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Last Updated: Monday, 9 February, 2004, 12:43 GMT
Will an inquiry resolve the WMD issue?

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The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Have we not learnt anything from the Hutton inquiry?
R. Blake
The issue can be resolved if the inquiry is handled by the opposition parties. I really do not understand the form of democracy both Blair and Bush are practicing. How can the accused (or those under suspicion) dictate by whom and how and on what material they can be questioned? Have we not learnt anything from the Hutton inquiry??
R. Blake

We owe it to the thousands who died. We owe it to their families. I doubt much will change as a result, but this is the least we can do. To those who say Saddam's going was worth the cost regardless - well, let us not pass judgement until we see that we haven't replaced one awful regime with another.
Alex, Canada

How can a report give you answers to such a complex issue which I think no-one has really understood fully? I mean was the reason for having the war to get rid of WMD or to stop the oppressive Saddam regime or was it greed for the west over oil? There are so many rumours, theories, inquiries etc, the question is will the inquiry actually be sufficient to explain it all and most of all convey the TRUTH to the rest of the world!!
David Hilton, Huddersfield, UK

My stomach is very heavy from hearing all of this talk of "inquiries." It should be obvious that the whole WMD issue, whether substantiated or not, was only a legal justification for a war that needed to happen. Saddam Hussein was a dangerous man, and his demise was long overdue.
Matt, Ohio, USA

This betrayal of trust has cost this government my support
Oliver Blacklock, Southampton

I supported the war in Iraq because I believed in giving the government the benefit of the doubt, trusting that they would only take such extreme measures as war if their intelligence indicated it was absolutely necessary. I find it absolutely outrageous that in fact we were lied to. It appears that the excuses for invasion that I thought were genuine were actually lies to gain support for some other agenda. This betrayal of trust has cost this government my support, and from now on I shall join my friends on protest marches while this appalling administration is in power, whatever the results of another shambolic inquiry.
Oliver Blacklock, Southampton

What is there to inquire about? If you read the Hutton Report on page 112. The intelligence re relation to the 45 minutes claim paragraph 178 says, "Iraq has probably dispersed its special weapons, including its CBW weapons. Intelligence also indicates that from forward-deployed storage sites, chemical and biological munitions could be with military units and ready for firing within 45 minutes". Now if the intelligence services knew that, why didn't Mr Hoon? And why didn't the Prime Minister repeat this statement in its entirety to the nation when he made his famous 45 minute claim?
Dion, Manchester

Maybe the inquiry would be a warning to MP's and PM's that they are accountable to the public. And they have a duty to serve and we will not tolerate being lied to.
Elizabeth Sellers, London, UK

A fair and decent inquiry like the one the Liberals are calling for would resolve the issue
Dudley Nelson, Ilkley, Yorkshire
A fair and decent inquiry like the one the Liberals are calling for would resolve the issue. But the inquiry the PM is calling for will not. It will find some poor blameless intelligence operative who failed to follow the "proper procedures" and lay the entire blame upon him or her.
Dudley Nelson, Ilkley, Yorkshire

An inquiry will result in the CIA and intelligence gathering people stating that they only provide the available data (whether it be hard data or rumours)to their leaders. It is the leader's job to review and judge the data and react to it. So an inquiry called for by Bush is like the fox calling for an investigation into the whereabouts of the missing chickens.
Jim Brown, Osterburg, Pennsylvania, USA

All the anti-war people want 'hard facts' and the truth. Well the truth is that you cannot ascertain these hard facts without proper inspections of the WMD facilities and programs by the UN which Saddam did not allow after decades of defying the UN resolutions. Then you have to go on intelligence gathered which can unfortunately be unreliable sometimes. If you look at the pre-2002 reports from the UN Inspectors the British and American Intel Services they found that they were either unsure of the exact capability and programs or it was probable that they had these weapons and programs still functioning some to a lethal capacity. The decision was in my mind justified due to a combination of these factors and Saddam's previous atrocities.
Jon, Stirling, Scotland

A head of state cannot blame his/ her intelligence. If it were just a matter of intelligence and deciding to go to war rested on them, then the intelligence services would be openly running the country! They don't, because we have a layer of officers above them who have to take responsibility for decisions using intelligence available. It's no excuse to wimp out saying he didn't understand what they meant. If he didn't want the job of decision maker why is he in it? The only way he could convince me he believes he was right, is to submit his decision to the UN for ratification. So yes, let's have an inquiry. But ask the UN to do it with a multinational panel. Use it to restore the attempt at world government we had before Bush and Blair wrecked its status.
Shan Jayran, UK

Semantics, deception, and complete contempt for the people of this country
Kate, West Midlands
The Government is already setting up their defence before the inquiry begins: Hoon & everyone else knew the 45 mins referred to battle weapons, but Blair did not. And even when the newspaper headlines screamed we were 45 mins away from attack by WMDs, Hoon chose not to set the record straight, but was happy to let us all infer the 45 mins referred to WMDs. Semantics, deception, and complete contempt for the people of this country.
Kate, West Midlands

There is a significant difference between basing a decision on evidence and basing evidence on a decision. Bush (and hence Blair) made the decision to attack Iraq then cobbled together some reasons - reasons which changed in priority as, one by one, their validity came into question. When confronted, the two duplicitous leaders continually hark back to that initial decision, supplementing truth with impassioned avowals of how justified they were in making the decision. Do they really think the (minorities) of people who voted for them are so stupid as to believe them? They do? Well maybe on that at least they are right!
Andrew Graham, Johannesburg, South Africa

In my view, the only thing that would resolve this (and many other issues) is to let the people decide via a General Election. I object, as a tax payer, to fund yet another expensive, meaningless and time wasting report.
Kevin, Ashton under Lyne, UK

