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The wind beneath the Wangs
There’s just too many Wangs in the world, according to the Chinese Government. But first, conclusive proof that the war on Iraq was launched on a lie.
Eamonn McCann, 11 Jul 2007
Not an experience I’m used to, being struck dumb. And on Sam Smyth’s garrulous Sunday Supplement, too.
The question which winded me was: did chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix and the governments of Russia and France believe, prior to the invasion of Iraq, that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction?
No, wait. This could be slightly interesting.
I’d suggested that the war on Iraq had been launched on a lie, that Bush ’n’ Blair had had no evidence for repeated assertions that they knew for a fact that Saddam had stockpiles of WMD. Christopher Hitchens, David Quinn and Max McGuinness, who’d been butting heads on other issues, coalesced to disagree. Blix, Russia and France had all been convinced that Saddam was up to his oxters in illicit weaponry, they chorused. Bush ’n’ Blair could scarcely be blamed for believing likewise. They had gone to war in good faith.
For a moment, I faltered in the face of their vehement unanimity. The swirl of mendacity still occluding the circumstances in which the invasion had been undertaken didn’t make for simple certainty. I found myself pondering the possibility that I’d gotten it wrong, and resolved to button my lip until I managed a sure fix on the facts. Which I have.
Blix delivered his last report prior to the invasion at the UN General Assembly in New York on March 7 2003, 13 days before the “shock and awe” assault on Baghdad. He provided a detailed account of the UN inspection team travelling around Iraq and checking the claims of the western intelligence agencies. “No evidence of proscribed activities have so far been found,” he informed delegates.
He assured the assembly that, if they wanted, he’d keep looking. “It would not take years, nor weeks, but months,” to complete the task.
Some will recall that the plea to “give the weapons inspectors more time” became something of a mantra for moderate elements within the anti-war movement. This was the position, too, of Russia and France.