedia, really?

    If I were so inclined I could go on there right now to adjust and pad some of those ‘facts’ to make them more suitable to my point of view.

    Anyone who depends on Wikipedia for their ‘facts’ in controversial issues need their head examined.

    Obviously you didn’t read the link I provided earlier, ‘Who armed Iraq?’ which clearly details who actually provided the hardware. Read it right now, you might learn something. Here’s a taster:

    ‘…during the Iran-Iraq war the U.S. supplied Iraq with something much more valuable than guns: satellite information on when and where the Iranians were going to attack.

    Of course, current anti-war activists seize this piece of information without putting it into historical context. The information was supplied during the height of the Cold War. The main threat to America was the Soviet Union and the biggest fear in the Gulf was the Ayatollah Khomeini.

    You remember the chant “death to America”? It almost seems that the ayatollah invented it. Ironically, the Ayatollah made his way to Tehran from his home in exile – Paris.

    The Reagan administration, aware that the Iranian ayatollah had threatened to turn the Gulf into a sea of fire, assisted Saddam so that he would not lose the war. The assistance stopped short of helping Saddam win the war.

    In fact, when it appeared the Iraqis were on the verge of victory, the Reagan administration transferred real weapons to the Iranians. The infamous Iran-Contra scandal involved a large number of badly needed U.S. TOW anti-tank missiles that were sold to Iran.

    The U.S. missiles proved to be critical to the Iranian defense against Iraq’s superior Russian tank force. The result was a stalemate and the war ended.’

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    6countprod,

    I used Wiki becuase it is simple and the references were extensive and easily checked in one google search (house of representatives iran iraq war) I got this – no doubt more liberal/lefty nonsense?

    http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/congress/1992/h920519l.htm

    I had read yer man’s report it does not rule out supplying money or foreign weapons themselves – bit of pin head dancing to avoid the substantive issue methinks.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fabianus: “Whoops. You ain’t from around here, are you boy?”

    Never claimed to be… and, if you’re worried about things being politically correct, I just gotta ask, who you callin’ “boy?”

  • joeCanuck

    We’re only into day 2 and already it is clear from quoted documentation that the evidence for WMD was extremely shaky to say the least and that there was no connection between the Iraqi regime and Al Quida.
    Still, my forecast of a whitewash stands.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Still, my forecast of a whitewash stands.

    We call it a ‘widgery’ in these here parts.

    What will be interesting, will be if the report(and perhaps Labour framed it that way) concludes that there was no basis for the war if the dossier is shown as we already know it to be as dodgy as dodgy thing what has been to Oxford University to study dodginess. In that event that would put the Tories in the firing line as they wanted a War irrespective of dossiers dodgy or otherwise.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    joeCanuck: “We’re only into day 2 and already it is clear from quoted documentation that the evidence for WMD was extremely shaky to say the least and that there was no connection between the Iraqi regime and Al Quida.”

    You’re a little over the top, but only a little.

    Saddam put himself in a box. If he came completely clean and showed himself to be without any WMD capacity, he’d telegraph weakness to Iran. However, if he built up WMD, he’d incur the wrath of the West. So Saddam sought to navigate a course of strategic ambiguity, doing just enough to appease the West and not so much as to encourage the Iranians.

    There were some violations of the terms of the ceasefire — missiles with too excessive a range, some old stocks reported as destroyed that turned up, some items that were destroyed by not documented, etc. The good news for Saddam is that the strategy worked — it kept the Iranians off his back. On the down side, it failed, insofar as he kept things sufficiently murky that even the folks who disagreed with the war were firmly convinced that Hussein had WMD and used that capability as part of their argument against the war.

    As for Al-Qaeda, I would remind you that they are not the only terrorist organization in the world. Saddam was involved in Palestinian terrorism, including paying the bounties for suicide bombers.

  • joeCanuck

    We call it a ‘widgery’ in these here parts.

    I did mention that, Sammy, in my quoted post.

