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Last Updated: Monday, 15 September, 2003, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Iraq dossier: Have the questions been answered?
Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has been criticised by a government committee for failing to disclose concerns among intelligence staff about the Iraq weapons dossier.

The Intelligence and Security Committee also said that the way in which the claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes was presented in the dossier was "unhelpful to an understanding of this issue".

However, the committee admitted that the dossier was not "sexed up" by government media chief Alastair Campbell "or anybody else".

What do you think of the findings of this report? Have all the questions been answered? Where does this lead Geoff Hoon?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

This isn't a witch hunt. This is one of the most important investigations of our time. The Prime Minster and his cabinet should resign immediately. The mere fact that people are "bored" by this investigation shows what a bunch of blind little sheep this country is full of. No wonder our own PM feels he can lie to us and get away with it.
Josh, UK

Perhaps it's true that it's time, as many of this site's correspondents have noted, to stop the infighting and begin rebuilding the country that we have shattered (and not for the first time). But at the same time, why should I, as a member of the voting public, simply 'accept' the decisions made by an elected government? I do not want to live in a society governed by multiple referendums, but neither do I wish to live beneath a government that expects its citizens to mindlessly accept its decisions. There is absolutely no justification for the promotion of the 'put up or shut up' mindset.
Rhona, Scotland

Misleading the public to get the vote or decision you want is the nature of British and American politics, and has been for a very long time
Lloyd Evans, UK
Of course the questions haven't been answered. Has anyone ever seen a politician actually answer a question? Misleading the public to get the vote or decision you want is the nature of British and American politics, and has been for a very long time. I know it stinks, but who's got the guts to change it? This reinforces the fact that the difference between western "democracies" and the Iraqi "dictatorship" is not a difference in kind but a difference in degree. In Iraq, if you protested against the government, they shoot you. Here, you are just ignored.
Lloyd Evans, UK

This whole enquiry is a sideshow arranged by the government to avoid a judicial enquiry into the decision to go to war. Unfortunately for Dr Kelly, he got caught up in this farce and it cost him his life. I think we should be asking ourselves whether the right questions have been asked at all, let alone been answered.
Russell, UK

The questions will never be properly answered. The Government will have made sure of that (because they can). It is now irrelevant who in the Government is to blame. It doesn't matter what the report says, it won't make a blind bit of difference. This whole affair stinks.
Tim Hawkins, UK

If one hand does not know what the other is doing there is a distinct lack of communication and therefore a distinct ineptability to run a country. Let alone one who's decisions and actions send ripples and shockwaves all over the rest of the world. It just proves to us that these are not the right men for the job. The question is, in the current climate, with today's choice of 'yes' men and 'company men' with connections to the corporations and industries that fund (and influence) the parties......who do you chose?!
Matt A, UK

There is no democracy where the government lies, exaggerates or conceals. Blair is no democrat if he continues to pretend his actions were 'democratic' no matter how much he believed in his case for war. Resign now Tony and at least let history describe you as 'honourable'.
Keith Sheach, Canada

I fear that Bush and Blair will go down in history as two leaders who probably did more than anyone to fan the flames of terrorism
Timothy Byford, Serbia and Montenegro
For me, the most frightening revelation so far is that Tony Blair overrode intelligence warnings that a war with Iraq would increase the likelihood of terrorist groups obtaining weapons of mass destruction, something which to me, an ordinary and, now I see, a scantily informed layman, seemed obvious. I fear that Bush and Blair will go down in history as two leaders who probably did more than anyone to fan the flames of terrorism.
Timothy Byford, Serbia and Montenegro

Making an emphasis of the 45 min claim was a clear attempt by the government to make this country go to war. Kelly and many others felt uneasy about how the government emphasised this claim, it was the only legitimate excuse they could find. This inquiry goes to show how politicians manipulate information to mislead the public.
Robert Wilkinson, Madrid

No, this report clouds the issues even more than before. This whole situation has become a farce and I do not know how we can ever trust Mr Blair or his party again.
Mr Brooks, UK

The BBC have a right to take a stance, whether we believe in it or not, but it is almost impossible to be neutral in cases like these. I hail the BBC for giving us near to honest accounts and giving this generation footage showing how grotesque the war of today is, and we should never be led into another on such falsifications. Will anyone of us remember the dead in Iraq in two years or even a year? Come on decent hard working people, let's learn from our mistakes, and when we are on the brink of another lethal mistake, let's have a people revolt.
Jason Reeves, England

I think it's a witch hunt. It's a shameful waste of time and money. What's done is done. I don't believe that Tony Blair or anyone else intentionally misled anyone.
Jordan, UK

