[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
Butler report: Your reaction
Lord Butler with copy of his report
Our guests on Talking Point were Frank Gaffney, President of the Center for Security Policy and Sir Paul Lever, former Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee.


Key intelligence used to justify war with Iraq has now been shown to be unreliable, according to Lord Butler's report.

The 196 page report criticised MI6 for not checking its sources well enough and for sometimes relying on third hand reports.

It also said that the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) should not have claimed Iraq could use WMD within 45 minutes without explaining what that meant.

The Butler report comes after a United States Senate Committee report found that CIA intelligence on Iraq before the war was flawed.

The Senate report said that most of the major judgements were either "overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting".

What do you think of Lord Butler's report? What do you think of the US Senate report? Do you think the agencies failed to deliver quality intelligence? How should intelligence be gathered and used in future?

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


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

SUGGEST A DEBATE
This topic was suggested by Mike, Croydon, UK:
What will the Butler Report find?

Having listened to Gaffney and Lever on your Talking Point I can spare myself reading all the trash casting aspersions on Blair and Bush. After this morning's Parl debate report I am more convinced that both Blair and Bush will be voted in for another term to complete their good work to make the world safer for freedom, and humanity.
Kengchu Au, Singapore

I like the way MI6 is blamed for the unreliable information on Iraq. But, one forgets that the information given was exactly what Tony Blair wanted, distorted and biased giving good reasons to join Bush and his merry band of blood thirsty killers. Blair has blood on his hands and must be tried for it.
Mike, Luton, UK

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Saddam Hussain needed his own people to fear him so it was in his interest to imply that he did have WMDs. This war resulted in the removal of one of the cruellest right wing tyrants ever Known. I cannot believe the left wingers in this country who were happy to let their brothers and sisters in Iraq suffer as long as they did.
M McCulloch, Dunfermline Scotland

Blair has a megalomaniac traces to be the next Churchill.
V. Ratnaweera, Winterthur, Switzerland
The war was planned a long time ago, irrespective of the "mass destruction weapons". I don't think there is partnership between Bush and Blair. For Bush the war was a shrewd way of getting US-votes, Blair has a megalomaniac traces to be the next Churchill.
V. Ratnaweera, Winterthur, Switzerland

The question now would be: "Is attacking a sovereign nation pre-emptively solely on the purpose of regime change justified?"
Yann Chambrier, Hong Kong

Blair went to war because he had agreed to with his mate Bush. Blair was like a little boy who wanted to do something but wasn't sure he could. So, every day he came up with another concocted reason to justify war. You didn't need an enquiry to reveal the lies, or was it lack of truth, it was obvious at the time. Nothing Blair and company say, on any subject now, is believable.
Peter, Luton

Lord Hutton said the key claims in Gilligan's story were "unfounded" and cleared the government of "sexing up" the dossier. The Butler report has now shown this judgement to be wrong. The presentation of unreliable assertions about Iraqi capabilities and intentions as reliable was clearly intended to deceive and the correspondence revealed in Hutton between Downing street and JIC (Scarlett) clearly indicate this was in response to Government insistence. Scarlett was a willing accomplice in this deception. The Butler report represents a prima facie case for overturning key judgements contained in the Hutton report. Give Dyke his job back!
Mike Sexton, London, UK.

The two governments had pre-planned the war and needed an excuse
Frank Morden, London, UK
Strange, isn't it? Why would the British and American intelligence be so wrong while the French, Germany, China, Russia and of course the millions of ordinary people get it so right? This is something Lord Butler could not answer. The simple reason it that the two governments had pre-planned the war and needed an excuse.
Frank Morden, London, UK

I'm not doubting that the majority of Iraqi's may be better off however at the end of the day we went to war on a false premise. The international law that we allegedly promote was flouted and evidence was presented conveniently to support the conclusion to go to war. The exaggeration of evidence is still ultimately a lie and Mr Blair has not been held accountable yet my his own admission the buck stops with him. Everybody who has dared questioned the integrity of PM has been made a scapegoat, I suggest the 'Honourable' be removed from the Right Honourable Tony Blair as there appears to be very little in evidence.
Peter Field, Godalming

The other dossier, the one plagiarised from someone's thesis appears to have been overlooked in this debate. Did Butler not rap anyone's knuckles about the propriety of this?
Thorpe, Scotland

There is something rotten in the Western democracies
Wallace Ryan, Canada
There is clearly deception surrounding the whole affair and Lord Butler's report says nothing that millions of ordinary people didn't already know before the war. There is something rotten in the Western democracies.
Wallace Ryan, Canada

The world has forgotten about the million who died during the Iran-Iraq war. Who caused it? Saddam. The UK meanwhile has also forgotten about Greg Dyke. Can we bring him back now?
Wendy, London, UK

