Ask Andrew Anything: What Made You Turn Against The Iraq War?

by Chris Bodenner
[vimeo w=580&h=326]

The article about missing WMDs that Andrew refers to, “So Where Are They?”, is here. A key passage:

The third explanation is that our intelligence was radically wrong – or politically manipulated for effect. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that U.S. and British intelligence got things wrong, although in many cases, such as North Korea or India, they have erred in the direction of complacency. Or it could be that the range of possibilities discovered by intelligence was presented by the politicians in the worst possible light so as to win public support. I’ve no doubt that was partly the case. That’s what politicians do. They make a case based on evidence. Others were free to make alternative cases, and they did. Currently, we simply don’t know what happened either in intelligence gathering or the political use of the data. But we should. After a decent period of time to gather all the possible evidence, there should indeed be a thorough inquiry into whether and how the case for Saddam’s imminent WMD threat was made.

But in some ways, these matters, while important, still don’t get to the heart of the matter. The fundamental case for getting rid of Saddam was not dependent on the existence of a certain amount of some chemical or other.

It was based on a political and military judgement. Once the threat from Islamist terror was self-evident, it would have been irresponsible for any political leader to ignore the possibility of a future attack with WMDs. It was and is the obvious next step for an operation like al Qaeda. Further, the war against terror, from the beginning, was always directed not simply at terrorist groups, but at the states that aided and abetted them. The key point is that Saddam’s Iraq was a clear and present danger in that context. What mattered was not whether at any particular moment Saddam had a certain specifiable quantity of botulinum toxin. What mattered was his capacity to produce such things, his ability to conceal them, and his links to terrorists who could deploy them. No one can doubt that he had had them at one point, was capable of producing them, and was linked to groups who would be only too happy to use them. That was and is the case for getting rid of him. It’s as powerful now as it was in January.