The Government were either deceitful or quite staggeringly incompetent
Gary, London, UK
Whether the WMD were battlefield (tactical) or strategic is immaterial - the difference is only one of delivery system. The warheads themselves have not been found. It is quite clear that before committing to war one has to ask the right questions. The Government were either deceitful or quite staggeringly incompetent in not fully understanding the apparent threat. In either case the Government must be held accountable for their decisions.
Gary, London, UK

Another enquiry and more cost. What will it achieve? Nothing! It won't bring back a single life, return a single spent on the war and due to the uniqueness of this situation, we'll learn very little in terms of lessons for the future. What's more, the only people who will accept the outcome are those who agree with it's conclusions. Everyone else will rubbish it, just like Hutton. Whether justified or not
CA Berridge, Surrey

I really feel that a word should be said in support of the intelligence services here - it now seems very clear, that they didn't get it wrong. Robin Cook stated that he knew that the 45 minute warning was only for battlefield weapons, Tony Blair stated that he was not informed - it seems a more simplified means of communication between the relevant ministers and the Prime Minister should be devised. Maybe they could try drawing him a picture next time?
Wendy, UK Expat, Dubai, UAE

A full and unlimited inquiry is an absolute necessity
Mat, Cardiff
The government knew the claim was for battlefield weapons and knew as presented in the dossier it would be interpreted as ballistic WMD by the press. They did not rectify the situation. They knew the interpretation was (not even probably) wrong. Gilligan was in essence correct (though he still misreported). Someone has to own up to this - a full and unlimited inquiry is an absolute necessity.
Mat, Cardiff

Tony Blair claims he was only made aware of what the WMD really were after the report was published. This was still BEFORE troops actually engaged in combat. Why was there no attempt to call another vote/inform the rest of the house based on the new information available? An inquiry which ignores the political decisions can achieve nothing.
Jon Baggaley, Northampton, UK

To suggest that 'battlefield' WMD are somehow more acceptable than 'strategic' or 'long range' is grossly insulting to the armed forces that were and are put in harms way!
Keith, UK

These new arguments about whether Tony Blair knew what the 45 minute claim meant or not, are damning evidence that a war was rushed into too soon. Even if you accept he wasn't told, that is still no excuse, he plainly should have known. It's his cabinet after all. The hypocrisy in this matter when compared to the Gilligan report is absolutely appalling. This is exactly what an inquiry should look into. I can honestly say I have not met one person he believes the government on any of this.
John Manton, Berks UK

Have you noticed how Gordon Brown as a cabinet member is left out this whole saga? The back-up plan for the Labour party!
Piet Boon, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Some seem to think the cost of an inquiry is a reason not to have one. On those grounds perhaps we shouldn't have had a war.
George Lee, London

If Robin Cook was involved in the enquiry and he was convinced all was in order that would be good enough for me.
Oliver Wright, London, UK

Looks like Saddam was telling the truth to the world. He did not have any WMD at all.
Austin, USA

Who decided we should go to war? All the MPs that voted to go to war
Paul Halfpenny, London

Some critics of the war are asking for a political inquiry into why we went to war and who decided this. It is quite simple. The vote went before Parliament, with the evidence from the Intelligence community. All MPs had a free vote. The vote indicated that we should go to war. Without this, the UK could not have gone to war. So there you go. Who decided we should go to war? All the MPs that voted to go to war.
Paul Halfpenny, London, UK

We need a full public inquiry. It needs a panel to reduce the chance of any bias. And, importantly, it needs to look at the questions: 1. Why did we go to war? 2. Who decided we should go to war? 3. When was it decided to go to war? 4. What information was used in the decision to go to war? If these questions aren't answered, then the public will have no confidence and it'll be a waste of time.
Pete, London, UK

Maybe we should have a public inquiry into whether public inquiries ever actually manage to achieve anything?
Laura, UK

You already had an inquiry, what you need now are elections.
Frank Verbeken, Antwerp, Belgium

There is no need for an inquiry. As far as I'm concerned they did find and disarm one of the most effective Weapon of Mass Destruction in Iraq - Saddam Hussein.
Lynda Wood, Paris, France

It is about time he learned that as Prime Minister the buck stops with him
Richard Scott, Windsor, UK
An inquiry is not going to alter what happened and how much will it cost the tax payer. Maybe some high ranking official will resign but that's about it. The lives lost and the money spent will not change and Mr Blair will certainly not admit that he made a mistake - he will pass the buck as usual. It is about time he learned that as Prime Minister the buck stops with him.
Richard Scott, Windsor, UK

To be perfectly honest a real question needs to be posed as to whether an inquiry will truly achieve anything in political terms. We have already seen that irrespective of what an independent inquiry such the Hutton determines, the various stakeholders will not be happy until someone comes along to validate their version of the truth. Given the expense in time and money of these processes I think perhaps more focus should be given on running the country rather than running rings round each other
Mark Moore, London UK

From your report it seems the enquiry will only address the role of the intelligence services and not the political process, how convenient.
D Smith, Manchester, UK

As my driving instructor used to say: "manoeuvre, indicate, look" is not the recommended sequence.
Steve, UK

Well done Charles Kennedy for not being part of another sham. The public need to know how the decision to go to war was arrived at and who actually made it. Concentrating purely on the security services information tells us very little.
Keith Watson, Rugby, England

It's quite ironic how both the US and UK inquiries are based on the gathering of intelligence, not how or why the decision was made for war. The whitewash has begun.
Laurie, MB, USA

Blair will squirm out of this just like he has every other time and the increasingly supine Labour Party will end up backing him because they are so desperate to cling on to power. It's a sad day for the Labour movement and democracy in this country. We have no credible opposition and it is becoming clearer by the day that our rulers are no longer accountable to us.
Marc Dauncey, London, UK

