A September 2002 Pentagon intelligence report found "no reliable information" that Iraq had biological or chemical weapons, US defence officials have confirmed.
Blix says his teams found nothing at the 'suspect sites'
A UK dossier including the claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in 45 minutes was repeatedly returned to intelligence chiefs for changes, the BBC has learned.
The UN chief weapons inspector, Dr Hans Blix, has criticised the quality of the intelligence on Iraqi WMDs given to him by the US and Britain before the war, saying inspectors found nothing at sites mentioned.
Investigations are now taking place in Britain and America into possible abuse of intelligence information in the run-up to the war in Iraq, but senior officials maintain that Saddam Hussein's regime posed a severe threat..
Do you feel misled over WMD? Do you approve of the investigations at this stage? Does it matter whether any weapons are found?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:
It's not a question of being misled, it is an issue of who controls policy at the UN.
It is about time the world considered moving the UN headquarters to Europe where respect for other smaller nations still exists. As long as the organisation remains in the USA, issues such as this shall continue to haunt us.
If one takes a look at who has gained the most money and contracts from this war, then I think one can conclude we were misled. Just follow the money trail, it leads right up to the White House door.
I think it's quite clear now that the world has been misled. Blair and Bush should resign as they committed their armed forces to break international law in invading Iraq. I believe Mr Blix. He has nothing to gain by lying, Bush and Blair do.
I believe Mr Blix
Julian Briottet, Norway
We know they had WMD after 1991. That is documented and accepted by all. The issue that we keep missing is where did the weapons go?
The UK and USA put forth great moral arguments for democracy, fair play, freedom, and transparency. In reality they have been exposed as liars, have misled the public and gone against public opinion and overruled democratically elected institutions.
This is a serious threat to true democracy and freedom, far greater than the WMD that never were.
Philip Walker, France (ex British)
Of course we were "misled". I'm shocked the world is so surprised. Although I support our efforts in Iraq, I knew from day one that their weapons were of no immediate threat to us thousands of miles away. If the ultimate justification of the war is of a humanitarian nature, we should invade Myanmar and Zimbabwe next. Anyone object?
I feel like I was not misled I stand by the US and all it decisions to help keep the world safe. The WMDs may have not been there but that means that Saddam did not have them.
Thanos Roth, USA
I don't think I am misled like many others who never believed that Iraq was a serious threat in terms of WMD. However, I am worried about the future of the world which is led by leaders who can mislead the people for their own profits and using media as a tool to manipulate the truths.
I am worried about the future of the world which is led by leaders who can mislead the people
In response to a previous comment that just because Saddam, Bin Laden, or WMD were never found doesn't mean that they never existed, I want to say that the failure of the coalition to locate Saddam and OBL reflects the ineptitude of the coalition and its intelligence sources, rather than the absence of Saddam/OBL. If the US/UK intelligence machinery, with its vast resources and networks, can't locate Saddam and OBL, who we all know existed; I have serious doubts of their ability to locate WMD, whose existence I seriously doubt.
I do believe there may have been weapons of mass destruction, but nothing of real threat. I firmly believe that President Bush is trying to complete what his father did not! We should have been more interested in Bin Laden and his terrorist than Iraq.
Wayne Cordova, United States
I was suspicious about the justifications of this war presented by the US government. As I could not believe that al-Qaeda and Iraq were in any way connected, it made it more difficult to believe the WMD story. Whether we like to admit it or not, US's policy is governed by a coincidental point of interest between the Military and Corporate America. This war served them both.
Bill A, USA
The US government is going to do whatever it wants to, no matter what. I am convinced that there are motives in place having nothing to do with WMD or world peace. The US wants to have the only finger on the button and it seems that the world is ready to bow down and allow that to happen.
Matthew Silva, USA
During the 1990s, EVERYONE - the UN, France, Germany, Russia, the US, Bill Clinton, etc. - agreed that Iraq had WMD. It's not like Bush and Blair made up this story on their own. Maybe the WMDs have been moved to Syria, or transported to those mysterious Iraq-registered ships floating around the Gulf, or were buried in the Iraqi desert. It's not a matter of IF Iraq has WMDs; it's just a matter of finding them. Again, in the 90s the international community agreed on this almost unanimously.
