Iraq – letter to Guardian from Caroline Lucas

ON THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE IRAQ WAR, CAROLINE LUCAS CALLS IT THE WAY IT IS

Letter sent to the Guardian today.

18 March 2013

Dear Editor,

The depth of Douglas Alexander’s denial over the real reasons for his
government taking the UK to war in Iraq in 2003 is truly breathtaking
(‘Iraq war was national disgrace, say military chiefs’, 18 March,
Guardian).

The evidence is clear [1] that the war had nothing to do with finding
non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction, and everything to do with the
Fact that the then Prime Minister Tony Blair had already promised
President Bush in March 2002 that he would support a war for regime
change.

The legal and political distinction between finding WMD and regime
change was essential for Blair to secure a majority of the parliamentary
Labour party’s support for war, without which he could not have gone
ahead. However, the now infamous Downing St memo told Blair in 2002 that
in the US “intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”.

If WMD were really the focus of the war, Blair would have granted the
Weapons Inspectors’ call for more time. Moreover, Blair blatantly
misrepresented the evidence available. For example, in his speech to the
House on the resolution to go to war, he suggested that soon after
Saddam Hussein’s son in law, Hussein Kamal, defected to the West in the
mid 1990s, he disclosed that Iraq had an extensive WMD programme.

In fact, the transcript of the interview with UNSCOM/IAEA records
Hussein Kamal’s statements that Iraq’s WMD programme had been destroyed
and nothing remained. The details of the interview were public knowledge
in February 2003, well before the vote for war.

The parliamentary failure to hold Blair to account at the time of the
vote makes it all the more essential that we have a debate in parliament
now. We must formally record how such a flimsy case for war was able to
get through our parliamentary process.

Unwavering Tory support for the vote was obviously critical. How
convenient, then, that soon after William Hague writes to his Cabinet
colleagues to tell them not to mention the war, David Cameron’s
government has failed to find time for a Parliamentary debate, requested
by myself and a cross-party group of MPs, to coincide with the 10th
anniversary of that vote.

Whatever position this Government now takes on Iraq and the Chilcot
Inquiry, it is crucial that the public does not see Parliament just
sitting back and ignoring the 10th anniversary of these lies and
distortions. We owe it to the servicemen and women and all those who
have lost their lives in Iraq to carefully examine what happened, in
order to learn the lessons of the most damaging foreign policy decision
of recent times.

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion

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