Of all the things that I personally find so upsetting about the War in Iraq, probably the most upsetting is the ongoing lie that Bush and Blair and everyone else who defends the war invokes: “We all believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction…everybody believed it” Usually they go on to list, inter alia, “Bill Clinton…even the French” –opposites presumably chosen to make the point convincing.
We’ve heard it endlessly and persistently. After the failure of all the other reasons for going to war, the “We all believed” has become the default reason, the default excuse.
It is, I believe, a lie. Bush and Blair did NOT believe it. It is wellknown that Blair’s pre-war attitude was one of shock to discover when he went there how much the White House wanted to go to war against Iraq. And Jack Straw is on record for saying to Blair that best intelligence from Iraq indicated that there was “slim evidence” of WMD. (Bush had no hard intelligence from Iraq.)
So –the rest of the world may well have believed that Saddam Hussein had WMD. But not Bush and Blair: the best intelligence available to them said “slim evidence” at best. “Everybody else” may have believed it, but they were not the ones going to war; they were not the ones responsible for the death and destruction.
Bush and Blair were the ones who actually went to war, and we should not allow them to use the “We all believed” defense.
A footnote: two dictionery definitions that may be useful:
1. Lie : “A false statement or piece of information deliberately presented as being true. Anything meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.”
2. Perjury : “(In Law) The deliberate, wilful giving of false, misleading or incomplete testimony on a relevant matter by a witness under oath…”
(Yes, I know Mr. Bush wasn’t under oath. But –if he were he would certainly have perjured himself.)