I can't stand all these peacekeepers going on about how many innocent Iraqis have been killed by this conflict. Where were all the protests about the thousands that Saddam killed? Or do you only protest when your own money is being used to pay the fighters? Blair did what he felt was right - as did parliament including Howard. As people only worry about their own pocket - Blair will win the next election and I hope with a large majority once again. People in the UK don't know how lucky they are with all their public services, employment etc - despite the Iraqi war which was justified and whom everyone will have forgotten about before the next election - except maybe the BBC and the Mirror who just want to prove at any cost that they were right!
Jacquie, Italy

Iraq may be better off without Saddam - but are we? One of the most powerful arguments made in favour of the war was that it would make the world a safer place. It has had entirely the opposite effect, just like the all the opponents said it would. We are now more of a target for terrorism than we ever have been, thanks to Mr Blair.
Lloyd Evans, Brighton, UK

Those who are so scathing about the intelligence should cast their minds back to pre the invasion and consider their opinions again
Mary, Scotland

If Tony Blair and John Scarlett were mistaken about WMD then so was Dr David Kelly. Anyone who doubts this only needs to go to the Hutton Inquiry website and read the evidence of Mrs Pape (1/9/03, Para93). He was an acclaimed expert on Iraq yet was completely and utterly convinced that war was not only inevitable but totally justified. Those who are so scathing about the intelligence should cast their minds back to pre the invasion and consider their opinions again.
Mary, Scotland

I can't believe it! Right up until Butler gave us his verdict (which by no means is an honest one) Blair and co insisted they had all the right intelligence and that it was the right thing to do. But the minute the verdict was made public, Blair has admitted responsibility! Well how has he done that? He has neither apologised nor resigned. And by the way how come we aren't hearing Andrew Gilligan shout, "I told you so!"? Tony Blair should resign.
Susannah Seepell, Oxford

How can it be said Blair didn't mislead, when our armed forces had started massing in the region way before parliament gave permission to go to war. Why do this unless planning to go to war regardless?
Matt, Chelmsford, UK

Where is the capacity within our democratic accountable government to deal with this situation?
Neil, London

Well intelligence or no intelligence. The fact is that the US and its allies lied and cheated in order to launch this new crusade against the Muslim world.
Ahmad Farooq, Islamabad, Pakistan

If Blair had any integrity at all, he would resign at once after his disgraceful and pathetic response to the Butler report. But this would give him the chance to leave at a time of his choosing, which would be a final insult to the electorate. Rather him stay for the next election and suffer the just defeat at the hands of the voters he deserves.
Tony Bull, Warminster, England

What a contrast between the way that Bichard treated the Humberside Chief Constable because of his force's flawed intelligence systems, and the manner in which Butler dealt with Mr Scarlett.
Malcolm Wild, North Shields, Tyne and Wear

Maybe the 100,000 Civil Service job cuts announced this week will occur mainly in the intelligence services - clearly the government believe they don't do a very good job!
Neil, Peterborough, UK

Will the world exonerate what Butler exonerates?
Victor Tam, China

Will the world exonerate what Butler exonerates? They see it as a conspiracy to control Iraq's oil. The goal post of reason for the war is changed from possession of WMD to regime change. Why cheat the world about it? Democracy and freedom - what a joke. The world asks who is responsible for the 12,000 innocents Iraqi who died. Never mind about Butler's report
Victor Tam, China

The government are like children in a playground, blaming someone else for everything. It was Blunkett last week, Blair this week and with the Hutton inquiry. When will they grow up and accept responsibility when things don't go right? The buck should always stop with them, that's what they're elected for.
Lianne, Cannock, UK

Does anybody think it is time now to take important decisions such as going to a war back to people and away from a few on the top? I would propose a constitution amendment so that a overwhelming majority (e.g. 80%) of the popular vote is needed for such actions.
Kehong Zhang, Waltham, USA

The average voter is not a barrister and isn't interested in the finer points of legal jargon. When the Prime Minister says, going to war is the correct response to the intelligence he has - we believe him. When it is shown the intelligence is other than the PM presented - then he has purposefully misled the country. Saddam was/is a monster but Mr Blair is worse. Tony Blair knew exactly what he was doing.
Arthur Wilding, Dartford, Kent

Lord Butler in the interviews stated several times that no Prime Minister would deliberately tell the country that there were WMD "knowing how quickly this could be disproved after the war". In reality, politicians have no such compunction and will happily continue publicly insisting that they know nothing about passports/party donations/cheap mortgages/interns for as long as they possibly can (or until they read about it in the Sunday papers).
Jon Baggaley, Northampton, UK

I want to know how can Blair state that the world is a safer place without Saddam Hussein, when the Iraqi war has created so many more fanatics willing to kill themselves in attacks against any Western target they can reach? We stopped one overstated tyrant in the short term, but created chaos in Iraqi and attracted many more thousands to the 'Jihad' cause.
Nick Janson, London