As they say in New York, "Same circus, different clowns".
Jane, London

What we need is a general election not an inquiry. Let the people of this country resolve the issue at the ballot box.
Derek, Newark, England

If the intelligence services failed to do their job properly, the head of the intelligence services and Tony Blair must resign
Enrique, Lima

The inquiry is another smoke screen. But this is all irrelevant. When a BBC journalist failed to do his job properly, the director and the chairman of the board resigned. If the intelligence services failed to do their job properly, the head of the intelligence services and Tony Blair must resign. The responsibility to go to war is at the top. It is all very easy to blame it on those who risk their lives in the field while the Masters of War sit comfortably in London.
Enrique, Lima, Peru

God bless Charles Kennedy for not taking part in yet another political whitewash! My vote goes Lib Dem at the next election.
Dave M, Northampton

Accountability is the key. We want an honest inquiry. Unlike Hutton's where Blair smuggled in the outcomes beforehand when he drafted the terms of reference.
John, London

It is very disappointing that the Liberal Democrats have decided not to participate in the bi-partisan enquiry. This smacks of precisely the opportunism that the Liberal Democrats have been accusing other political parties of.
Peter Carpenter, London, UK

The first question must be whether intelligence was the reason we went to war at all
Matthew Page, Lewes, UK
Jack Straw is being misleading when he argues that there are only two questions to answer; "Either the intelligence was flawed, or it was mishandled". The first question must be whether intelligence was the reason we went to war at all. Pay heed to Ken Clarke and Charlie Kennedy, they are on the right track.
Matthew Page, Lewes, UK

Tony Blair said that "The issue of good faith was determined by the Hutton inquiry." The Hutton enquiry was a judgement upon the circumstances leading to David Kelly's death, not a license of immunity from wrong doing that may yet be found under investigation of further and more complete evidence. Blair's position is indefensible; he is trying to spin a judgement on the outcome of an investigation before it has even begun. As he also says far too often, let's wait and see.
Tom, London UK

Don't make me laugh...we've already been told remit of the enquiry does not include how the intelligence was used in the political decision to go to war. In other words this so called enquiry will totally ignore all the issues the British public deserves to know the answers to.
LH, UK

I am not a Liberal Democrat, but here is finally a party that will take a principled stand on the issues. If the inquiry cannot look or decide on the political actions taken on the intelligence, then it will not solve anything. There is no point in having it. We know the intelligence was faulty...the weapons are not there. What we need to know is why we went to war...that was a political decision, and that's what the inquiry need to look at.
Dave K, Cambridge, England

There are key questions that the inquiry certainly won't resolve. Was the decision to go to war based on the actual threat posed by Saddam? Or was the WMD argument just produced to garner public support for that decision, which was in reality taken for other reasons? Did Bush indicate to Blair that he was going to invade anyway, thus forcing Blair into a decision that was nothing to do with the threat Saddam posed?
Julian, Brighton, UK

If we are to end up with a meaningful inquiry, we need to understand why people want another one having just had the Hutton inquiry. It is because there is a general feeling of uncertainty about the war. People want to know why we went to war, if we needed to go to war, and, if not, who is to blame and how we can avoid making the same mistakes in future. An inquiry that only looks into WMD will not answer these questions.
John Wallace, London, UK

The parliamentarians all have vested interests
Andrew Harrow, Aberdeen, Scotland
No, not in the way it is to be set up. This inquiry should be totally independent of parliament. The parliamentarians all have vested interests, hence we will end up with another whitewash. What is needed is an inquiry chaired by three judges, with all the evidence being given in public.
Andrew Harrow, Aberdeen, Scotland

It's unfortunate that they have chosen Lord Butler to head the inquiry - someone who, despite his enormous experience and undoubted intelligence, will nonetheless be perceived as pure 'establishment'. Thus, the public will have no confidence in his conclusions, much in the same way they have no confidence in Hutton's. The government isn't learning any lessons - the public believe in Sir Humphrey and conspiracy theories.
Jamie, Folkestone, Kent

Yet another weapon of mass distraction. Why pay millions for an inquiry when Bush no longer even pretends that the weapons exist?
Guy Chapman, Reading, UK

Why are findings that go against what you want to be true, always a whitewash? Difficult decisions had to be made and if intelligence was insufficient then the intelligence services were at fault. As for the government being accountable, surely that will happen at the next election, or do you seriously think that Blair will resign? As someone recently said, he's a decent bloke doing a decent job.
Steve, Newcastle, England

We should be focusing on whether the government put pressure on the intelligence services to give them the information they needed
Ed, Sheffield, UK
If an inquiry is held, it will only be another whitewash. Blair will be very careful that nothing under its remit could directly accuse him of leading the country to war on false pretences. We should be focusing on whether the government put pressure on the intelligence services to give them the information they needed.
Ed, Sheffield, UK

What is the point? The public, without any knowledge of what intelligence was given to Mr Blair and what he did with that intelligence, has already passed sentence. Step back and think to yourselves. Do you actually want to know what's gone on, or do you just want to get rid of Mr Blair because he had to make the unenviable decision to go to war in Iraq?
Mark, Wales

An inquiry may just resolve the WMD issue but only if an examination of the political decisions is included in the remit. Clearly Blair seems to have bullied his cabinet into this decision and most of the people I talk to about this believe that there were political considerations which were probably allied to the Blair's wish to remain in the Bush administration's good books.
Tony Haworth, Sedgefield, UK

There is no need for such an inquiry. It is now crystal-clear that the invasion of Iraq was not justified. The issue about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was used as a smokescreen so as to justify the invasion.
Alvin Blake, Hannover, Germany

