Iraq,  Stoppers

The Iraq War: Fact and Fiction

John Rentoul has a great post up on his blog where he has updated Stan Rosenthal’s submission to the Iraq Inquiry. Ten common claims by stoppers are handily dealt with. I have copied a few of the ten reasons below, but do go to the original post and read the full ten:

CLAIM 2: The war was illegal.
THE REALITY: The legal justification for the war was set out in the Attorney General’s written answer to a Parliamentary question on March 17, 2003. Essentially this argued that non-compliance with UN Resolution 1441 and previous related UN resolutions provided sufficient grounds for military action without a further resolution. Certainly there were differences of opinion on the need for a second resolution. However such differences are quite common in this fairly new and “ragbag” area of the law and a challenge to the Attorney General’s advice does not constitute proof of illegality, whether it comes from another lawyer or the Secretary General of the United Nations.

CLAIM 3: Coalition troops were responsible for the deaths of over 1m innocent civilians in Iraq.
THE REALITY: To support their case the anti-war lobby always quote the highest possible number of civilian casualties. The methodology of the studies producing the two highest figures, 1m by ORB and 600,000 in the second Lancet survey, has been shown to be flawed. The International Red Cross has published a study suggesting that the Iraq Body Count survey is most reliable. It currently suggests a cumulative total since 2003, including military deaths at the time of the invasion and civilian deaths since, the overwhelming majority of which were not caused by coalition forces, of around 100,000. And in the case of genuine civilian deaths at the hands of the coalition, who is to say who is responsible when insurgents operate from densely built-up areas, in effect using civilians as human shields?….

CLAIM 5: The war is responsible for acts of terror elsewhere in the world.
THE REALITY: Acts of terror preceded the Iraq war and have taken place in countries that were not involved in the war (like the Bali massacre) or have been thwarted in countries that actively opposed the war (like the foiled plots in France). Terrorists will always exploit any grievance to justify their actions, especially where they relate to countries that are resisting them. From this standpoint it can be argued that the main recruiting sergeant for terrorism is not the war but those who continually dwell on its negativities….

CLAIM 8: The Iraq war was a war against Islam.
THE REALITY: Islamic Shias, Sunnis and Kurds rejoiced at being liberated from Saddam’s oppression. Even now, despite the post-war carnage, polls have shown that over 60% of the Islamic population believe that overthrowing Saddam was worth the hardships that followed.

CLAIM 9: Tony Blair took us to war on lies about the related Iraqi intelligence.
THE REALITY: Two independent investigations, the Hutton and Butler inquiries have cleared Tony Blair of this charge. A lie is a known untruth. At the time of Blair’s decision to go to war the UN inspectors, every intelligence agency in the world, most governments, and even Saddam’s own generals were convinced that Saddam was concealing WMD stocks and a WMD programme. In a post-war interview with the Iraq Survey Group Saddam actually admitted that he was trying to give the impression that he still had WMD, for deterrent purposes. Tony Blair can hardly be blamed for acting on that impression.

On a different matter, John Rentoul has also commented about the Michael Foot celebration next month that I shall be attending.  Below is his memorable line:

celebrators are invited to make “voluntary contributions to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament”, which while it might once have been an idealistic movement of moral integrity is now simply an apologist for tyranny and oppression the world over.

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