It's not a matter of IF Iraq has WMDs; it's just a matter of finding them
What I cannot understand is why are there any doubts concerning the deception of the Bush regime in regard to its efforts to legitimize a pre-emptive attack upon Iraq. UN investigators are not allowed to assess human health conditions because the US has "occupational" responsibility for the health of the people. How absurd. Only one of a long list composed out of Washington. The statements and reasons given are getting more and more bizarre.
Harlan Light, Canada
I definitely feel that the press and Bush administration were misleading in their dealing with Iraq's possession of WMD. I think that the investigations are called for so that Americans can have a better understanding of what has been going on in Washington; if no weapons are found there will be some devastated Americans. At times of war we know that we can't always rely on the media so we put our trust in our leaders. I don't pretend to speak for anyone else but the Bush administration will have many questions to answer if they cannot back up their stories and sources. This development furthers our suspicions of our national leaders.
Hans Blix should sit very quiet. It is Blix, after all, who despite a HARD CORE evidence completely misread (to the point of ignoring) situation in Chernobyl after a disaster in the Soviet-built atomic plant. He is a lawyer, not a scientist or a military expert. Let's wait for results of search conducted by really competent people (hopefully also in Syria and Lebanon). In a couple of months we should know, God willing.
If George Bush and Tony Blair had said before the invasion that they knew Iraq posed no threat or had no weapons, would their public have supported the invasion? I think not. That is why we had this charade.
It makes no difference now. Intelligence is always a murky business. We are now busy second guessing the decision makers without the benefit of knowing how they were briefed. WWII started because of NAZI aggression in Poland. The discovery of concentration camps at war's end was the most compelling reason for its conduct. This war has a similarly compelling justification.
We are now busy second guessing the decision makers without the benefit of knowing how they were briefed
I personally believe that Bush and Blair sincerely believed that there were WMD. Any and all blame should lie on intelligence agencies, not the Bush administration and Blair. I doubt that Bush and Blair would risk their entire political careers to make up or distort a story on WMD.
Hans Blix can't simply decide that he's finally going to get down off the fence now that the actual main conflict is over. He could have exerted far more influence over events if he had taken the many opportunities that he was given to make an unequivocal statement of his actual findings. He chose not to - should we really applaud him now as he attempts to absolve himself of his part in this sorry episode?
Robert Crosby, Nottingham, UK
Of course we were misled. I still haven't figure out which is the real reason we invaded, oil? Power? Vendetta? But I never believed the WMD argument or the al-Qaeda argument. And if overthrowing evil dictators is the litmus test then we better get going on the list of 20 plus awful rulers out there who still need to be deposed.
Those who suggest an attack on Iraq was warranted regardless of the presence of WMD should consider the thousands of people that were killed regardless how "smart" the bombs were and then ask the families of some of these victims whether they think that the world was misled by the USA and the UK.
Ross Tarara, USA
When savoury characters (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld) bring thugs and murderers to justice (Saddam and his cadre) for personal gain they still provide a beneficial service. Despite their less-than-honourable motivations, the world has been made a better place. It is a sad commentary that murder, tyranny and oppression are not politically viable justifications for action.
Despite their less-than-honourable motivations, the world has been made a better place
Victor Andrews, USA
Yes we were deliberately misled. Furthermore, since the Department of Defence managed to secure the oil fields immediately (before the war officially started, in fact), why did it not occur to them to secure the nuclear facilities as soon as they possibly could? It makes you think that they didn't even believe their own propaganda.
We were probably misled. But I believe ends justify means. We have rid the world of a brutal tyrant and a known killer. I'm hopeful this will promote democracy in the middle-east.
To claim that it was ok for the Bush administration to mislead the general public about WMD because the end result was the liberation of the Iraqi people is wrong. If people's lives are going to be placed at risk, both soldiers and civilians, they have the absolute right to know exactly why. Misleading the public about an issue that has ultimately resulted now in the deaths of innocent civilians and soldiers IS WRONG.
No doubt Saddam was a threat to, at least, peace in the Middle East. But the justification for the war to bring down is regime should be investigated to the letter. This is to make the world see the rationale behind his overthrown and for posterity. But if it turns out that there is a misuse of intelligence from the world powers, then those responsible should be called to book for deceiving the world and as a deterrent measure.