Ask yourself this, when the inquiry is done what will we have achieved and what will change? Not much! Quit the snipping and back stabbing. If we could only put as much effort into rebuilding Iraq as we have into this process and waste of public money. Think about it.
Erik, UK

Is going to war not the most important decision a government will make? Should one not expect a hidden agenda? Then why were the Brits being misled by their leader. Whether by design or sheer ignorance Blair did mislead his countryman and the least he could have done as a leader was to be as objective as possible. Real leaders lead their country into war - they do not delegate to the Campbells and the Hoons of this world.
Pasquale, Canada

I just wish one of the three leaders would just give an answer, any answer on where the weapons of mass destruction that they went to war for are? Here in Australia, the subject does not get any mention on the news or in the parliament. How can they justify all the causalities I don't have a clue and is OIL more important than humans. I am still waiting for an answer.
Malek Zailaa, Australia

This Government hasn't got the trust and support of the people
John Harding, England
So much is made of Saddam being a tyrant but under his regime the Iraqis had power, water and order. Disposing of Saddam would have been good if we could have sustained this but we can't. Hoon, Campbell and Blair all lied to us to trick us into war. If they had just said "Look, Saddam is evil - see for yourself what the country is like" then we would have believed them but instead they deliberately misled the public, with Campbell changing and amending parts of the dossier to "show" Iraq was a big threat, and it wasn't. This Government hasn't got the trust and support of the people and should go, now.
John Harding, England

The great irony of the Hutton Inquiry is that whilst Blair's government is exposed for its fraudulent war, the reason we know about it is because of their open government policy. And the intelligence services' observation that an attack on Iraq would increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks has led to our civil liberties coming under threat. The world, our world is seemingly becoming a far less tolerant, more authoritarian place.
Rebecca, UK

I am thoroughly bored with this disagreement between the BBC and the government. I don't care for either - but I am glad an evil tyrannical regime has been toppled. Politicians inevitably put their own slant on events - but what concerns me is that a supposedly neutral organisation - the BBC - has taken a political stance against its charter. It has also "sexed up" its reporting to suit its political stance. Time for a shake-up at the BBC I think!
Chris, UK

At least your government is working to uncover the truth to some degree. No such examination is taking place in the USA. The politicians all say the basis for the war was not a lie, but it is explicitly clear that there was an exaggeration, and an overstatement of the truth. We were also tricked and mislead intentionally and a dishonest and false message was put forward. They used narrative to describe the danger, not facts. This narrative was blatantly false. This story they sold that tricked us into going to war was a falsehood, how could it not be a lie as well? I think the questions have been answered, military intelligence was distorted and an imaginary crisis was created to send us to war.
Peter Vevang, USA

We can't prove they did this deliberately
Mark Jordan, England
The question is, did the government deliberately mislead parliament and the British people so that they would support the war? The answer has to be no. We can't prove they did this deliberately. Hoon should stay, we all make mistakes and he has apologised.
Mark Jordan, England

Obviously Iraq was not a threat to the UK, you don't need to spend millions on inquiries to ascertain that! Whatever the trumped up reasons for war were, the fact remains we just destroyed a country and we have an obligation to rebuild it. Let's get a UN controlled rebuilding plan in place before decisions look more like they are commercially than humanitarian based.
Mike, UK

The dossier always struck me as totally irrelevant. Imagine if you actually had to live under Saddam Hussein - would you really care about what Hoon did or did not disclose or would you just want Saddam to be thrown out by any means necessary?
Piers, UK

I am utterly ashamed of a government that demands so much respect from the world, yet is prepared to show so little in return
Sharon, UK
Geoff Hoon and our government have a lot of blood on their hands, its a disgrace to think they find it unacceptable to abide by international law, and fabricate truths to overcome it, I am utterly ashamed of a government that demands so much respect from the world, yet is prepared to show so little in return.
Sharon, UK

My questions were answered before the invasion, using reason. No aggressor would posture for invasion against a country possessing weapons of mass destruction. Any invading army would be wiped out by said WMD.
John Smith, UK

Our democracy is under threat. Most of the population already believe that they have been misled over Iraq. The real questions that need answering are who wanted this war and why? The really sad thing is that neither of the other two main parties is speaking for us.
Dave, UK

While I am not necessarily against the principle of war in Iraq I strongly feel that we were knowingly misled by Tony Blair and he should resign. In addition, no real thought seems to have been given to building the peace post conflict. He and his cabinet are truly incompetent!
Sasha Pagella, UK