So the Prime Minister is not a liar, he's simply an incompetent. Why exactly should we vote for him again?
Graeme,

It is always easier to get a pardon than to get permission
Alan Hodgson, Brighton, UK
It is always easier to get a pardon than to get permission in the first place. Obviously Blair had such flimsy evidence in the first place he would never have got the go ahead. Saying that Iraq is better off without Saddam does not clear Blair of this war crime.
Alan Hodgson, Brighton, UK

It all seems to mean little now that Saddam is out of power and most of Iraq is in ruins due to "unreliable intelligence". Not to mention the number of innocent lives lost. The nation was lied to so that Bush and Blair could do as they please. It's no good now to say it's not their fault. As they rightly point out that they are our leaders (at the moment) - they should therefore be held accountable because it was their decision to take us to war. Blair should do the "moral" thing and resign!
Atif, London, UK

The CIA and MI6 got it wrong. The millions of people around the world who went out and marched against this war somehow managed to get it right. Isn't the truth that we all know that Bush and Blair are just coming up with a lame excuse?
Gavin, Sophia Antipolis, France

So a member of the establishment has found other members of the establishment to be not guilty of anything. One is surprised isn't one?
Evelyn Larvin, Fort William, Scotland

Why waste public time and money on these reports, which are given limited remit by the government. The question is still unanswered why we went to war? Government is keep changing the goal post first it was WMD then Getting rid off brutal dictator and then... so and so forth.
Tajamal, Coventry

Blair had a choice and he misled us
Andrew, New York, USA
Despite the intelligence of Hans Blix and the UN's weapons commission, the British and US Governments took us into war on the basis of their own faulty evidence. Blair had a choice and he misled us.
Andrew, New York, USA

I refuse to believe that the government acted unknowingly, on the basis of flawed intelligence. The intelligence, no matter how inaccurate gave Blair the catalyst to trigger the war and subsequent regime change they always wanted. If there is no accountability through Butler, there must be at the ballot box.
John-Paul Toner, Edinburgh

The government clearly misrepresented the certainty of the intelligence in his dossier. Blair should resign.
Richard, Farnborough, UK

Blair said there were two questions, one about integrity and the other something about getting Saddam out because he wanted weapons. The third question Blair did not address was, was there another way? Was war the only option? I've only read books available to the general public and newspapers and I knew there was just as much intelligence saying that there were no weapons. Why was all this intelligence ignored? What information did he have that meant Hans Blix could not have a few more weeks?... none.
Beth Craig, Dublin, Ireland

The Butler report is simply more clear proof of the media circus that British politics has become
Julia, Rio de Janeiro

The Butler report is simply more clear proof of the media circus that British politics has become. The result is that questions of honesty and honour have simply gone out of the window in modern politics and nobody seems to care. Responses to the report by politicians are built upon pure defensive rhetoric rather than honest and forward-thinking answers to serious questions.

It seems that the Prime Minister, in saying that he takes full responsibility for mistakes and at the same time not showing any remorse, is laughing in the face of the British public, and whether the public is or was for or against the war the central question is whether the politicians involved can be trusted. Clearly they cannot.

Tony Blair says that the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein, I agree, but I am still left wondering if the world is now a better place with the USA in the stronger position that it is now in. Replacing one monster with another doesn't seem to make much sense. All of the responses from all of the politicians involved have been pathetically weak.
Julia, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I wonder if Blair realises how dangerous the using of intelligence about weapons of mass destruction was. He justified going to war on that basis, and now it appears that he was justified in invading a foreign power because he thought that they had such weapons and they were a danger to this country. Oops, on that basis any country on this planet can invade us, we have weapons of mass destruction, and we have proved to be a danger to other countries. Head for the shelters, Blair has opened a can of worms that nobody has even thought about yet.
Dave, Ramsgate, England

The report is interesting for what it doesn't say. It must be obvious to the majority now, that the government got it wrong. Saddam Hussein was no threat to Britain. The government got it wrong and has saddled us with an expensive commitment we don't need. Heads should roll starting with Tony Blair.
David, England

Of what value is Tony Blair's statement of responsibility concerning this report if he does nothing? Responsibility is quite a lot easier than it used to be.
Paul J Graham, Saskatoon, Canada

As a medic, I would contrast the medico-legal enquiry where individuals and not systems always are to blame and the political enquiries which are of a much greater magnitude (thousands of individuals killed or injured) where no individual(s) is/are blamed. Why is this considered fair justice?
Giles Harris, Howden, UK

Looks like we'd better have another enquiry until we get the result that the ant-war crowd want.
John, Nuneaton, UK

Shame on our leaders and shame on us for electing them in the first place!
Abdul M Ismail, Liverpool

