at last!…

Posted on Tuesday 27 July 2010

Diplomat Harsh on Leaders In Testimony for Iraq Inquiry
New York Times

By JOHN F. BURNS
July 27, 2010

LONDON — In the years Hans Blix has spent relating his struggle to deter the United States and Britain from going to war in Iraq, he has rarely spoken with the disdain for President George W. Bush and his top aides that he displayed on Tuesday before Britain’s official inquiry into the war. Mr. Blix, the Swedish diplomat who led the United Nations body that scoured Iraq for traces of Saddam Hussein’s banned weapons program, used the word “absurd” on several occasions to describe American arguments for going to war. He also described Britain, the United States’ main ally in the invasion, as “a prisoner on the American train.”

Mr. Blix concluded three hours of testimony by saying that Iraqis had suffered worse from the “anarchy” that followed the invasion in March 2003 than it had under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. Iraq was already “prostrate” under Mr. Hussein, he said, and the impact of economic sanctions, and the invasion and its aftermath, made things worse. Mr. Blix, 82, is customarily courtly, in the way of the Cambridge-educated international lawyer he was before he became Sweden’s foreign minister in the late 1970s. But appearing before the British inquiry as the first non-British witness to speak in a public session, his quiet, detailed account of the weapons inspections — and the decision to go to war before inspections were completed — was punctuated by acerbic observations about the American role.

He repeatedly referred to the American president as “Bush,” without using his title or an honorific, while referring to Tony Blair, the British prime minister who joined the invasion, as “Mr. Blair.” He criticized both leaders, as he has before, for resting their case for going to war on intelligence about Iraq’s weapons programs that he described as poor. “I have never questioned the good faith of Mr. Blair, or Mr. Bush,” he said at one point. “What I questioned was the good judgment, particularly of Bush, but also about Mr. Blair to some extent”…

As for Mr. Hussein, Mr. Blix said he attributed Iraq’s failure to comply fully with United Nations inspection teams in the years before the invasion to a refusal by Mr. Hussein to undergo what he viewed as “humiliation” at the hands of the West. “I see him like Nebuchadnezzar, the emperor of Mesopotamia — an utterly ruthless, brutal man who sat with a revolver in his pocket and could use it to shoot you,” and who thought he could outwit the West “and misjudged things at the end,” Mr. Blix said…
Well, right after I declared the Blix story a 1boringoldman exclusive… the copy-cats emerge, like this story in the New York Times. It’s even news in Buenos Aires now!
UN weapons inspector Blix gives opinion on Iraq war
Buenos Aires News.Net

27th July, 2010

Dr Hans Blix has told the Iraq war inquiry that the arguments used by the US to justify the invasion were "absurd". Appearing before the Chilcot Inquiry in London, the man who led UN weapons inspectors into Iraq before the 2003 invasion said the US government had been tied to the idea of a pre-emptive military action. Dr Blix told the inquiry he had only believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in the early days of his weapons checks, but, as time wore on, he became increasingly sceptical about intelligence given to the US by Iraqi defectors as he had visited 500 sites and found no weapons of mass destruction.

He said Washington and London should have realised that their information was poor as it was coming from people who had defected and wanted some reward for the information they were giving. He went on: "They’re inclined to give what they think their interrogators want to hear."

Dr Blix also said the US had been presumptuous to suggest the UN Security Council should agree with its intelligence, and should not have threatened that the council would be consigned to irrelevance if it did not. He said he believed the US at the time was high on military and felt that they could get away with starting a war. Dr Blix said Britain eventually became a prisoner of US war policies, which in his view were illegal.
What a trend setter! Seriously, it ought to be in every paper in the world. The AP picked up on Blix’s best line of the day:
UN’s Blix: UK, US relied on dubious intelligence
Associated Press
By DAVID STRINGER
July 27, 2010

…Blix referred to suggestions that U.S. and British intelligence tapped phones and bugged offices at the U.N. in the run-up to war. "Some people though we were bugged in New York," he said. "My only complaint about that is they could have listened more carefully to what we had to say"

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