Alhaji Bangura, Sierra Leone
If you had been in the US in the weeks leading up to the war, listening to the sensationalist infotainment that is called news programs here, you would have heard Bush and Rumsfeld say the words "disarm" and "WMD" a thousand times. Bush even suggested that Saddam should bring all his weapons to a car park and destroy them! Of course there should be an inquiry; of course there was misleading info. It matters that weapons are found, to at the very least regain confidence in the government of the "greatest democracy in the world". Without them, this administration running this country is no less autocratic than Iraq under Saddam.
It matters that weapons are found, to at the very least regain confidence in the government
Behrang, USA (UK Ex-pat)
I have to shake my head in shame at all the people who find all the wrong reasons to support and defend Bush for his blatant act of savagery. They all express their disgust at Saddam for all the innocent lives he took during his Dictatorial rule but with the same token they support Bush who also took the lives of thousands of Iraqi men, woman and CHILDREN. What is the difference? As far as I see it if you can support the President on this horrific act then you have to ask yourself are you any different that Saddam in your way of thinking.
To those of you who say it will take months to find these WMD, take a minute or two to think about this. The UK and US gave us a report saying that Iraq can launch their WMD in 45 minutes, now considering the little time it took for the Iraq army to collapse, there no way those weapons could be that well hidden considering the amount of time it would take to prepare them for launch and move them within range of enemy troops. If this 45 minute thing was true then these weapons would have been found when the invading forces over ran Iraq armed forces positions. Think about it!
I am astounded by some of the views expressed in this forum, e.g. who cares if WMD are not found - we've got rid of an evil regime. There are two big problems with the current situation - 1. Trust or lack thereof in the government which only an enquiry can resolve and 2. The precedent set by the US and UK of going to war without the blessing of the UN. The reasons - WMD and the unproven link to terrorists constituting a "clear and present" threat to the initiating nations has the potential to destabilise the world as never before. If the US and UK can use this as an excuse, any country can.
Kevin, UK/South Africa
If no weapons of mass destruction were used in the first war with Iraq, and none in the second war which was to remove Saddam Hussein from power, when was this "mad man" supposed to use them. If the story of the WMD is a fabrication, how many of the other stories are also lies?
If the story of the WMD is a fabrication, how many of the other stories are also lies?
I believe that Iraq had or still has the weapons in question. They may have been shipped out of the country or destroyed. Saddam was certainly capable of this.
Joseph R Gimello, USA
It's dangerous to say "they misled over WMD but did well, Saddam had to go". If that's the public opinion, they will use media to damage the image of any nation-leader, talk about his non-existing "WMD" and finally intrude the freedom of that nation.
Get a grip people! Even Hans Blix says that the Iraqis admitted having WMDs in the 1990s before throwing out the inspectors. That was the whole reason for sending in Blix later. The problem was always that Saddam Hussein refused to tell anyone what he had done with the weapons that he had admitted having! And this story is badly written. What the report said was that they had no information that indicated that Iraq was still producing WMDs, not that they didn't have WMDs.
After WWII a group of nations decided that enough was enough. All wars would be illegal and the Security Council of the United Nations would ensure that peace would prevail. Only when they, or at least those that had nuclear weapons, decided that all peaceful attempts had failed would war be allowed. Here we are 60 years later and we have progressed so little.
Sandy Clark of US tells us to be patient as the US seeks out the alleged WMD. Well, isn't that what Hans Blix and his team were trying to tell them before they attacked the sovereign nation?
Liz, Atlanta, US
If there were no WMD at the time of invasion or even just prior to it, then the US and UK were mistaken. But, I'd have to say then that this is the best outcome resulting from a mistake in the history of mankind. Good riddance to Saddam and his butchers.
this is the best outcome resulting from a mistake in the history of mankind
There is no question people in the US are misled over WMD. Besides the Bush Administration, the media should also bear responsibility on this issue. It is time for Americans to do a reality check: do we really have press freedom in this country, or the media is just a tool for the government?
Charles Wu, USA
I think we should have acted sooner on the information we had already. For years he killed his people, killing the people of other religions because it was different than his, spending lavishly on his own party leaders while poverty and slum cities grew. Imprisoned anyone who disagreed with his doctrine. Created mass graves over his country and filled them with the bodies of resistors, and was just a short time from a nuclear weapon of mass destruction.