Bush has landed Blair right in it!
Roop, UK
Bush has landed Blair right in it! By trying to save his own neck, he's hung Blair out to dry. What are allies for? They didn't even have the decency to plant some WMD and make this topic irrelevant.
Roop, UK

To paraphrase Stalin;
It's not the intelligence that counts, it's who counts acts on the intelligence.
Maureen, Antigua West Indies

Surely an inquiry is vital. If what the Government were saying was right and Iraq was bristling with ready-to-go WMD then where are they? This is an important point as one of the lines spun to the public was that invading Iraq was essential in order to prevent these WMD falling into the hands of terrorists. So, if they are not in Iraq then maybe the terrorists have already got them. Such a scenario would be of major concern to the whole planet and thus must be worthy of an inquiry?
NM, UK

How can people say it would be a waste of money? The war spent a hell of a lot of taxes and we deserve to find out if it was justified.
, UK

What is the point of a public enquiry into the government's own intelligence service? A waste of public money, then what else? Blair is far from undoing all the bad publicity his government got with the war in Iraq, so please Mr Blair, leave it. We don't need another inquiry.
Mary J, London UK

I think there should be an enquiry into why the intelligence we went to war on was so wrong. The Hutton Report has let the government off the hook and this is quite simply unacceptable! The government must be held to account for their actions.
Chris, Hull

By its very nature all intelligence cannot be totally trusted - The inquiry should focus on the "use" of the intelligence, not what the intelligence was.
Kev, London

What IS the point? Nobody believes anything that comes out of these inquiries any more: the Hutton Report was a whitewash. Seriously, how likely is it that any inquiry on either side of the pond will conclude: "Actually we went to war because we wanted to"?
Rachel Coldbreath, London, UK

Yet another opportunity for the BBC to airbrush the facts and spin the story to show how they have been right all along. The basic fact is the world is now short one murdering dictator. Inquire into that.
Ian, UK

This enquiry is purely to deflect criticism. To take the heat of Blair and is Government again. It is so shameful that this Government insults our intelligence constantly with regard to this. The reason for the War as we all know was Oil.
David Roberts, Mansfield UK

Absolutely there should be an inquiry. Current evidence suggests that the intelligence was very badly wrong. If the BBC can be so heavily criticised for the quality of its investigation then the same standard should be required of the government.
Pieter Dyson, Manchester, UK

It will be an expensive waste of public money with no discernable outcome
Dave Jowett, Yate, UK
What's the point? The government will come out whiter than white and America will still dictate foreign policy. It will be an expensive waste of public money with no discernable outcome.
Dave Jowett, Yate, UK

What would be the point? Most people have drawn their own conclusions anyway. The move by George Bush is simply an easy way out because he can now fend off accusation from the Democrats by saying that he has authorised a full inquiry and that he will make no further comment until the results are out. Of course, the results won't be known until after the election.
Philip, San Francisco, USA

I think most people would agree when I say - who gives a toss? I mean we've just had to sit through this Hutton circus and now just when you think it's over we have to now listen to an "inquiry". I thought we just had one!
Max, London

The Bush and Blair administrations cherry picked intelligence that supported their oil war and ignored the vast majority of intelligence which stated that Iraq was not a threat. Also, Bush And Blair are ultimately in charge of the intelligence agencies, so their heads should roll, and we must not be distracted into blaming the intelligence services.
Tajinder Singh, London, UK

How else can the nation have faith in the intelligence services and the government?
Simon, Northants, UK
I think an inquiry is crucial. How else can the nation have faith in the intelligence services and the government? I am still a supporter of the government, but fail to see how they can avoid questions being asked about the situation.
Simon, Northants, UK

No, an inquiry is not necessary. The war was the only way to eliminate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. If a person is threatening you with a weapon, you do not need to see it to take action! This should be the end of the story.
Sam Delaney, Ferndale, Michigan, USA

If having an inquiry helps to avoid thousands of deaths in the future through unnecessary wars then it has to be worth it.
Tim Sowter, West Wickham, England

I'd rather have an inquiry into the reasons why this government has seemingly put British foreign policy into the hands of the US.
Andrew, Croydon

It would be a shameful waste of money
James, Milton Keynes, England
Absolutely not, it would be a shameful waste of money which would be better spent on ensuring that next time our brave troops go into battle, they have enough flak jackets to go round!
James, Milton Keynes, England

There should be an immediate investigation. Did the intelligence services dupe the government? Or did the government pressure the IS into delivering bad intelligence? A lot of people trusted Tony Blair. Was he himself guilty of being too trusting?
Jenner Folwell

An inquiry may well now be necessary, but I fail to see what good it will do. The majority of the press and public have already made up their minds and any verdict, as seen by the recent Hutton report, will be dismissed unless it complies with the already pre-judged views. The government has consistently been accused by the media and public of not listening and yet it is these who seem to only listen to what will back up their already steadfast views.
Rob, Manchester, UK

No. This is not government by consultation; those that voted for this government did so because they believed that it was capable of governing, and governing well. The money spent on all these pointless finger-pointing resignation-seeking exercises should be spent on all matter of useful things. We will cast our vote on this government at the next general election.
Leah McCann, London

What I find distasteful is the current political point scoring by the Tories when they voted to go to war. Two million people marched through London because it was blatantly obvious that the reasons given by the Labour Party for going to war were weak in the extreme.
Geraint Day, Trefforest, Wales

I fail to see how an inquiry can be avoided
Phillip Holley, UK
I fail to see how an inquiry can be avoided. The case for war was that WMD needed to secured from the use of Saddam and terrorists. We've now searched the country (and no doubt much of the Middle East) and there is no sign of them. It stands to reason therefore that we need to know what evidence there was and how it was interpreted so that the same mistakes can be avoided again ... not just by Blair and Bush but by any future government.
Phillip Holley, UK, Cambs