  • joeCanuck

    Good explanation of the situation, Dread. I accept what you say.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    joeCanuck: “Good explanation of the situation, Dread. I accept what you say. ”

    And I will be the first one to agree that, while other arguments were available (and, indeed, in some cases, made) to support going to war, the one that that were stressed the most yielded mostly dry-holes.

  • 6countyprod

    Initially the vast majority of politicians in the UK and US backed the war, but when it took so long to bring the (unexpected) insurgency under control, some, including those who had been the most vociferous in their support of the war aims, chickened out. If one is culpable, then they all are, including this string of Democratic politicians.

  • joeCanuck

    Regarding the possibility of simply assassinating Saddam, Jimmy Carter issued an Executive Order to the CIA forbidding them from participating in or in any way supporting “wet” operations.
    Anyone know if George W rescinded that?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    joeCanuck: “Regarding the possibility of simply assassinating Saddam, Jimmy Carter issued an Executive Order to the CIA forbidding them from participating in or in any way supporting “wet” operations.”

    More than that, joe… Jimmy forbade HUMINT efforts that involved anything less than choir-boys.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    6countyprod,

    I take you now accept that the US poured millions into Iraqi coffers for military spend during the Iran-Iraq war?

    some/many politicans actually believed what their Prime Minister was telling them i.e. Iraq was a threat and then changed their minds when it became obvious that he was telling porkies.

    Other didnt like the casualty rate and then changed their minds.

    Of course the Tories supported it anyway as I presume so did most Ulster Unionist MPs and still dont accept that the US and UK should have taken a different path?

    The Tories should explain to us all if they have changed their minds about the war and admit they were wrong, especially given that there is a Westminster election looming – so people will know that if and when they are elected, whether they might decide to, in similar conditions, go off on another crazy military adventure.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    IWSMWDI: “Of course the Tories supported it anyway as I presume so did most Ulster Unionist MPs and still dont accept that the US and UK should have taken a different path?”

    A more likely explanation for the initial vote is that the both the opposition parties didn’t want to give the appearance of weakness. As a curiousity, how badly did those who were “for the war before they were against it” torture the language in their initial explanations for their change of heart?

  • Fabianus

    Dread Cthulhu

    “Whoops. You ain’t from around here, are you boy?”

    Never claimed to be… and, if you’re worried about things being politically correct, I just gotta ask, who you callin’ “boy?”

    I knew you were based in America (though not West Virginia) but wondered whether you were familiar with the recent Jimmy Carr debacle.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fabianus: “I knew you were based in America (though not West Virginia) but wondered whether you were familiar with the recent Jimmy Carr debacle. ”

    Which one? After a while, they tend to run together… that said, the last “Special Olympics” gaffe I am aware of was Barak Obama and his bowling comment and the last Jimmy Carter gaffe was his defense of his handling of the hostage crisis.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Dread Cthulhu,

    re. “As a curiousity, how badly did those who were “for the war before they were against it” torture the language in their initial explanations for their change of heart? ”

    Sometimes, even when you have a valid point the complexity of the position makes it extremely difficult to communicate that – given that some politicans actually believed Blair (and perhaps more importantly for the people the Sun) then this is an example of same.

    But, having said that it is a bit of a waste of time being restrospectively against something – and it does certainly sounds a bit convoluted.

  • RepublicanStones

    Dread’s 03:51 PM is reasonable enough, though i doubt everyone who opposed the war believed Saddam had WMD’s. Of course, he wouldn’t have just wanted to chestpuff for the sake of the Iranians, another little state to his west may have influenced his posturing.

    That said, anyone who tries to paint the Iraq war as being a ‘nobel’ act of bringing freedom to the Iraqi masses needs a head examination.

  • Fabianus

    Dread Cthulhu

    Fabianus: “I knew you were based in America (though not West Virginia) but wondered whether you were familiar with the recent Jimmy Carr debacle. “

    Which one?

