Bremer rebuts Blair's lie of "secret Iraqi WMD labs"

US viceroy Paul Bremer is finally doing something useful - exposing the newest lie by the shifty and beady-eyed Tony Blair:
The supposed danger from Saddam Hussein's WMD was central to the Government's case for war in Iraq, but despite months of work, the Iraq Survey Group, headed by David Kay, has all but given up hope of finding them. Mr Blair has remained undaunted, insisting that the evidence would eventually turn up, and told British troops in his Christmas message that the information on laboratories showed Saddam had attempted to "conceal weapons".

But when the claim was put to Mr Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, he said it was not true. ...

"I don't know where those words come from, but that is not what David Kay has said," Mr Bremer told ITV1's Jonathan Dimbleby programme. "I have read his report, so I don't know who said that ... It sounds like someone who doesn't agree with the policy sets up a red herring, then knocks it down."
But in accordance with the increasingly important Anglo-American principle of incompetence in all matters relating to Iraq, it turns out that the admission was unintentional:
Mr Bremer changed tack when told the statement was by America's staunchest ally. "There is actually a lot of evidence that had been made public," he said, adding that the group had found "clear evidence of biological and chemical programmes ongoing ... and clear evidence of violation of UN Security Council resolutions relating to rockets".
So, according to Bremer, there is no evidence of concealed Iraqi WMD and frightful laboratories - except when Blair says that there is.

This is an interesting belief - that our rulers have the power to bring WMDs and related production facilities in and out of existence simply by uttering a few words. Kind of like god and how the world was created. Unfortunately, while this concept of genesis and existence may be fine for religions - not very big on things like proof, rationalism, logic and evidence - it is a pretty outrageous method of public governance.

Meanwhile, Bremer spouts off the now-standard line that the war was justified whether or not WMD ever turn up. This attitude is simply disgusting. Let's be very clear: the issue of WMD as a justification for this war of aggression matters very much. It is essentially a question of whether the rulers of liberal democratic states should have the power to lead around their publics like sheep and lie to them whenever they feel like it, or whether they should not have such powers. Should rulers be held accountable for their public pronouncements, or should they be allowed to make any kind of preposterous claim, not backed up by any kind of evidence, and manipulate public opinion with impunity?

Let us recall the type of statements that we were subjected to before this debacle. Bush knew that Iraq was swimming in a sea of WMD. There was no doubt - he was certain. Blair did make the claim that Britain was at risk from Iraqi weapons. No uncertainty there either. Now we have come to find out that these two leaders, and their respective governments, were not at all certain and did not "know" any of the things that they "knew" before the war. Most importantly, they were aware of their ignorance on these points. In other words, they lied about what they knew, and thus about the rationale they put forward. There is no other way to put it, at least not if one is interested in being honest about the matter (and this includes "liberals" who simply cannot conceive that their government would lie to them and, in fact, has already done so numerous times over the past year).

People who now say that the war was "justified" even if no WMD are found or that the claims put forward by Bush and Blair before the invasion are "irrelevant" or "behind us" are strong believers in the "public as sheep" philosophy. They think that it is perfectly acceptable for leaders to mislead and lie to publics when there is some kind of "greater good" - which these rulers alone define and which they never clearly spell out - at stake. This ideological position has nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with authoritarianism.

Whether or not one demands an answer to what Bush and Blair actually knew about Iraqi WMD before the war depends on whether one is content to be a sheep or not.

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