It is obvious to all who truly understand international affairs and the dominance of the American empire, that this intelligence was manipulated to justify a war that America wanted in order to secure its 'rights' over the energy resources of the Middle East, and to scare any other country that might stand up to them to 'think twice'. The American empire and the furthering of it, can be summed up in 2 words, 'greed' and 'power'.
Stuart Rankin, London, UK

Why waste tax payers money. Look at the Hutton report, how much did that cost and since the result was not what many people wanted to hear the results have been questioned. Unless an independent inquiry gives a "guilty we should not have gone to war" result, the press and public will question the result and the independence of the author of the report.
Mark, UK

I wish these people who keep harping on about Bush and Blair facing the consequences would face reality. WMD are not necessarily massive missiles and bombs. One test tube of a chemical agent could be classed as a WMD. Try finding that in Iraq. Saddam was warned of the impending war months before it began. Plenty of time to hide WMD away. I don't like this government but I'm glad they went to war and got rid of an evil tyrant
Lianne, Cannock, UK

Intelligence is not based on standards of truth required in law courts
Sebastian, Oxford, England
When you remember that intelligence is not based on standards of truth required in law courts, we can see that it is perfectly possible to get very reliable (but not perfectly reliable) intelligence, make excellent interpretations and still get false conclusions. This probably may not happen very often, but when you are dealing with a master of deception like Saddam Hussein, it is a likely possibility. It seems to me that the intelligence at the time suggested that there would be WMD found in Iraq, and Saddam made a strategic decision not to cooperate sufficiently in order to give the impression that he did have WMD, but the inspectors were incapable of finding them.
Sebastian, Oxford, England

Tony Blair has constantly avoided the central issue in this debate. It is time that he is called to account fully. It is tragic that a government which was elected with such a mandate from the people for reform has failed so monumentally by virtue of its unrelenting pursuit of political opportunism, spin and cronyism. Who do they think they are fooling?
GL, London

An inquiry would only demonstrate further the control that this Prime Minister has (or is trying to exert) on all the established independent bodies in our country. Having got parliament, the BBC and the judiciary to fall into line, no doubt the intelligence services are next on his list. This man is rapidly destroying the fabric of the country, one which is much admired by the rest of the world. Please somebody stop this self-possessed lunatic before he inflicts any more damage elsewhere.
Robert Russell, London UK

I don't think the problem is the intelligence data itself. The problem is how it was used
Nigel, Oxford
I don't think the problem is the intelligence data itself. The problem is how it was used. Accusations were simply stated as fact in order to justify war. There was no presentation given to parliament regarding the level of reliability of the sources used or to the possible ulterior motives of those providing the information.
Nigel, Oxford, UK

The intelligence on WMD from Iraq has been consistent for years. The politicians should tell us what changed and why the timescale had to be February 2003. My guess is elections in the USA this year and UK next
Jeremy, Hitchin, Herts

What about the intelligence from the large team of weapons inspectors in Iraq? Blair and Bush were determined to have a war and now they are blaming it on bad intelligence. Governments should take responsibility.
Tim Collyer, Lancing UK

There was nothing wrong with the intelligence, being dubious and uncertain by it's very nature. Rather we should find out why the UK and US governments interpreted it in the way they did and ignored the doubts and alternatives offered by the other UN Security Council's member states who had access to the same intelligence.
Lucien van Wouw, Leiden, The Netherlands

It is still possible to find the WMD in Iraq
Terry, Limassol, Cyprus
Having been in Kuwait before and after the invasion by Saddam, it is clear to me that it is still possible to find the WMD in Iraq, they were finding major arms and even tanks buried in Kuwait up to 18 months after they left Kuwait, Iraq is much larger and Saddam had much more than 18 months to bury/hide/conceal any such WMD.
Terry, Limassol/Cyprus

Why don't we just have a General Election and be done with it. Blair can then be judged on his whole WMD war - which in many ways is really what this is all about.
Grant, MK, England

I don't see the point. As with Hutton people will dismiss the findings as a whitewash unless they agree exactly with their own (politically motivated) opinions. The money would be better spend on rebuilding Iraq.
Peter McFarlane, Nottingham, UK

I think we already know that Saddam and the intelligence agencies (UK, US, Germany, France and Israel) were a victim of Saddam's bluff and their own limitations. The question that needs answering is why Bush and Blair couldn't wait for the UN inspection teams to finish their inspections and let the UN decide how to go forward with Saddam's behaviour. In my opinion, Bush and Blair wanted Saddam ousted and the Intelligence was simply a convenient way of justifying a war. So if we investigate the intelligence failures, we're going to have another Hutton finding on our hands. In the end, even if Bush and Blair were sincere and the intelligence was misleading, they both did a terrible job of understanding the ramifications of their actions.
Eric, London, UK

It is truly astonishing that we are considering a 'public' inquiry into intelligence activities
Paul B, Oxford, UK
It is truly astonishing that we are considering a 'public' inquiry into intelligence activities. By their very nature, intelligence matters are secret; there's no point otherwise. We have to depend on the fact that the general standards of our society will act as the ultimate rein on the limits of activity of our intelligence services. Even if that is not acceptable, conducting the activities of a 'secret service' in the public gaze is completely absurd. Perhaps that's where the problem lies; the government tried to reinforce their position by appearing to discuss 'intelligence' in the open, whereas this could never really be the case.
Paul B, Oxford, UK

Of course there must be an inquiry into WMD. Since 9/11 our foreign policy has radically changed. Both the American and British governments are now advocating pre-emptive strikes. More wars are in the offing. If we're going to attack other countries we must have reliable intelligence. To launch wars on the basis of bogus information will stir up more hatred of the West and bring the clash of civilizations that much nearer.
Roger George Clark, London, UK