Where's the accountability here? Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have lost their lives during Saddam's oppressive regime but this was made possible by the arms and ammunition supplied to him by the West. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis went on to be killed during two Gulf Wars. 500,000 Iraqi children died during 10 years of UN sanctions - and Butler says there's no one to blame. This is despicable! No wonder the Arab and Muslim world despise the West. We've given them nothing but pain and suffering. Shame on our leaders and shame on us for electing them in the first place!
Abdul M Ismail, Liverpool, UK

Piers Morgan the Mirror editor was hoaxed by members of the armed forces and he lost his job. Blair's enthusiasm for exaggerating intelligence knew no bounds and led us into the illegal invasion and disastrous occupation of Iraq, causing the deaths of uncounted thousands of men, women and children. Blair is still Prime Minister. How is this so?
John Whitlow, Warrington, UK

Another whitewash. Tony Blair should take personal responsibility for the British lives lost due to his adventurism. No account was taken of the decision not to invade Iraq after Desert Storm as Saddam Hussein was a stabilising force in the area. As a result we must commit peacekeeping forces to the area indefinitely.
John Laughton, Bristol, UK

Seems to me that most comments here are by people who have already made up their minds and nothing will change them. How utterly sad and narrow minded. What these reports say is that the system broadly got it right; it's got a few systematic problems that need to be sorted out but nothing major. Far too many people want their fantasies of conspiracies and corruption to be dramatically exposed. I firmly blame the media. As soon as the report was out they started their game of twisting words and phrases to suit their dramatic hypothesis.
Simon, Cheltenham, UK

My views on this issue is the same as ever, regardless of these reports. If, we had gone to war with a second resolution then I would have backed this war 100%.As it turns out, NO second resolution and therefore no overall majority for war. In a democracy that should mean no military action. The UN did not back this war! Sadly it seems that UN resolutions are just worth the paper they are written on.
John, Chatham, Kent

I think that both Bush and Blair should now focus on international legislation preventing any pre-emptive strikes by any nation in the future. They should work hard to strengthen the international institution they themselves weakened. Making mistakes is human, accepting them is bravery, learning from them is wisdom and correcting them is leadership.
Syed, St. Paul, USA

The real liar and guilty party in all this is thankfully now out of office and awaiting his war crimes trial - Saddam Hussein was responsible for the whole Iraq mess and the war would never have happened were it not for the failure of France, Germany and the other members of the security council who flinched away from confrontation with Saddam Hussein and thus encouraged him to believe he could call what he thought was another bluff. It's time to move on, eliminate the insurgents and get peace, stability and democracy established in the heart of the Middle East rather than try to re-write history and absolve the evil regime of Saddam Hussein.
John, UK

The issue will not go away until we have an investigation without this limited remit
John Rickard, Chippenham
How can we trust the findings of a investigation when the very people we need to investigate were also the people setting the remit. The issue will not go away until we have an investigation without this limited remit. In my view, inventing a reason to wage war on a sovereign nation is an international crime and this country will be adversely affected internationally until we get to the bottom of why Blair did it.
John Rickard, Chippenham

So many well paid civil servants, so little accurate intelligence, too little checking of facts and so few taking responsibility. Shame on all involved.
Matt Evans, Ashford, Middx, UK

Ok. So a report has finally been published which has not completely vindicated our leadership and their 'justification' for war. Now the press can get excited, along with everyone else who is squeamish about the difficult decision of effectively doing the UN's job. Come on people: the UN was humiliated and taunted by Saddam for years. A murderous, auto-specific dictator, heaping pain on his people through his self-inflicted sanctions and war-mongering. I do not believe Tony Blair wanted war any more than anyone else, but he clearly did what he believed was right, while other people turned away from the blatant facts and looked for other reasons not to deal with Saddam.
Nick J, London

The Butler Report is a 196 page waste of time. Blair is intelligent, a clever politician and a good leader. The very idea that he was going to leave any hard evidence was a foolhardy one. To be honest, Blair's tenancy at No. 10 is under more threat from the continued negative media coverage of Iraq than anything that Lord Butler could ever even conceive of writing.
Ed, Dublin, Ireland

If Tony Blair knew that the report was misleading and there were no weapons of mass destruction then he was dishonest and if he didn't know the situation then he was incompetent. Either way, he is not fit to govern this country!
Pauline Adams, Solihull, West Midlands

Does it really matter? It will just slide off those at the top like eggs from a non-stick frying pan. One person in responsible - he is at the top.
Tony Humphreys, Prestatyn, UK

So when the BBC makes a mistake, Greg Dyke and Gavyn Davies have to leave, but when the government makes a mistake, resulting in Britain invading a sovereign country, that's ok. No one is to blame. Funny world we live in. And politicians wonder why so many people cannot be bothered to vote. At least the neo-cons admit it was all for propaganda.
Veronica, London

To Veronica, London: I am in total agreement with you. Politicians seem to belong to a special caste, and their accountability for proven mistakes is flexible! Make no mistake, those gentlemen who resigned from the BBC for a doubtful crime get the respect Blair and his men will never get. What credibility do Blair and Bush have in the world now? None!
Sarah, Berlin