Does this sound like someone we all know as being an evil person - take your pick Hitler or Saddam. They were equally evil and needed to be stopped and I praise those who had the foresight to act.
Ed Tinio, USA
Part of the problem is that prior to the war none of the politicians were very committal about exactly what constituted sufficient justification for going to war. The argument about removing a tyrant is somewhat threadbare given US dealings with Saddam prior to 1991, and ongoing situations elsewhere in the world since then. To those budding Machiavellis who claim that the end justifies the means regardless of the WMD issue, why did a US administration official tell Jeremy Paxman in a News Night interview some months back that George Bush would resign if no WMD were found?
It's a pity that the anti Blair and Bush gang who are mostly in the west say all that they say because they live in the luxury of the west, and don't even know or feel what it is like to be under the brutal Saddam. Iraq's WMD is a reality and thank God that we have world leaders like Bush and Blair who have the world in their hearts and do not want another 9/11 to happen in any part of the world.
I was not alone in feeling that we were being misled before the war started. First it was the WMD issue, when Blix's reports were not supportive it was liberating the Iraqi people, and then there were hints dropped to imply Iraq had links with Al Queda. The absence of any WMDs proves that Iraq was to be attacked at any cost and for any reason, fabricated or genuine.
The absence of any WMDs proves that Iraq was to be attacked at any cost
Nilesh Patel, UK
Yes, but only those who believed or wanted to believe there were any such weapons were misled. Those who didn't believe in the case for war were not misled. We knew all along.
Benjamin Erben, UK
It has been obvious that USA's economy is in jeopardy. Hence without this invasion, USA's currency and economy would not be able to survive. In their terms this invasion was needed to survive their tough economic conditions which they still are trying to battle. There were no other solutions for Bush but to create an excuse and invade Iraq.
There is little argument that Saddam was evil and had WMD at some point in time. How we used and continue to use those facts to support a justification for liberation/occupation to some extent jeopardises our ability to gain credibility both at home and abroad.
Hans Blix complains of the poor quality of intelligence given him before the war, but several credible stories detail how that Blix's team of inspectors passed all intelligence to the Iraqis immediately. Blix has never appeared too bright, but even he should be able to figure out that the Iraqis could take advantage of that intelligence to move the evidence. On the other hand, maybe he couldn't, because he always assumed the Iraqis told the truth and the US and UK lied.
Roger D. McKinney, Broken Arrow, OK, USA
I think it suspicious that when the international community doubted how robust the intelligence was into Iraq's WMD, the government was reluctant to reveal the source of some of its intelligence so as to prevent reprisals against informers. Well with the regime toppled, surely we can be told all that is to be told about the exact nature of Iraq's WMD program. Unless of course the reason we were kept in the dark is because some of it was a little exaggerated so as to fulfil an entirely different political agenda.
Gavin Johnson, UK
Those possibly wise after the event should have been so before the event. The UN thought there were WMD nevertheless allowed itself to be defied for ten years. It took the presence of large numbers of US and UK troops to bring slow action by UN inspectors. The troops could not be left there while Hussein, France, Germany and Russia manoeuvred.
Hussein sitting on the whole of the Middle East backed by WMD. What a risk to take!
J Westerman, UK
I never really felt misled by Bush and Blair, because I never believed them in the first place. However it is sickening to see how it is that the public has been driven by propaganda all this time. I mean the US and UK have the best intelligence agencies in the world, if there is something to be found, it would have been found immediately, especially while the two leaders are under fire at home for their irresponsible decision to attack and kill so many Iraqi civilians.
If there is something to be found, it would have been found immediately
Did anyone honestly believe they didn't fudge the arguments to help them get a case for war? That's what politics is all about. And starting a war because of WMD? Saddam was in power for 10 years and they claimed he had them all through that.
Tom Habibi, UK
I believe we have been horribly misled over the Iraqi weapons. Blair and Bush were going to start their war whether they had weapons finds, UN support, international support or not. Blair should resign - he is a disgrace to our nation.
I am very much hurt by those who keep saying "It's done now, it's over, let's get on with it". It's not a football game for the love of God. Don't they want to know the real reason why so many people, including many Iraqi civilians, died?