To hold an inquiry is superficially attractive, but all it does is hand the ruling party a convenient opportunity to stifle inconvenient debate during the run-up to elections. Once those are safely out of the way, you can bet the enquiry will exonerate the ruling party, not least because its terms of reference will be carefully chosen for that outcome. Mark my words. Hutton Schmutton!
Andy h, Bristol UK

Let the hawks who sent us to war face legal accountability
Michael Wills, Cumbria
There is growing evidence to support the assertion made before the invasion of Iraq that such an invasion would be an illegal act of aggression. In effect a crime against peace, under the Nuremburg Articles established to protect nations against such acts. At a hypothetical trial of such an act by Public Interest Lawyers it was held that an invasion would be illegal. It is time to forget the red herrings and side issues and let the hawks who sent us to war face legal accountability.
Michael Wills, Cumbria

Half of the world's spy satellites have been watching the middle-east for over a decade. How come they didn't spot these weapons, or the movement of them if they really existed?
D.H, England

I support an inquiry into intelligence failures, but let's stick to the facts on these pages. The French and the Germans thought Iraq had WMDs, Dr. Kelly thought Iraq had WMDs and the majority of Britains supported the war and still do. We should also face the fact that the world is a complicated and dangerous place, and our leaders have to make difficult choices with imperfect information.
Tim, London, UK

To Tim, London:
Are you sure that your information regarding Germany and France is in fact correct or are you just repeating what someone else thought because it conveniently suited their argument ? Both the German and French government always talked of 'alleged WMDs' and in fact there was a highly publicized outburst between Donald Rumsfeld and Joschkar Fischer on this issue. Rumsfeld told reporters that he would take anyone who did not believe in the existence of WMDs in Iraq as an 'idiot'. Fisher then replied (in broken English) that he himself did not believe in their existence and that therefore he could not convince the electorate of their existence either.
Michael, France, Bordeaux

It is better to have no inquiry than another inquiry with a strategically limited remit this time looking at the 'failures of intelligence services regarding WMD'. That kind of an inquiry would likely deflect attention from the a priori intentions and blatant partiality of the 'coalition' leaders in their biased interpretation and selective meddling with available intelligence and simply dwell on the imperfection of intelligence, misleading of Iraqi exiles, posturing of Saddam and the like. What matters is an inquiry on the true reasons for going to war.
Celine, London, UK

Neither Tony Blair, nor any government member, should have any part in selecting a chairman
A Wilson, Edinburgh
Those who promoted this war generally rubbished those who did produce factual information that indicated the WMD issue, and the supposed information supporting it, was most questionable. As the UK is a democracy, then an inquiry is essential to identify a) who lied and/or b) who is incompetent and should resign. Starting wars on mistaken information, is a bit more than a passing error, it is a resigning offence at the very least! Of course if there was an inquiry then neither Tony Blair, nor any government member, should have any part in selecting a chairman nor the remit, being that none of them hold a neutral position.
A Wilson, Edinburgh

How much do these inquiries cost? And what is the point of them? If the Government is cleared of wrongdoing the anti-war / anti-American lobby will cry "whitewash". The Iraqi people are now free. Free to tell their own story. Why doesn't the BBC ever talk to ordinary Iraqi's about what they feel about the war? Maybe the BBC & the anti war lobby would not like the answers. Maybe we should start a lobby for an inquiry into the BBC's reporting bias during the war?.
Roger Morgan Freedlan, Whitwick, England

If the WMD story was in good faith and intentions, I don't see what the Prime Minister and government have to fear. However, I think it's about time the Prime Minister stopped insisting the so called WMDs will be found. The tune has changed, and it makes him look out of touch with realty.
Andy Karis, London, UK

Is it going to bring back to life the tens of thousands who died in vain?
Tony G, Reading

What good is an inquiry going to do? Is it going to bring back to life the tens of thousands who died in vain? Is it going to restore little Ali's arms and legs? Are Bush and Blair going to do the honourable thing and resign for taking two countries into war illegally and making the world a more dangerous place? Of course not. All that will happen is a lot of tax payers money will be spent, a report published blaming no one and a lot of time being wasted. People of UK and USA - just remember this incident and all those who died when you cast your vote in Nov 2004 and May 2005.
Tony G, Reading, UK

An inquiry is essential if credibility in the intelligence service is to be restored. How can we be expected to believe the next threat assessment when this one was so wildly wrong? What I would like to know is why we went to war in such a rush, before allowing the weapons inspectors to do their jobs. It seems there was another agenda behind this war - an inquiry should focus on exactly what that agenda was and make it public.
John, Inverness, Scotland

Saddam Hussein's appalling Human Rights record made the use of force justifiable
Phil, Southampton

Whether Iraq possessed WMD or not is clearly irrelevant at the end of the day. The justification for war was clear. Saddam Hussein's appalling Human Rights record made the use of force justifiable. The UN's resolutions, blatantly and repeatedly ignored by this man for years, made this organisation a laughing stock with little credibility. Saddam's game of brinkmanship brought about the death and destruction not Bush or Blair. Time for the doubters and the ostriches to get their heads out of the sand and face reality - sometimes you have to do the right thing!
Phil, Southampton, UK

It's only worth having inquiries if people are prepared to accept the findings. Given the general reaction to the Hutton Report, why should we spend millions of pounds on another inquiry which people are going to rubbish and ignore if it doesn't match their pre-conceived ideas?
Richard, Newton of Ardtoe, UK

A very neat piece of work by the President and Prime Minister. Transfer the blame to the intelligence services and deflect the public's gaze from their own failings.
Andy, Purfleet, UK

Saddam Hussein apparently kept threatening use of these weapons, his bluff was called
Mike, Ashford, UK