Until such time as a fully independent investigation with limitations is held we will never know the truth
Ian, Edinburgh
It would be unfair to call the Butler report a whitewash. The reason the vast majority of concerns people still have aren't addressed by Lord Butler is that the remit of his inquiry prevented him from looking at these areas. Until such time as a fully independent investigation with limitations is held we will never know the truth. But the longer Blair etc prevent the REAL questions being asked, the more war sceptics like myself are led to believe our concerns are correct. I, for one, now know who I won't be voting for at the General Election.
Ian, Edinburgh

So everybody got it wrong and nobody is to blame. What a surprise. Perhaps one day we'll have a government that accepts responsibility in a sense over and above some token head-nodding. It is more than a little surprising that the fundamental 45-minute claim was specifically mentioned, and yet despite going to war on the back of it nobody is being fired for failing to fully explain it. I think next year I won't pay my taxes at all and commission Lord Butler to write a report into why my payments did not arrive.
John B, UK

The Butler report reveals that British Intelligence was flawed in much the same way as the CIA. Butler has followed in his predecessors footsteps in ignoring the real issues and instead protecting the Government.
Paul Lukasiak, Philadelphia, USA

We should resist their spinning of the issue
Steve Hillyard, Carmel, CA USA
Both Bush and Blair desperately attempt to justify their failings by saying that the world is a safer place with Saddam out of power. But, that is not the question, and we should resist their spinning of the issue. We should demand an answer to the question: Knowing what we did then and now, was Saddam such a threat to world safety to justify the loss of all those innocent lives, the destruction of all that Iraqi property and the diversion of massive resources needed at home and abroad to educate our children, treat our sick?
Steve Hillyard, Carmel, CA USA

This report is, to a degree, irrelevant at this stage of the game. What's done is done and no amount of witch hunting is going change this. Its time to move forwards and learn from these alleged mistakes. We all have the ultimate sanction at the next election to punish the government if we feel so incensed by it, however I suspect the majority of people will have other axes to grind by then.
Tom , UK

Whitewash version 2
Adam, London

Hindsight is always perfect. Intelligence is never perfect. You do the math.
Margaret, Portland Or USA

Any doubts about Tony Blair can now be eradicated. Read his statement to the House and you will begin to see that as Prime Minister he faced a difficult decision and took this country to war not on a lie or deception but because he felt it was in this country's interests.
Steve Matthews, Manchester, UK

Anthony Eden walked and so should Tony Blair. He is the weakest link, goodbye.
Barry, England

Does it really matter whether or not Saddam had WMDs? The president of Russia recently stated that Saddam was planning attacks against the US after the 9/11 outrage. So the guy had to go.
Norman Day, UK

If Tony Blair does, indeed, accept 'full responsibility' for the report's findings then he should resign immediately. At the very least, Parliament should call for a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister straight away.
Tim Lane, Oxford, UK

So, because Blair's opponents didn't get the ringing condemnation of the government that they wanted from the Butler report, they choose to dismiss it. Now, that's selective use of information!
Tracey Angell, Newport, Gwent

I always said it would come to this. Use WMD to "legalise" the war, never find the WMD and then say it is OK because Saddam was nasty and we got rid of him. While no one is in doubt about the end result, many of us worry about the method and motive and the picture that is presented of the UK to the rest of the world. Who will be next on the list? What precedent does it set around the world?
Chris, Voorhout, Holland

Another whitewash, by the looks of it. Note that the head of the CIA stepped down but in the UK everyone is a winner.
Charles, São Paulo, Brazil

The Butler report, like the Hutton report, will not settle this issue. Many people just do not believe Blair or the judges or lords that he appoints to shift the blame for this fiasco. He led us in an illegal, unjustified war based on lies and distortions of the truth. The debate will only stop when he does the honourable thing and resigns.
Brian Bailey, Winterthur, Switzerland

The simple fact remains that Saddam at some point had been developing and had used chemical weapons. He continued to behave as though he was hiding something. This could not be ignored indefinitely.
Tony Davies, Wokingham

Hutton and Butler, painters and decorators to the rich and powerful. One applies the undercoat, swiftly followed by his colleague applying the top coat. They leave behind a whiter than white gloss through which no stain can be seen.
Graham Johnson, Huddersfield, England

He roundly condemns the thinness of the intelligence
James E. Geoffrey II, Falls Church, Virginia, USA
Lord Butler's report appears balanced and thoughtful. He roundly condemns the thinness of the intelligence, but he also clears the Government of trying to manipulate the intelligence, and adds that the government truly believed what it was saying. What those who opposed the war never got, was that the motivations and causes of the war were more complex and more serious than their simplistic little slogans and silly conspiracy theories suggested. Was the war bad strategy? Arguably. Was it bad morals? Not at all, but those with their nostrils flared in righteous indignation were too busy ranting to respond to the real arguments.
James E. Geoffrey II, Falls Church, Virginia, USA

