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PRESS RELEASE


Blair: It Was British, Not U.S. Policy,
To Link Iraq to 9/11; He Targets Iran Next

Jan. 29, 2010 (EIRNS)—Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared today before the British Iraq Inquiry led by Sir John Chilcot, where he asserted it was British policy, not U.S. policy, to link the 9/11 attacks with the ouster of Saddam Hussein. He also insisted that the same decision he made will have to be made again against Iran, using an inquiry into one catastrophic unnecessary war, to call for another one!

Blair, who is a lawyer by training, entered the inquiry prepared for defense based on the sophistry that after the 9/11 attacks, the "calculus of risk" changed; therefore, he concluded that he could never risk allowing any country to gain weapons of mass destruction, and that was the basis of his decision to go to war. Of course the fact that 9/11 did not involve WMD, nor was it linked to Iraq, or any other country being accused of possessing WMD, was not addressed.

After telling Blair that he would be required to confirm he had told the truth, Sir John said today's session would focus on three key questions—"Why really did we invade Iraq, why Saddam, and why in March 2003?"

Blair reponded:

Up to September 11 we thought he was a risk, but we thought it was worth trying to contain it. Crucially, after September 11 the calculus of risk changed. If September 11 had not happened, our assessment of the risk of allowing Saddam any possibility of him reconstituting his programs would not have been the same. After September 11, our view, the American view, changed and changed dramatically.... The point about those acts in New York is that, had they been able to kill more people than the 3,000, they would have. My view was you can't take risks with this issue.

Asserting that this was British, not U.S. policy, Blair said:

And, just so we get this absolutely clear, this was not an American position—this was my position and the British position.

Some of the questioning by the panel was quite testy, particularly on the question of not only why he chose to attack Iraq without a second resolution authorizing force, but whether the decision was made in March and not later, because of the Bush Administration's military timetable. He kept coming back to his original argument, always asserting that he wanted to stop countries developing weapons of mass destruction.

The primary consideration for me was to send an absolutely powerful, clear and unremitting message that, after September 11, if you were a regime engaged in WMD, you had to stop.

He was questioned quite thoroughly on this failure to secure a resolution authorizing the use of force. One panel member referred to the fact that then Attorney General Lord Goldsmith had definite reservations until only days before the invasion, and the fact that the Foreign Ministry's top lawyers testified that they disagreed with Goldsmith's final claim that the war would be legal without a second resolution. Blair merely kept asserting that, because Saddam Hussein was in "material breach" of Resolution 1441, that justified an attack. This is despite the fact that UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix had never come to that conclusion; neither did France, Russia, nor China which refused to support a second UN resolution calling for force. To this, his only reply was that Saddam Hussein had the "intention" to restart his WMD program once he was let off the hook.

What was extraordinary in Blair's testimony was the fact that he brought up Iran several times as an alleged sponsor of international terrorism, and possessing a WMD program in one breath, while saying his decision to go to war against Iraq over its WMD will soon have to be repeated, by implication, against Iran. country, it was clear he was demanding that Iran get the Iraq treatment.