I believe that we should get on with life instead of keep spending fortunes paying groups of people to take months, or years, to give their opinions of the facts they uncover. Saddam Hussein apparently kept threatening use of these weapons, his bluff was called. Whether he had them or not is a bit late now. If I go into a bank and threaten the staff with the fact that I have a gun, or bomb, I don't expect an inquiry afterwards into whether or not I had one, or was capable of getting hold of one!
Mike, Ashford, UK

Of course there should be an independent investigation into WMD. The only problem is that by the time it reaches any conclusions, Bush will be re-elected already.
Erik Petersen, Basel, Switzerland

Of course, those that governed the decision to engage in this war should be held accountable. What is most disturbing is Bush's interest to now examine preliminary UN WMD inspection team documentation on their pre-war findings. Perhaps it would have been an idea to collaborate before invading!
Mark, Canada

With the exception of Tony Blair, everyone knows there are no WMD in Iraq. The question for the UK is why was the intelligence so wrong? This requires investigating.
Hugh Wilson, Glasgow Scotland

Bush Should have asked for the facts before going to war.
Suhail Bhatia, Bombay, India

An independent commission is definitely needed to investigate WMD. The UN should also hold its own investigation.
James Tudor, Allen, Texas

There are two different issues, who has WMD and how did the UK and the US obtain their "intelligence" on the Iraqi program. Knowing details of the first might avoid some of the errors apparent in the information about Iraq and its WMD?
Alan Cook, Wollongong, Australia

Unless we have a public inquiry into how the intelligence services got it so wrong, how can we possibly sleep easy in our beds.
Peter, Norwich

An unbiased, international investigative team from the UN should have been appointed to the inquiry of WMD rather than one judge, appointed by Mr. T. Blair
Maria, San Diego, USA
It is imperative to find the truth. An inquiry into the existence of WMD is a must. All expert weapons inspectors, i.e., Joe Ritter, David Kay, Dr. David Kelly, all stated there were no WMD. I know Joe Ritter repeatedly stated this before Mr. Bush went into Iraq. Yet Mr. Bush and Rumsfeld both stated that they 'knew' Saddam had them, that they 'knew' where they were. An unbiased, international investigative team from the UN should have been appointed to the inquiry of WMD rather than one judge, appointed by Mr. T. Blair. Hopefully, the US Senate can pursue these issues soon.
Maria, San Diego, USA

I believe we do need an inquiry into the issue of WMD. However, I honestly don't know who would be able to raise one; all the major players in this issue have vested interests of some kind.
Robert Bennett, Nantwich, Cheshire

It is absolutely critical that a full and independent inquiry is held. I ask all journalists and media not to let this matter rest.
J E Delve, Essex UK

It should definitely be established through an independent impartial inquiry that the reasons cited for going to war were correct. If the reasons are found to be false, US and UK should be made to pay reparations to Iraq in the same way Saddam was forced to pay Kuwait.
Abraham K, Toronto, Canada

Why did the powers that be choose to believe the 45 min account and ignore the majority of sources that needed more time?
Susan Harrison, Yorkshire

Now, more than ever we need an inquiry into WMDs. It was the 45 minute claim that was used to justify the Iraq war, and it is now quite clear that this claim was totally false. Even Bush now wants to know what was wrong with the intelligence, and yet we have Blair still saying they were definitely there.
Intelligence, by its very nature, can never be absolutely certain, but it is imperative that its reliability be established, and even more importantly that the politicians who then act on it are shown to judge the intelligence impartially.
Tenzin, UK

Who's going to appoint the investigation body? Bush like Blair appointed Hutton. Than of course we know what the outcome will be!
De Ravet, Brasschaat, Belgium

Surely the issue at hand here is the fundamental principle behind going to war
Kabir Dhanji, Nairobi, Kenya
Surely the issue at hand here is the fundamental principle behind going to war. If the United States went into the war for the wrong reasons, knowing that they didn't have all the facts and evidence, then it stands that they somewhat deceived the public as to what they did and didn't know. If the reasons behind their actions were flawed, then how can we trust the individuals that make up the government to make correct decisions? These are the people who the public elects, and if they cannot be trusted, then they shouldn't be in power.
Kabir Dhanji, Nairobi, Kenya

No. It would just be yet another red herring. We need an inquiry as to the real reasons for the invasion/occupation of Iraq. Why was Bush so intent on waging this (or any?) war? And, especially, in the British context, why was Tony Blair so determined to blindly follow despite public opinion being against intervention and despite knowing that there was no real justification for war.
G. Cowell, Spain/Scotland

Yes we need an enquiry into WMDs, we cannot have these politicians declaring war on anybody because they think there are WMD in that country. The world is still waiting for the proof from Iraq, Mr Blair and Mr Bush where are they?
Steve, South Yorkshire, UK

An Inquiry would achieve nothing, as we saw with Hutton people will think what they think, if the result of the inquiry is different to their opinion they will just say the inquiry is at fault.
Ashley Toms, Bristol

Mr. Bush has just admitted that he doesn't have a clue what's going on. I find this very disturbing. It was, after all, Mr Bush who went around convincing the world that Iraq's WMD were an immediate threat to American security. An inquiry before the '04 American Election will cost Bush the White House - An inquiry after the '04 American Election won't matter - Mr Bush must stall the inquiry if he is to remain in the White House.
Phil McCammon, GB

Nobody ever had access to what intelligence said. All we had access to was what Bush, Blair, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz told us intelligence was saying. Even then, that didn't hold up in the court of public opinion. Looking at intelligence is a distraction. Comparing intelligence reports and analysis with what the leaders of Britain and the US told the world is what should be done.
Tunde, Lagos, Nigeria