Yet another committee of inquiry, yet another whitewash! What a farcical waste of time and money. The British public should demand that Blair stands down immediately, as he is not fit to be the British Prime Minister.
Bob Beadman, Hong Kong

Is the Government actually accountable for anything now?
James Russell, Bournemouth

Once again Tony Blair has not been seen to be in the wrong. He must be the Teflon prime minister.
Matt Davies, Epsom, Surrey

Butler, as expected, said that everyone is at fault but no-one should carry the can. The biggest problem is that Blair has shifted his grounds for justifying the war to 'regime change'. He clearly has no intention of disavowing the doctrine of pre-emption as a strategic option in future. This is very worrying.
Bob, UK

Yeah, so the intelligence was flawed. True, there are no WMD - so far, at least - in Iraq. Correct, the actions of the UK and the US flew in the face of modern international military practice. So what? Intelligence is never 100% proof, and even when it is, there can be found circumstances that make it impossible to act on it.
Peter Wanyonyi, Nairobi, Kenya

As the current government is never wrong perhaps it should also run the intelligence services...
DJW, Liverpool

I find it quite offensive that I am expected to read and accept the Butler Report as if I have had a memory lapse in the run up to and during the Iraq war. It assumes the British people are not very interested or not very bright.
Charlotte Craig, Glasgow

Surprise surprise, the Butler Report says no-one is to blame. So where exactly does the buck stop? The Government put lives at risk and entered into a war which did not have any legitimate basis. But that's OK because it was nobody's fault.
Stewart, Newcastle

This government has blamed everyone but themselves
Danny, UK
The intelligence was fine. It was unquestionably manipulated for political reasons. So far, this government has blamed everyone but themselves, now they will try and shift the blame onto the intelligence services, despite the fact that there is ample evidence that these very intelligence services clearly indicated that they were unhappy with the government's interpretation of what they had presented.
Danny, UK

Regardless of whether Blair lied or was misled, the Iraq fiasco happened on his watch, he was in charge, therefore he is responsible.
Richard Read, London, UK

Clearly there was more intelligence to be gathered. Maybe if more access to information was granted people would not be as angry over it as they are. If you ask me, all intelligence found during pre coalition invasion of Iraq should be unconditionally released to the public as that regime is over - only then will people have a good idea of what kind of intelligence was done. We all know that won't happen as it will surely damage some reputations in the 'higher ups'.
JM Cousineau, Ottawa, Canada

The decision making process was completely the wrong way round this time around. The intelligence findings should drive the decision to go to war, not the war decision drive the intelligence. MI6, the CIA etc have all been compromised by their respective governments. These bodies need to rediscover their independence as soon as possible.
Eddie Robson, UK

I personally consider the intelligence submitted to Tony Blair was correct. It's how it was interpreted that's at error. Blair wanted this war and by hook or by crook he got a war regardless of what was good for the UK.
Ron, UK

Anyone who thinks the Bush/Blair regimes were "misinformed" need to pull their heads out of the sand. Even Paul Wolfowitz has already admitted the WMD excuse was used for propaganda purposes. The war resulted in the death of thousands of innocent Iraqis. Bush and Blair should be prosecuted for war crimes beside Saddam.
Rita, Egypt

No one can make us believe that it was a matter of "good" or "bad" intelligence performance. Bush was going to Iraq anyway, and intelligence would have helped him but wouldn't have stopped him in any case.
Chadi, Lebanon

There was never a solid belief within the intelligence community that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the West
Jon Perkins, Worcester
It is clear to me that there was never a solid belief within the intelligence community that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the West, and that the reason to go to war was to satisfy the demands of the neo-cons in the US who wish to see a Middle-East that is compliant with American business interests. The lesson coming from the Butler inquiry, in my opinion, is that there really is no independent watchdog that can initiate a true investigation when a government is suspected of embarking on an illegal course of action. The terms of the Butler inquiry were clearly set by Blair himself so as to not investigate whether he and his government had acted illegally, therefore he would never be officially reported as having acted unlawfully.
Jon Perkins, Worcester

No, the agencies delivered what they were expected to deliver. The invasion of Iraq was planned by the US and UK had to follow. Butler report is going to be another whitewash. It will merely follow the American lead of blaming intelligence and people from UK intelligence are going to resign.
Yousaf, London, UK

Gathering intelligence will always be a difficult job, with the analysis of it being very subjective. However if you also have a hands on assessment as well, this will allow for a very accurate analysis. As I understand the UN weapons inspectors never indicated that they expected to find WMD, but contrary indicated that they only required a couple on more months to confirm that WMD did not exist. I leave it to others to draw conclusions.
Colin, Plymouth, England