I agree with Mustafa Yorumcu. This sets a very dangerous precedent that future leaders will exploit. The only way to deter this is by having a full independent inquiry, with penalties. This is the same principle applied in the Hague war crimes court. All leaders are capable of crime.
Can't wait till the election. I never voted before, I am now going out and making sure I vote. Tony Blair is dangerous to the UK and the world and we are better rid of him.
The stance taken by Bush and Blair meant that war was inevitable, essential and desirable to these governments. It's no surprise that they were selective in their use of intelligence information to promote the path to war, and it's no surprise that they may have misled everyone to get the outcome they desired.
I'm just disappointed that they can't just put their hands up and say we made a mistake over WMD. In Blair's case a little humility may help repair a tarnished reputation over this affair.
I'm disappointed they can't put their hands up and say we made a mistake over WMD
I think Bush and Blair genuinely expected to find WMD. There was certainly enough intelligence material to suspect that they were there. They did not really have the proof and gambled on turning it up during/immediately after the war. They rolled the dice and lost. Not the war, but their credibility and that of their governments.
The way the war was conducted spoke volumes about its real purpose. Within days, the precious oil fields had been secured while hospitals were freely looted and stripped of valuable medical supplies. This war was about oil, with the added bonus of toppling an unpopular lunatic. I personally think the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein in it, and so was not against the war as such, but the WMD argument was a transparent, poorly conceived excuse for waging this war. In my view, they will never find WMD in Iraq.
The way the war was conducted spoke volumes about its real purpose
I recall a lot of noise being made by the media after the Bali bombing, blaming the government for not taking seriously the "vague" threat passed on by the security service. Now the media is blaming Tony Blair for hyping up the threat of WMD that Saddam had. I guess if Bush and Blair paid no attention to the Saddam's threat and as a result many innocent lives were lost through another Bali or worse bombing, or chemical attack, the media would have their knives out for Blair for not reacting.
The media has a very important role and rightly so. Over the past six months I have yet to hear a good word about a brave PM who had to take a very difficult decision, given the deceitful nature of the enemy. Whether a Tory or Labour leader, it should be recognised (by the media especially) that decisions of war are not taken lightly. Nor should the PM be accused of overstressing the threat of an unpredictable tyrant like Saddam.
Livio Ferrone, UK
Yes, many people were misled, but if you were following carefully the events, in my view it was easy to see that Blair and Bush were trying hard to mislead us. Unfortunately, many people in the US and the UK were misled, but they failed to mislead people in other parts of the world (an absolute majority in Europe and Asia did not believe them). As no WMD was found, the war was unjust and illegal, and those people who tried to mislead should be prosecuted.
Yasuyuki Tateishi, Japan
Of course Bush "misled" us but if he didn't have these wars he'd have to do something else like find adequate healthcare for millions of uninsured Americans or try and prevent the gun deaths of 25,000+ Americans every year or fix the electoral system so Americans would bother to vote - war is easier.
Brendon, New Zealand
There never was a strong (or legal) case for war, it was all about dealing with Saddam. I feel sorry for the families of troops and civilians that died because George Bush wanted to finish off his father's work. I feel ashamed of what we have done to Iraq and I also feel that we have stirred up an even bigger hornets nest. The war will have justified al-Qaeda's philosophy of western intervention and we may as well have set up a recruiting station in the Middle East. There will never be an independent investigation and so what if there is one, the UN said don't go in and the Brits and US did. The war has now managed to disunite the world and prove that the UN is impotent! Oh yes but of course we liberated the Iraqi people and I imagine we will be helping them as much as we are currently helping the Afghans! Tony and George should go over this, it is a global scandal!
"Misled" would be the kind word. "Duped" suits better.
Any sort of inquiry is a complete waste of money. No matter how bad the findings are for him, Teflon Tony is going to apply the appropriate amount of spin to shift the blame onto someone else.
The FACTS are precursor chemicals were found in Iraq for chemical weapons. Plutonium residue and high levels of radiation were found at the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission Building in Baghdad. Iraqi scientists that have been captured have documented capabilities to produce anthrax weapons in a country were anthrax exists naturally in the livestock.
