Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Butler Report

Jonah Goldberg at The National Review has pulled relevant paragraphs from The Butler Report. The Butler report is the British version of our own Senate's report on pre-war Iraq intelligence. Read them, memorize them, print them and give them to anyone you know that asserts that the War was based on a lie, or that Saddam Hussein was not a threat. From the Butler Report:

We conclude that, on the basis of the intelligence assessments at the time, covering both Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the government's dossier, and by extension the prime minister in the House of Commons, were well founded. By extension, we conclude also that the statement in President Bush's state of the union address of 2003 that "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" was well founded.


Has anyone seen Joe Wilson? Joe Wilson? Is Joe Wilson here? More from the report:

Even now it would be premature to reach conclusions about Iraq's prohibited weapons. Much potential evidence may have been destroyed in the looting and disorder that followed the cessation of hostilities. Other material may be hidden in the sand, including stocks of agent or weapons. We believe that it would be a rash person who asserted at this stage that evidence of Iraqi possession of stocks of biological or chemical agents, or even of banned missiles, does not exist or will never be found. But as a result of our review, and taking into account the evidence which has been found by the ISG and debriefing of Iraqi personnel, we have reached the conclusion that prior to the war the Iraqi regime:

a) Had the strategic intention of resuming the pursuit of prohibited weapons programmes, including if possible its nuclear weapons programme, when UN inspection regimes were relaxed and sanctions were eroded or lifted.

b) In support of that goal, was carrying out illicit research and development, and procurement, activities, to seek to sustain its indigenous capabilities.

c) Was developing ballistic missiles with a range longer than permitted under relevant United Nations security council resolutions, but did not have significant - if any - stocks of chemical or biological weapons in a state fit for deployment, or developed plans for using them.


The report also concluded
that Tony Blair in no way misled anyone regarding Iraq's weapon's:

"We found no evidence to question the prime minister's good faith," Lord Butler said after releasing his report.

While Blair placed undue weight on thin intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weaponry, Butler told reporters there was "no deliberate attempt on the part of the government to mislead."

This statement in the Butler Report should lead anyone who is interested in the security of the United States and it's allies to breathe a sigh of relief:

Even now it would be premature to reach conclusions about Iraq's prohibited weapons. Much potential evidence may have been destroyed in the looting and disorder that followed the cessation of hostilities. Other material may be hidden in the sand, including stocks of agent or weapons. We believe that it would be a rash person who asserted at this stage that evidence of Iraqi possession of stocks of biological or chemical agents, or even of banned missiles, does not exist or will never be found.


The importance of this cannot be overstated. Not for partisan political reasons, but because this report and the US report calls into question the Intelligence services we rely on for our security. If the allies in Iraq were to find large stockpiles of weapons "buried beneath the sands", then would the pre-war intelligence still be considered flawed. Would the sources and methods used by intelligence agencies still deserve the ridicule they have gotten since the reports were released? The entire world believed because of intelligence that Saddam maintained stockpiles of weapons. Is it not possible that in the months leading up to the war that Saddam buried the weapons, or sent them out of the country?

The fact is it is possible that the weapons will still be found., and Lord Butler Report had the forthrightness to include that possibility in his report.