    You’re doubtless unfamiliar with a neat little gadget we have over here in Europe. It’s called a “search engine”. The biggest one is called Google (I know, I know, somebody’s jokey spelling of googol).

    If you go to google.com, key in “Jimmy Carr special olympics”, it magically points you to 12,000 pages that may be relevant.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Lord, y’all have gotten pretty politically correct over there, Fabianus. Comedians make bad calls all the time — I mean, hey, it isn’t like he’s the President of the United States making Special Olympics jokes.

    Not sure what this has to do with Jimmy Carter and his complete lack of understanding of operational integrity, tho…

  • Dread Cthulhu

    RS: “Dread’s 03:51 PM is reasonable enough, though i doubt everyone who opposed the war believed Saddam had WMD’s. Of course, he wouldn’t have just wanted to chestpuff for the sake of the Iranians, another little state to his west may have influenced his posturing.”

    Israel would be a lesser consideration, not an existential threat to Iraq or the Hussein regime. Iran was both.

    RS: “That said, anyone who tries to paint the Iraq war as being a ‘nobel’ act of bringing freedom to the Iraqi masses needs a head examination. ”

    Every war is a great many things, RS — like the proverbial elephant and the blind men, it is all a matter of your vantage point. Sadly, the world didn’t have the vision or the stomach to dispose of Hussein at the time of Sandbox I, which invited an almost inevitable sequel, esp. in light of Hussein’s support of terrorism, his violations of the ceasefire and the like.

    As for the belief in WMD, most of the political opposition, at least on the level of nation-states, made reference to the Hussein having the materials — hell, given the amount of NBC gear recovered from overrun Iraqi units, it would seem that they were of the belief that they had it and had every intention of deploying it.

  • RepublicanStones

    Dread considering the coalition troops were issued NBC gear as well, I think it reasonable to suggest that the Iraqi troops also had a fear of it being deployed against them, no doubt the regime would have told them as much.

    To portray the presence of such equipment as solely for nefarious means by the Iraqis when the coalition had similar gear isn’t really fair.

    As regards Israel, Saddam would no doubt have been aware of Israel and its supporters pushing for regime change.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    RS: “Dread considering the coalition troops were issued NBC gear as well, I think it reasonable to suggest that the Iraqi troops also had a fear of it being deployed against them, no doubt the regime would have told them as much.”

    And if you believe that, you’ll like as not in the habit of buying bridges — no first use policy since the mid-forties, or perhaps you’ve forgotten.

    RS: “To portray the presence of such equipment as solely for nefarious means by the Iraqis when the coalition had similar gear isn’t really fair.”

    Really? Of the nations involved in the conflict, which was the one with a track-record of using chemical weapons, not merely against its enemies, but against its own populace? Bombastic threats of chemical death carried from its missiles against its enemies?

    RS: “As regards Israel, Saddam would no doubt have been aware of Israel and its supporters pushing for regime change. ”

    Sure, but Israel itself wasn’t an existential threat to Iraq. They might complain and advocate regime change, but weren’t going to be arsed to do it themselves, starting with the simple equation that Iraq was in a far weaker position if Israel stayed out of the direct conflict than if they got involved.

  • Fabianus

    The Daily Mail carries a great article today by General Michael Rose*.

    It’s entitled Why I believe Blair should stand trial – and even face charges for war crimes.

    Worth reading as he’s a military expert.

    *General Sir Michael Rose was commander of UN peacekeeping forces in Bosnia. He is shortly to appear as a witness in the Karadzic war crimes trial in The Hague.

  • RepublicanStones

    And if you believe that, you’ll like as not in the habit of buying bridges—no first use policy since the mid-forties, or perhaps you’ve forgotten.

    Sure Dread, Saddam wouldn’t have told his troops the allies might use such weapons.

    Really? Of the nations involved in the conflict, which was the one with a track-record of using chemical weapons, not merely against its enemies, but against its own populace? Bombastic threats of chemical death carried from its missiles against its enemies?

