This week, the Butler Review was released in the United Kingdom, reiterating what has been coming out in the United States recently: that the intelligence agencies had reservations about weapon stockpiles, that Saddam Hussein was not an immediate threat, and that Blair (and Bush) pushed forward regardless. On BBC Radio’s “World Service” program yesterday was an interview on the subject with Foreign Office minister Baroness Symons.
The original airing of the program doesn’t appear to be available any more. It was 4:24 minutes long; the important part started at 3:30 and covered the last minute of the interview. Fortunately, I transcribed some of that part…
(Symons) The crunch issue is, “If we knew then what we know now, would the decision over what we did in Iraq be the same?” and the answer to that is “Yes.” Because as the Butler Report makes clear, Saddam had had chemical and biological weapons, he had had a nuclear weapons program, he had concealed them, he had used these weapons in the past.[Online program ends here.]
(BBC Interviewer) If we’d known that there were no stockpiles, no weapons of mass destruction, we’d have invaded anyway?
(Symons) I think that the threat that was posed to us at the time was a threat that we could not have simply passed by. Because the fact is that at the time, we were getting all these reports, not only about the belief that Saddam could be building up these stockpiles, but of course, as well, it was the coming together, as the Prime Minister made very clear in his statement, of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the terrorist threat.
In other words, “Yes.” If we had known at the time that there were no weapons of mass destruction, we (or at least the United Kingdom, and I think it’s safe to say the United States by extension, since the UK wouldn’t have done it without us) would have invaded Iraq anyway.
In short, the war was about deposing Saddam. And nothing else.
Updated on March 10, 2011