The issue is not the pre-war intelligence. Robin Cook announced before the war that there were no WMD. Everyone who paid any attention knew there were no WMD. Neither is Saddam Hussein the issue. He was indeed a brutal dictator (with our support) but the world is not safer because of the war and death in Iraq. As has been well documented, we are now a higher profile target for terrorism than ever before. The issue is why we went to war against the wishes of the population (who elect our politicians to serve us not rule us) and against the will of the world.
Matt Southall, Nottingham, UK

The real problem is not the gathering of intelligence. It is the asymmetric nature of the conflict against terrorism. As governments have a mandate to protect, they are obliged to act based on evidence rather than facts. Waiting for the facts e.g., the actual use of WMD would be suicide. The open question is how to make sure that this pre-emptive action dogma is not abused - as it seems to have been in the case of Iraq. Both answers: turn a blind eye or make pre-emptive action impossible, are too simplistic.
George V, Cambridge, UK

Such moves will probably not restore CIA to its past glory, but they will give American intelligence community a powerful boost
Mirek Kondracki, Alexandria

The solution is simple. It is not CIA which should be a whipping boy here but President Clinton and the US Congress, which had systematically destroyed US intelligence community's capabilities to supply relevant information in a timely fashion. CIA has hardly any Arabs in its Analytical Branch: It's Operation Branch has hardly any valuable human assets in the Middle East and especially in Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

CIA is not allowed to assassinate political leaders (Bin Laden etc were till recently considered as such) and, more importantly, was prohibited from recruiting informants among members of terrorist organizations. I understand that President Bush has made a first important step to remedy this ridiculous situation (members of al-Qaeda, Hamas or Hezbollah are usually not boy-scout types ) and has tacitly issued an executive order allowing CIA to recruit useful thugs on the inside of the terrorist underworld.

Now it is high time for US Congress to also do its share and allocate enough money so that the DCI can hire and train enough capable people and rebuilt spy networks around the world which have been effectively dismantled during Clinton era. Such moves will probably not restore CIA to its past glory, but they will give American intelligence community a powerful boost which should help rebuild it during the rest of the current decade.
Mirek Kondracki, Alexandria, VA, USA

Is it me, or is it sounding like the WMD evidence was indeed sexed up after all?
Neil Mac, Swindon, UK

The poor workman blames his tools.
Kpdodo, Mauritius

Blaming MI5, CIA or whomever is not the answer
Brian, Lancs, UK
There's real intelligence, and there's intelligence that the politicians want to hear and relay to the public to win them over. Blaming MI5, CIA or whomever is not the answer. The heads of government are to blame for building their "foundation" for an already planned attack on Iraq.
Brian, Lancs, UK

Intelligence was provided to the top politicians in the UK. Tony Blair decided to go to war on the issue that Iraq was a direct and imminent threat to Britain. In Tony Blair's case he carried this through with zealousness. He also asked the UK public to trust him. We did not go to war for regime change or on any other ticket. Tony Blair cannot admit he was very, very wrong. He cannot say sorry. The intelligence services did their bidding on behalf of Blair. The result, if there was any decency left, in Blair and Scarlett is that they should both resign. Hanging their heads in shame and blaming others will not do.
Chris, Scotland

It would seem to me that interpreting intelligence reports is a specialised job. We the public are not really qualified to do this so we expect the experts to be able to do the job correctly. Was the information wrong, or was it interpreted wrongly? The fact is that regardless of what happened, Iraq has changed and will not go back to what it was. This report is for me another attempt by opponents of TB, to try and knock him off the top of the hill.
Ian, Southport

We all know the intelligence was not wrong, we all know the politicians exaggerated the threat. I wonder if Butler has the guts to admit it or will we be getting another whitewash?
John Farmer, Henley-on-Thames, UK

The best intelligence of all was provided by the weapons inspectors on the ground - who found nothing. I think it very likely that the US/UK governments knew all along that this was the best intelligence but it did not support their case for war and was discarded. They chose instead to base their policy on intelligence which with the benefit of hindsight, I now believe they probably knew was wrong.
Ozorek, US/UK

The intelligence was used as a tool for justification
Dan, Poole
I don't believe that the war in Iraq was conceived after the intelligence was presented, rather the other way around. The intelligence was used as a tool for justification rather than inspiring any need to defend the West from imminent threat. With this belief in heart, the quality of intelligence becomes irrelevant.
Dan, Poole

The question should not be about the quality of the intelligence, but rather how well it was used. The intelligence services are merely instruments of policy, not decision making organisations. A failure to provide intelligence to cater to a pre-meditated plan should not need to be accounted for. A poorly executed plan that relied on shaky intelligence, however, should.
Andrew, Bucks, UK

How convenient that the blame for the botched invasion of Iraq - in direct opposition to 85% of the electorate - can be laid at the door of the intelligence services and not our own decision makers.
Paul, Colchester

