TONY BLAIR ON WHY IRAQ HAD TO BE ATTACKED
Tony Blair's explanation to the UK
Parliament of why he thought Iraq had to be attacked
It proved to be the case that Saddam Hussein had not been lying.
He could not reveal his weapons of mass destruction because he
had no weapons to reveal.
Part of Tony Blair's case was that Saddam Hussein had built new
factories across Iraq for the production of chemical weapons -
something which could hardly have been hidden. I don't think BBC
interviewers ever questioned him on this claim, although I
suggested they should.
After the invasion of Iraq, even after years of searching,
new factories nor the actual weapons were ever found.
Hansard, THE PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES OFFICIAL REPORT
House of Commons
Tuesday 24 September 2002
The Prime Minister (Mr. Tony Blair):
Today we published a 50-page dossier, detailing the history of
of mass destruction programme, its breach of United Nations
its attempts to rebuild that illegal programme.
As the dossier sets out, we estimate on the basis of the UN's
work that there were up to 360 tonnes of bulk chemical warfare
agents, including 1.5 tonnes of VX nerve agent; up to 3,000
tonnes of precursor chemicals; growth media sufficient to
produce 26,000 litres of anthrax spores; and over 30,000 special
munitions for delivery of chemical and biological agents. All of
this was missing and unaccounted for.
It is actually an 11-year history: a history of UN will flouted,
of lies told by Saddam about the existence of his chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons
programmes, and of obstruction, defiance and denial.
His weapons of mass destruction programme is active, detailed
and growing. The policy of containment is not working. The
weapons of mass destruction programme is not shut down; it is up
and running now.
I am aware, of course, that people will have to take elements of
this on the good faith of our intelligence services, but this is
what they are telling me, the British Prime Minister, and my
senior colleagues. The intelligence picture
that they paint is one accumulated over the last four years. It
is extensive, detailed and authoritative.
It concludes that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons, that
Saddam has continued to produce them, that he has existing and
active military plans for the use of chemical and biological
weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes, including
against his own Shia population, and that he is actively trying
to acquire nuclear weapons capability.
On chemical weapons, the dossier shows that Iraq continues to
produce chemical agents for chemical weapons; has rebuilt
previously destroyed production plants across Iraq; has bought
dual-use chemical facilities; has retained the key personnel
formerly engaged in the chemical weapons programme; and has a
serious ongoing research programme into weapons production, all
of it well funded.
In respect of biological weapons, again, production of
biological agents has continued; facilities formerly used for
biological weapons have been rebuilt; equipment has been
purchased for such a programme; and again, Saddam has retained
the personnel who worked on it prior to 1991. In particular, the
UN inspection regime discovered that Iraq was trying to acquire
mobile biological weapons facilities, which of course are easier
to conceal. Present intelligence confirms that it has now got
such facilities. The biological agents that we believe Iraq can
produce include anthrax, botulinum, toxin, aflatoxin and
ricin-all eventually result in excruciatingly painful death.
As for nuclear weapons, Saddam's previous nuclear weapons
programme was shut down by the inspectors, following disclosure
by defectors of the full, but hidden, nature of it. That
programme was based on gas centrifuge uranium enrichment. The
known remaining stocks of uranium are now held under supervision
by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
That is the assessment, given to me, of the Joint Intelligence
addition, we have well founded intelligence to tell us that
Saddam sees his
WMD programme as vital to his survival and as a demonstration of
and influence in the region.
Our case is simply this: not that we take military action come
what may, but
that the case for ensuring Iraqi disarmament, as the UN itself
has stipulated, is overwhelming. I defy anyone, on the basis of
this evidence, to say that that is an unreasonable demand for
the international community to make when, after
all, it is only the same demand that we have made for 11 years
and that Saddam has rejected.
If people say, "Why should Britain care?", I answer, "Because
there is no way
this man, in this region above all regions, could begin a
conflict using such
weapons and the consequences not engulf the whole world,
Hansard THE PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES OFFICIAL REPORT, House of
Commons, Tuesday 24 September 2002. EXTRACTS.