Thursday, October 07, 2004

The final judgment: Iraq had no WMD when war began

TONY Blair's case for waging war in Iraq has been destroyed, it was claimed last night, after the official group that spent 16 months searching for Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction finally concluded they do not exist.
Charles Duelfer, the top US arms inspector, said he had found no evidence that Iraq produced any weapons of mass destruction after 1991.

1 comment:

  1. French officials were prepared to provide as many as
    15,000 troops for an invasion of Iraq before relations
    soured between Washington and Paris over the timing of
    an attack, according to a new book published in France
    this week.

    According to the book, Chirac Contre Bush: L'Autre
    Guerre (Chirac Versus Bush: The Other War), France's
    General Jean Patrick Gaviard visited the Pentagon in
    December 2002, three months before the war began, to
    discuss a contribution of 10,000 to 15,000 troops and
    to negotiate landing and docking rights for French
    jets and ships.

    Military officials in France were interested in
    joining in an attack because they felt that not
    participating with the United States in a major war
    would leave French forces unprepared for future
    conflicts, according to Mr Thomas Cantaloube, one of
    the authors.

    But the negotiations had not progressed far before
    French President Jacques Chirac decided that the US
    was pushing too fast to short-circuit inspections by
    United Nations weapons inspectors. Mr Chirac, the book
    says, was prepared to join in an attack if Iraqi
    President Saddam Hussein did not allow inspectors into

    'Up until December 2002, what everyone told us is that
    France thought Saddam Hussein was going to make a
    mistake and not allow inspections,' Mr Cantaloube
    said. After inspectors appeared to make progress in
    Iraq, Mr Chirac's thinking changed, especially after
    polls in France showed vast opposition to an attack.

    White House and Pentagon officials declined to
    comment. The book is a detailed recount of the
    deteriorating relationship between President George W.
    Bush and Mr Chirac by two journalists based in
    Washington and Paris for Le Parisien newspaper. The
    journalists, Mr Cantaloube and Mr Henri Vernet, said
    that they interviewed more than 50 military and
    diplomatic officials in both countries for the book.


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