Sunday, July 13
No more fudges: A WMD inquiry is imperative now
The Observer Leader, July 13, 2003

We live in the era of pre-emptive warfare. The build-up to the most recent Gulf war demonstrated a widespread acceptance of the need to anticipate the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction, and challenge those who have access to them and may deploy them. In such circumstances, the accuracy of the intelligence informing such decisions becomes critical.

We must be convinced that the information on which our governments go to war is impartially gathered and impartially presented before the lives of combatants and civilians are put at risk.

Were those standards of proof met before war was launched against Iraq? Or were we simply fed misinformation, exaggeration and half-truth over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction? A worrying picture is emerging. We have seen no evidence of the aluminium tubes which we were told Saddam could use for uranium-enrichment. We have seen no evidence of the fleet of mobile-weapons labs; only two sorry-looking trucks whose use has yet to be established.

We have seen no evidence of Saddam's alleged capacity to deploy WMD within 45 minutes. Now, there are serious questions over claims that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium in Niger, a claim central to the Government's original case that his weapons of mass destruction represented a threat to world security.

Following the admission by the CIA's director that he did not believe this claim, we must be told how it became so central to arguments deployed by Britain and the US. [...]

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