    Yep, that means the yanks were going to drop the bomb as well. As i said, to portray the presence of NBC suits as SOLELY nefarious isn’t fair.
    As this report demonstrates.

    Andy Oppenheimer, an expert on chemical and biological weapons with Jane’s Information Group, said there could feasibly be a number of reasons for Iraq keeping suits, although Mr Hoon’s interpretation was the most obvious.

    He told BBC News Online: “Everybody is trying to find the smoking gun that wasn’t found earlier.

    “There’s an outside chance [the Iraqis] were preparing for somebody else to use weapons on their troops.

    “But neither the US or Britain is supposed to have any of those weapons.”

    But Mr Oppenheimer said the US was known to have agents that could incapacitate troops.

    He added: “You could say the Iraqis want to make it look like they could use a chemical weapon. It could be part of the policy of producing as much disruption as they can.”

  • Dread Cthulhu

    RS: “Sure Dread, Saddam wouldn’t have told his troops the allies might use such weapons.”

    And, having fought them in Sandbox I and on and off with the conflict re: no-fly zones, with nary a chemical, biological or nuclear warhead deployed, what *rational* basis would they have for believing him?

    You’re grasping at straws to support a wall-eyed comment that has no rational basis.

    As for your rest, I notice you neatly trimmed Mr. Hoon’s “most obvious” interpretation…

    ““There’s an outside chance [the Iraqis] were preparing for somebody else to use weapons on their troops.”

    You do know that an “outside chance” mean “longshot,” yes?

    AND…

    “He added: “You could say the Iraqis want to make it look like they could use a chemical weapon. It could be part of the policy of producing as much disruption as they can.”

    Which would a part of an ambiguity strategy meant to suggest that they had possession of NBC weaponry. Thank you for supporting my thesis that the Iraqis were actively trying to project that they had chemical weaponry in their possession. Added to this was the placement of pesticides near artillery and rocket positions would further reinforce this ambiguity, as sarin is a derivative / generational descendant of tabun, which either was or was derived from pesticides in Germany.

    So, of the three scenarios your fella creates, 1) The obvious — the Iraqis had chemical weapons, 2) the outside chance — they expected to be on the receiving end of these weapons or 3) that the Iraqis were bluffing, you’re going to run with the outside chance, since it suits your political and ideological preferences, despite the two more likely scenarios, per the source you cite, run counter to the argument you’re making…

    Interesting strategy ya got there, RS…

  • RepublicanStones

    And, having fought them in Sandbox I and on and off with the conflict re: no-fly zones, with nary a chemical, biological or nuclear warhead deployed, what *rational* basis would they have for believing him?

    Right, Dread, so every army in the modern world who trains in counter NBC drills is irrational. The Iraqis are too dumb to think of little things like prevetative measures….bit of an orientalist are we?

    As for your rest, I notice you neatly trimmed Mr. Hoon’s “most obvious” interpretation

    Trimmed? dread if i wanted to trim anything, i wouldn’t have quoted the part with Hoon at all. You disagreed with me when i stated to portray the presence of NBC gear as solely nefarious was unfair. And that report demonstrates the same.

    Thank you for supporting my thesis that the Iraqis were actively trying to project that they had chemical weaponry in their possession.

    Dread, yet again, I’ll remind you. I said to portray the presence of NBC suits as solely for nefarious means wasn’t fair. The report from the BBC demostrates that as well.

    ‘you’re going to run with the outside chance, since it suits your political and ideological preferences, despite the two more likely scenarios, per the source you cite, run counter to the argument you’re making…’

    Not at all, as I’ve already said, and will again (hopefully for the last time), to portray the presence of NBC suits as solely for nefarious means was unfair, yet you disagreed with me. The report from the BBC which I quoted supports my stance and not yours.

    Here have a wee read of the full article if you wish…

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2892077.stm