An invasion and war to bring about regime change was not legal under international law
Alan, UK
Why doesn't someone own up to the truth? An example needed to be made of what will happen to "evil dictators". Iraq and Saddam was a soft target with no power to defend itself. An invasion and war to bring about regime change was not legal under international law so an excuse had to be fabricated - the big problem, the excuse assumes the public is ignorant and will believe what they are told and is not credible.
Alan, UK

Openness and honesty can be seen as both a strength and a weakness. Blame never solves a problem but the truth might.
Norman Bland, UK

How ridiculous to talk now of the dossier in question not having been "sexed up" - all evidence from the Hutton enquiry so far shows this; it just may not have been sexed-up by the government itself. And battlefield weapons aren't exactly WMD, are they. Considering the resulting death and destruction, giving hyped-up reasons for going to war is about as serious a sin any government can commit.
Andie Killick, Germany

The people who are attacking the government for going to war are being very naive. The fact is that because of past history, a grave and ever more catastrophic terrorist threat to the West was and is there, irrelevant of the war. The government, rightly, made the right decision to protect its citizens' safety and interests.
Neil, UK

Would it suffice it to state that in the long run you must reply to violence or the violence will only increase? Alas, this is the law of the jungle and it would seem our civilized world is no more than a jungle under a thin veneer. It would, therefore, follow that to not have reacted or even over-reacted would be the most reprehensible action for the long-term safety for the good people of Great Britain and America. Thus we have imperfect actions in an imperfect world as sufficient though not necessary action.
Pablito, USA

Apparently not being "sexed-up" allows for highly selective inclusion and exclusion of "intelligence". The case could probably have been made for no action based on a different selection of the so called "intelligence".
Malcolm Rigg, UK

The government don't seem to realise that this doesn't just destroy trust on the issue of Iraq. The next time they announce that x children have been lifted out of poverty or y people have been returned to work, what are we supposed to think? Can we believe the figures? The only way to be sure no would be to count them ourselves.
Justin, Brighton, UK

The findings of this inquiry are more than enough reason for Mr Hoon to tender his resignation. At a time when we are sending more troops abroad to risk their lives clearing up the mess that Blair and Bush have made in Iraq, can we really afford to have someone in the ministry of defence who must either be a liar or incompetent? Or maybe both?
C Wright, UK

Hoon should of course resign. Of course, he won't - he'll be kept on
Mike, UK
After this latest example of spin and sophistry in an attempt to obfuscate the manifest shortcomings in his conduct, Hoon should of course resign. Of course, he won't - he'll be kept on, "enjoying the full confidence" of Blair only until Hutton's report is published, so that he can be the scapegoat then and protect his master. No doubt after an indecently short interval, he will be back a la Mandelson - after all, there are so few Blairites left to protect the arch-spinner.
Mike, UK

I am astounded at the arrogance of this government. Honour is no longer part of many politicians make up. No wonder fewer people bother to vote, and I will be joining them.
T Newmam, UK

Hoon should resign. Not only would it be the honourable thing for him to do but the government would have another scapegoat for the 45-minute claim which I am sure would please Mr Blair
Matt, UK

The problem comes down to this: It's now too late to say "sorry Saddam, you were right, you didn't have any weapons, we made a mistake" because we have already overthrown his government, killed his people and stolen their resources. So all that is left is to make sure no-one notices our mistake, and all will be well...
Nathan Hobbs, UK

Surely the main issue is that parliament and people were lied to about the presence of WMD, and their probable use. Iraq was presented as a direct threat to the UK as well as to its neighbours. The people who lied to us on these issues, and invaded Iraq in contravention of international law should be forced to resign and face justice. This applies to Blair and all his enthusiastic war-mongering cronies.
George McKie, Scotland

"Unhelpful to an understanding of this issue"? Either it is true or false, no evidence has been presented to support a time frame for deployment so surely the dossier was "sexed up". Shambles.
Dave, UK

The only way for this government to deal with the situation and to win back a modicum of honour is to call a general election and letting the people decide - although I believe that Labour would (sadly) win, its majority would doubtless be seriously damaged and it might demonstrate that it is time to consider a change of leadership.
Sean, UK

When will they realise that all we want are straight words that mean what they are meant to mean
Colin Knight, Germany
Now it's a misunderstanding. We have already had spin, lies and weasel words. When will they realise that all we want are straight words that mean what they are meant to mean. Then perhaps, and only perhaps, will we start to have trust again. It is no wonder, if we are treated with such contempt by the political establishment - in the broadest sense - that our trust has all but disappeared.
Colin Knight, Germany

The report says the dossier failed to make it clear that Saddam Hussein's regime was not considered a "current or imminent threat to mainland UK" - never mind the report, why wasn't this made clear in the House of Commons by our Prime Minister?
Ian, England

