Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hans Blix on Bush-Blair

The NYT's John Burns reports on Hans Blix's testimony before the British commission of inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  Mr. Blix, as you recall (please, tell me that you do indeed recall), led the UN team scouring Iraq for those tons of WMDs that, we were sure, Saddam had hidden all over his country.  Blix's team found nothing; said so; wanted more time; but Bush-Blair had already decided on their timetable, so Hans' team had to go . . . and the useful idiots at Fox News, the Heritage Foundation, AEI thought Hans to be oh, so silly, for actually entertaining the ludicrous notion that Saddam just might not have any WMDs.  You know the rest of the story. 

Notes Burns:
Mr. Blix. . . 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.

Burns also notes that the commission's final report is scheduled to appear by end of 2010.  You can expect to hear it announced by one of CNN's oh-so-gorgeous lipsticked + hair-frozen news-babes, sandwiched between the latest bulletin on Lindsay Lohan's escapades and Michelle Obama's New Years party outfit.


Zso Sahal said...

The cruel irony is the US KNEW he had chemical weapons. We've got the receipts.... We just didn't think he had used all of them on the Kurds.

Gives the conflict a new dimension when you consider that A) we sold him WMD, and B) then turned on him.

John Robertson said...

Doesn't it, indeed? But it's appalls me that so few Americans know about this - or even care to know. I made a public presentation about some of this on the eve of the 2003 invasion; noted explicitly the US's complicity in Saddam's possession of chemical weapons; and was approached afterward by a university colleague - Political science prof, no less, and a gung-ho advocate of the impending invasion - who looked as if someone had just told him his house had burned down.

Timothy Jay said...

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that wasn't Dr. Johnson. Its a hunch really:)



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