Tim Renfro (physicist),
I have no doubt in my mind that we were misled regarding the issue of WMD. Thousands of civilian died because of our erroneous act. It is said that at least Iraq is free of dictatorship. Well, there are many countries in Africa where the brutal dictators reside.. are we willing to fight for them as well...we might if have oil.
I am not traditionally a Labour Party supporter but I find the suggestion that Tony Blair knowingly over egged the Iraq situation to justify war knowing the consequences to him and his government and the credibility of parliament if found out too much to believe. I believe he sincerely thought war was necessary in the longer term interests of world peace. Weapons of mass destruction or not the Saddam threat had to be dealt with as it should have been last time round. Those opposed to the war were proved wrong in virtually all respects and they are now trying to self justify.
Findlay Turner, Scotland
Yes, we were all misled. Along with millions of others, I marched and tried to stave off this war, but so many people believed the Bush/Blair WMD propaganda that their fear drove them to finally support it.
Jeannie Brown, USA
Usually you stop looking for something after you find it. Just because the WMD have not been found yet doesn't mean they do not exist.
The war was justified.
If Bush and Blair are so confident the WMD will be found, why are they stopping the UN weapons inspectors from returning to Iraq? Is it because they might discover how the US and UK will "find" this huge pile of WMD somewhere in Iraq in a few months time.
B Selvadurai, Malaysia
Is this what the PM had in mind when he proudly announced "history will be my judge"?
Stephen, New Zealand
The anti-war protesters were right...IT WAS ALL ABOUT OIL!
We were told that some WMD could be launched in 45 minutes. The war lasted about 3 weeks.
How many WMD could be used and were? Why weren't they? What was the purpose of the WMD if they weren't going to me used in a war?
Manjit Singh, UK
Everyone believed the UN inspectors when they said Iraq had WMD. No one questioned President Clinton when he justified bombing Iraq because he claimed Iraq had WMD. So why are Bush and Blair now liars? This is all about politics. Bush-haters can't stomach the success this president is having so now they whine about WMD. Pathetic.
Bush haters can't stomach the success this president is having
Well, Paul Wolfowitz said himself, that the issue of WMD was never the real reason for attacking Iraq. Also on the Pentagon's homepage he clearly states why they have attacked Iraq: because "the country floats on a sea of oil." So were we misled? Yep, and in a very carefully planned way... And they said Orwell's Animal Farm is a Soviet nightmare. Nope, it's an American one.
I believe Clare Short's version of events rather than Tony Blair's. George Bush had a number of reasons for attacking Iraq: Revenge, boosting his ratings, boosting the US economy and oil. Look at the companies who have been given reconstruction contracts (Bechtel, Halliburton, Fluor/AMEC) and who is on their board of directors and their connections with the governments. The next election will be their judgement day (at least the government who I can influence).
Paul, (lifelong Labour voter) UK
It was a reasonable gamble for our governments to take, however, since the odds were pretty good that Saddam had kept some sort of ace in the hole. It is important that something substantial is turned up in the search for weapons. I have little optimism for any 'official' inquiry, whether now or later. The inquiry into the events of 9/11, which should have had tremendous backing, was tepid at best.
Not directly on point, but if Saddam never had the weapons, is there not an argument for saying that that in itself justified the war - ie he obstructed weapons inspectors in a game of poker in which he held no cards, thereby demonstrating just how crazy - and potentially dangerous - he really was?
I believe Blair and Campbell have both lost the ability to tell right from wrong and truth from duplicity.
Maybe this time they will be exposed and forced to confess that they willingly deceived Parliament, the public and our armed forces.
Only an inquiry which is fully independent and which reports to someone other than No 10 is acceptable.
Only an inquiry which is fully independent and which reports to someone other than No 10 is acceptable
Edwin Thornber, UK/Romania
Edwin Thornber, UK/Romania
It is strange that the same voices who were so adamant that there was proof of the existence (and readiness for use) of WMD in Iraq, and justified military invasion on this basis are now the ones who say it doesn't matter if any are found.
No I don't feel misled. I knew from the start they were overstating the menace. If they had such thorough proof of WMD's existence why aren't they showing it now the war is over? And I don't mean those totally unconvincing photographs we were shown last time!
Elinor, Brussels, Belgium
The truth of the matter is, we will never know what the government are really up to. And it is likely to stay that way.