If the basis to go to war against Iraq because of its presumed stocks of WMD was flawed, then surely the wider question begs, why did the UN still impose sanctions against Iraq for ten years for non compliance with the UN on whether or not Iraq had these weapons?
Anthony Adekoya, London, UK

How can we trust intelligence in the future?
Darren Hurley, Bristol, UK
Of course there should be a full inquiry, an enquiry that covers all the ground that the Hutton Report didn't. We entered into a war on the SOLE issue of WMDs, it is absolutely clear that they never existed, we have all been spun a lie, bring an inquiry on!
A really worrying aspect of all this is that if these intelligence reports can be so completely inaccurate, then how can we trust intelligence in the future?
Darren Hurley, Bristol, UK

We have to remember that apart from a few weapons like those in the above picture, we claimed Saddam was in material breach of Resolution 1441. We invaded his country on that basis. If he did not however have the stockpiles of WMDs that were claimed, and the clear imminent threat (of the 45 minute launch claim), then the war was illegal (as many would say anyway) under International Law.
Antony, Dorset, UK

Just to be counted, "YES,YES, YES!!!
Larry, Markstay, Canada

No, an inquiry into the inquiry about WMDs pre-war would just be a propaganda vehicle for the anti-war brigade. The Hutton inquiry has answered the question as to who was lying. That's why Blair has not resigned, and the BBC heads have.
Andrew Walden, Hilo, Hawaii, USA

It's a bit late now - the damage is done. The evidence for no WMDs was abundant before the war! Experts with first-hand knowledge like former weapons inspector Scott Ritter were crystal clear - Saddam had no WMD production capability and no WMD stockpiles. The weapons inspection process had eliminated them. Yet Iraqi exiles with no expertise who stood to gain power in a "liberated" Iraq cooked up any number of fanciful stories about Saddam, including the bogus 45-minute claim. They were believed. Bush and Blair simply chose the intelligence they needed based on expedience, not reliability.
Marc Brett, Richmond, UK

Exactly which 'facts' does the president wish to know? Does this imply he went to war without 'facts'? Surely he had all the 'facts' necessary? He had the 'facts' presented by the UN weapons inspectors suggesting there were few if any WMD. He also had the 'facts' presented by intelligence sources and elements opposed to Saddam Hussein (with very vested interests) stating that there were stockpiles of WMD and even that they could be deployed within 45 minutes. He and Blair chose to believe the latter. Bush's call for the 'facts' is simply a smokescreen trying to obscure a very bad piece of judgment and shift the blame.
Clive, Milwakee USA

If we lived in a perfect world, intelligence would be perfect
Penny, USA
If we lived in a perfect world, intelligence would be perfect. As it is, we don't and it wasn't. It is not the job of the President to micro-manage government agencies but it is his job to determine how efficiently and productive they are run. Keep in mind, however, that during the previous administration, funding for the intelligence agencies was not as high a priority as lowering the deficit. You do get what you pay for.
Penny, USA

No - all that those calling for an inquiry want to do is to 'prove' their opinion that the War had no justification. No inquiry can persuade those who are 'anti-war' that honest men made difficult decisions about our future safety. They certainly do not want to find out how to improve our future use of intelligence, as no amount of intelligence would satisfy them that we should ever act. If what you want is to punish Bush, or Blair, then use your vote in an election. I will still be voting for Blair - he acted in all our interests.
Billie, London UK

The government needs to be judged by a jury of its peers. As an elected body of the public it has a responsibility to answer to them. Therefore the public should have the information to decide. Or does the government think we are not astute enough to make a decision for ourselves.
Paul Young, London, England

Surely, wouldn't it have been better for Bush to get the "facts" before going to war?
Toby, London

We need a very thorough investigation to prevent such a thing from happening in the future - we also need to find out how such a small group of ideologues usurped power from the majority.
Steve, Washington DC

Of course we need an inquiry. I suggest Lord Hutton should run it.
Rod, Oxford England

We owe it to the families of the thousands of innocent Iraqis who died
David, Minneapolis, USA
I believe we owe it to the families of the 500+ men and women who died serving in the US/UK military. We owe it to the families of the thousands of innocent Iraqis who died as a result.
David, Minneapolis, USA

Pity Bush couldn't wait for the truth before launching this illegal and unnecessary war. I think an independent inquiry should be set up-on both sides of the Atlantic. Many powerful heads will roll as a result of this.
Peter Bolton, US

The question seems to me to be, "Why SHOULDN'T there be an inquiry?"
Horse, Boston, MA

Inquiry? Didn't King Oedipus find out that he himself was the cause for his nation's ills? President Bush is only going to find himself at the end of such an inquiry.
Erik B, NJ, USA

What good will an inquiry do? The politicians will just appoint people who will whitewash the facts.
Peter Vevang, Minneapolis, USA<

The Bush Administration was not interested in 'facts' when Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld directed the Office of Special Plans to cherry-pick intelligence to support the Bush desire for invasion. Why would Bush be interested in facts now? Bush's search for facts will be a search for a scapegoat - nothing more.
Ian, Texas, USA

The real question to be answered is not whether the intelligence was wrong but whether anybody knew that it was wrong at the time it was presented...
Andrew, Derbyshire

War is serious business, so many lives have been lost and destroyed. It is important to determine what put us in this mess so that the same mistakes are not repeated. Is it possible that this war was fought for personal reasons? Let's find out. After all, perhaps that next loss of life maybe be someone near and dear.
Michael Metti, San Diego, USA




SEE ALSO:
Bush wants 'facts' on Iraqi WMD
30 Jan 04  |  Americas
The failures of intelligence
29 Jan 04  |  Politics
In quotes: Iraq's alleged WMDs
27 Jan 04  |  Middle East
UN team to probe Iraq elections
30 Jan 04  |  Middle East


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