We went to war to disarm Saddam of his weapons of mass destruction. It looks like there were none, so why isn't the Chief of UK Intelligence being sacked? If we are to believe the evidence from the committees our poor politicians were misled by their intelligence advisors.
Andrew Johnson, UK

Hoon is doing nothing less than expected of a politician, lying to save his own skin. I would have more respect for him if he just admitted he is where the buck stopped and he fell on his sword. All I feel for him is contempt.
Jim Keenan, Norway

The questions have not been answered. This is just a slight of hand to distract us from Tony's lies. If there was a single shred of decency in the labour party we'd have had a vote of no confidence before now.
Paul Bristow, England

The report is just another example of spin
John Gosling, UK
Tony Blair will likely dismiss Hoon at some point or he will go himself, but either way, he will be falling on his own sword in order to deflect attention from Blair, just as the various reports serve to muddy the waters and obscure our view of the real issues. The report is just another example of spin, full of carefully chosen phrases.
John Gosling, UK

It just confirms that you cannot trust any politician nowadays. There is not a man of honour amongst them - they are all liars!
Ali, UK

I find it unbelievable that the conclusions of the committee fail to recognise that without doubt there was a conspiracy at the highest levels of government to mislead the population in supporting an unnecessary war. The facts now show quite clearly that Saddam was never a threat, never had the capability of inflicting an attack on the UK and was really an irrelevance. No wonder our trust in politicians is waning by the day and the democracy we cherish and fight for is all but disappearing.
David Vousden, UK

Geoff Hoon will resign, Andrew Gilligan will resign. 1-1 in the battle between the BBC and the government and everyone (who matters) will be happy. Welcome to the way the real world works folks!
Richard, UK

Where are the WMD, the chemical and biological weapons, the clear and present threat?
Chris, UK
Was this report really necessary? There seems to be nothing conclusive in it. The answers given may have been well researched, but the problem is with the questions being asked. It is quite straightforward. Either the dossier was a deliberate fabrication, to enable the PM to gain support for the war, or the intelligence services were totally inept. Where are the WMD, the chemical and biological weapons, the clear and present threat?
Chris, UK

Iain, UK. The panel was made up of people from all parties and from both views on the war - hardly what could be called a Blair friendly panel, your inference being they were chosen simply because they backed him. Also Hoon would only be a scapegoat if he was 'identified' by Number 10. But it was the media who chose Hoon as their target. They've been printing negative stories about him long before Gilligan wrote his story.
GH, UK

The report is totally unsurprising. A panel friendly to Tony Blair has exonerated him of all wrong doing and poured mild criticism on a man who has already been identified as a likely scapegoat. This latest report is nothing more than another government-led initiative to spin its way out of trouble. Now we need an investigation into the politicking behind the creation of this piece of fiction and how it was leaked to the Evening Standard.
Iain, UK

All this report has done is decrease the visibility through the fog of speculation. The blame has been constantly passed from one person to another, and just happens to have come to a halt on the shoulders of Geoff Hoon. The fact that "the blame" is being passed around at all, is a partial admission that something was not done correctly.
Andy, UK

One thing this whole saga has lacked is facts
Steve, Scotland
I think Ed has inadvertently hit the nail on the head when he mentions facts - made up or otherwise. One thing this whole saga has lacked is facts. Since this whole affair started the most commonly used word in the English language is now 'opinion'. Where are the WMD?
Steve, Scotland

Ed, UK should consider a third possibility - that this report, from a Labour dominated, government friendly committee is no more than a whitewash. Geoff Hoon is being made the scapegoat in order to save Tony Blair when it is patently obvious that Downing Street not only 'sexed up' the document but used it to take us into a war for which there was no legal justification. Blair should sack Hoon and then resign himself.
David Hudson, Scotland

Ed, UK wrote that Andrew Gilligan is in the wrong for writing an untrue story. This is not necessarily correct. Firstly Andrew Gilligan reported that a senior official involved in the process had told him that the dossier had been "sexed up". This official is now known to be David Kelly, and it is now clear that he certainly had reservations about the document which he made known to Andrew Gilligan. He then reported these. Secondly, remember that this committee is dominated by Labour MPs. They aren't likely to conclude that their own government went to war because of a lie.
Mart, UK

Where does it leave Geoff Hoon? Who knows? Perhaps what you should also ask is where does it leave Andrew Gilligan? The report states that in no way was the dossier "sexed up" by anyone, so either Andrew Gilligan reported an incorrect story without checking the facts or he made the story up.
Ed, UK




SEE ALSO:
Hoon criticised in key Iraq report
11 Sep 03  |  Politics


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