No I do not feel we were misled by Tony Blair. The case for the removal of the Saddam regime was overwhelming. It's easy now that the job's well done, to pick holes in the way it was achieved. Be mindful of the fact that the majority of the critics have axes to grind and the rest are Tory opportunists.
The case for the removal of the Saddam regime was overwhelming
Yes, we were misled.
The reason given for the war were the WMD (and Iraq's terrorist links). Saddam didn't use any WMD during the war and none have been found during or since the war (and the terrorist links have also not been satisfactorily proved). It is just not good enough now to say that "the case for the removal of the Saddam regime was overwhelming" as Brian (England) does. The relevant point is that Bush and Blair either lied or were unbelievably gullible in their acceptance of certain intelligence information. Either way they should go.
Brian Bailey, Switzerland
I heard the Dr John Reid interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, on which he put the government's view regarding the WMD "evidence". All I can say after hearing Dr Reid put his case is that this government has lost control of the agenda and is now "lashing out" at any organisation or individual that it sees to be questioning their view of the world. God help the UK's democratic institutions if they are allowed to continue with debate smothering tactics.
Tony is absolutely right; he can be 100% confident about finding WMD in Iraq. It's just that they're going to be our own, the depleted uranium used by the US and UK (classed as a WMD by the UN).
The issue is not whether fighting the war was right or wrong - I shed no tears for Saddam Hussein's demise. It is whether the word of the prime minister can be trusted.
The arguments for and against a public inquiry are very finely poised. The evidence that the prime minister misled us is so far sketchy. But the nagging problem remains that so far we have seen no weapons of mass destruction, and the prime minister laid great stress on these mythical weapons that can be launched in 45 minutes, apparently with minimal evidence in support. No wonder he is feeling the heat.
In the Commons debate prior to the invasion of Iraq, the prime minister informed the House that Iraq's weapons constituted a 'clear and present danger to the security of the UK'. This claim seemed exaggerated at the time; given the proven incompetence of the Iraqi defence forces it now seems ludicrous. Was the PM himself misled by his advisers? Did he actually believe what he was saying, or did he deliberately mislead MPs?
Was the PM himself misled by his advisers?
Michael Crawshaw, Cyprus
As a former member of that well known oxymoron "military intelligence". I am surprised that anybody is crying foul for a political slant being given to intelligence information. At the end of the day, it is the government who requests the information and they who use it. The difference is, did the government emphasise information that they know was dubious or suspect to further their cause?
I agreed with the war, regardless of whether WMD are found. However, I think that IF it is proven that the government lied how are we to trust their motives if there's a next time?
Certainly I was never misled over the existence of WMD. I was always sceptical. Clearly they existed in the past, but if the Americans had truly ever had any clear-cut evidence of a clear and present danger from Iraqi WMD and their intention to use them, they would have produced it for the world to see.
Now after searching for so long and turning up nothing, the US and UK cling to the assertion that they have been well hidden. If Saddam couldn't hide the billions in gold and cash well enough to escape discovery, how could he have hidden the immense stocks of weapons as we are expected to believe?
Frankly I don't particularly care if we were misled over the existence of WMD. I just wish our MPs could get this excited over issues that really matter today! Small things like health care, education and public transport. Let's try and sort this country out before we worry too much about others.
We paid our taxes (lots) to finance this war. The government is financed by us and therefore accountable to us. Enquiry, please.
Please don't forget the brave service personnel who gave their lives in support of this deceit. Is Mr Blair's conscience clear in this matter? Or is Dr Reid going to blame some rogue elements?
We were not misled. The impatience expressed by people on this thread is amazing. Saddam had years to develop, hide and possibly sell weapons of mass destruction. Did people really think that he'd leave any evidence around to prove that we were right?
The neo cons plotted the war and they were not going to let lack of hard evidence about existence of WMD stop them. Either Prime Minister Blair was duped by the Americans or he deliberately
hitched his star to the Bush juggernaut to make his place in history. It is to be seen whether he is treated kindly by history.
Anybody who thinks that the existence of WMD is irrelevant should download and read the text of the PM's speech to the House of Commons on 24 September 2002. Either there is something very wrong with our intelligence services (upon which we spend hugely and rely for our peace and security) or there is something very wrong with the PM and his whole circle of courtiers.
Patrick Langrishe, England