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This Just Not In

Meet Carne Ross, who revealed this past Friday that Britain's leaders never bought the Saddam-WMD and Saddam-al Qaeda stories.
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Let's just assume for the sake of argument that, despite David Kay's words to contrary, "we" weren't "all wrong" regarding the pre-war intel on Iraq. Let's imagine that there were well-respected and serious intelligence people in the countries most closely allied with ours who attempted to alert people to the fact that the pre-war intel didn't show what Bush, Blair and Howard said it did. We'd know about that by now, wouldn't we? So maybe the names Brian Jones and Andrew Willkie are household words for you. They have been for me, primarily because I didn't depend on the US media for information in the runup to the war. (One reason, perhaps, why the NYT and WaPo have apologized for their credulity in that period; NPR, just as credulous, has not)

So now comes a new name, with impressive credentials, to renew the charge that the intel did not say what our leaders said it did. Now, in this newly enlightened time, when the semi-serious press has apologized, read the polls and changed its tune, this story should be front-page news, yes?

No. Meet Carne Ross, who revealed this past Friday that Britain's leaders never bought the Saddam-WMD and Saddam-al Qaeda stories. He was a part of Britain's UN delegation during the period in question, and what did he know?

Mr Ross told Lord Butler he read UK and US human and signals intelligence on Iraq every working day during the four years he spent in New York up to 2002, and spoke at length to UN weapons inspectors.

And what did that reading and speaking tell him?

"At no time did [the government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK," he told the Butler committee. "On the contrary, it was the commonly-held view among the officials dealing with Iraq that any threat had been effectively contained ... At the same time, we would frequently argue, when the US raised the subject, that 'regime change' was inadvisable, primarily on the grounds that Iraq would collapse into chaos."

FYI, the Butler committee was one of several inquiries convened by Britain's labor government to "prove" that prewar intel wasn't fixed to fit the pre-ordained policy.

So, Sen. Gordon Smith's change on Iraq, and the to-ing and fro-ing of the White House re the ISG are incessant stories, but this is...journalistic chopped liver?

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