We went to war on the assumption that Saddam had WMD and the political will to use them against Europe. We did not go to war to impose democracy on Iraq or restore the oil pipes or give the Kurds freedom of expression. On this basis the Intelligence community failed to provide correctly assessed data to the politicians, who in turn then acted on this arriving at incorrect conclusions which over one year later has led directly to the death of hundreds of western servicemen by the politicians controlling them
Richard Corless, Bridgend, S Wales, UK

It is completely absurd to have a secret service, then debate its business in public
Paul B, Oxford, UK
The trouble with this whole debate is that the public think they know, because the press has convinced everybody that they've got their fingers on the pulse. But how can any of us really know? It is completely absurd to have a secret service, then debate its business in public. Secrets, espionage, spies and lies maybe an unpalatable side of life, but nonetheless essential in our world. That's just the way it is.
Paul B, Oxford, UK

I think that the Intelligence agencies (Both UK and US) were put under pressure to deliver what our leaders wanted to hear. I am not too bothered about the fact that we deposed Saddam and his evil cronies, its just the way that it was sold to us on what appears to be half-truths. Someone must have known!
Steve, London England

Who cares if it was or wasn't? The end result is that Saddam is in jail and is going to pay for his crimes. So what if the intelligence was wrong a despotic ruler has been overthrown and in time Iraq will hopefully become a beacon of democracy in a troubled part of the world. Once again the West preoccupies itself with navel gazing and self flagellation instead of congratulating itself for the freeing of a nation from tyranny and oppression. If the Iraqis, through internecine factional fighting choose not to grasp the freedom they have been given that is their fault. Get over the intelligence failing, learn from the mistakes yes but don't endlessly beat yourself up about it.
Stephen, London

In my view, the agencies delivered the intelligence necessary to support the political course already decided, regardless of whether it was comprehensive, accurate, or reliable.
John, London, UK

Someone must take responsibility for the failings and resign
Ken, Pretoria, South Africa

The obvious answer is no, they didn't deliver and many innocent people died as a result. The more arcane answer is that we haven't a clue what intelligence services knew or didn't know. We only know what we were told by the governments who played "Chinese whispers" with information that arrived at their agencies via long chains of "Chinese whispers". Someone must take responsibility for the failings and resign, and though in my view it ought to be the Prime minister and President, the heads of the intelligence agencies must also go if they are to be attributed the blame by the leaders who aren't willing to accept it.
Ken, Pretoria, South Africa

If the intelligence was good enough to convince every one to go to war, there wouldn't be so many reports and discussions about this question one year after the war has 'ended'.
L, Ghent, Belgium

The main issue is that intelligence should be gathered in any given situation and then a decision made based upon that information. In the case of the Iraq invasion, the decision to invade was made first, and then anything that could be gathered in support afterwards - surely the wrong way around.
Aquil Khan, London, England

For too long the US, in particular, has relied on technology to gather intelligence. Nothing, no matter how sophisticated the satellite, gizmos and gadgets, can take the place of real people on the ground gathering intelligence. Our defence budget slashed funding for this provision in the 90's. We have reaped a terrible price for that.
Lisa, USA

Intelligence gathering and assimilation is a questionable science predisposed to a high level of uncertainty. Failing to recognise the likelihood of unpredictability is ignorant. Developing strategy based on questionable intelligence is, then, intrinsically flawed. Subsequently, placing lives at risk based on a flawed, and possibly unnecessary, strategy is irrefutably criminal. Continuing to believe in proven incorrect intelligence demonstrates an insane level of inflexibility and delusion. So, if we know inflexibility in planning strategy is inherently flawed, then continuing smacks of a hidden agenda.
Robert Hubble, Cheltenham UK

Yes, it was.. Unfortunately the politicians were not interested in what the intelligence agencies knew. They wanted a rubber stamp for the case for war. The intelligence agencies obliged and now take the rap.
Lionel, Leeds, UK

After the Hutton fiasco I was worried that the BBC had been totally emasculated. Happily, the recent edition of Panorama has convinced me that this is not so. If Butler has been one half as perceptive as the Panorama team Blair should be in a lot of trouble.
Matthew, London UK

Since the 'secret' details of intelligence is just that 'secret' the whole question is as relevant as asking what is in my bank account, the general public is not going to be told. Enigma remained secret for over 40 years with no lives directly involved, the human intelligence from Iraq must remain secret until there is no danger to the people involved. Asking for openness in intelligence gathering is as crass as requiring householders to publish details of their door locks.
Barry P, Havant England

The real problem was not poor intelligence but decisions at a higher level to cherry pick the unreliable data for anything that would support the push for war. As many of us said at the time, a pre-emptive war is not a thing to start lightly, you had better be sure of your intelligence and legal position.
Tim Joyce, Wirral, UK





PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific