"Polemic in Spain over the Iraq war"

Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar has reportedly decided to break ranks with his fellow "coalition" war officers, Bush and Blair, and not hold an inquiry into the embarrassing lack of WMD in Iraq.

The following is a partial translation (of the most incriminating parts, naturally) of a report in the Neue Zuercher Zeitung (Zurich, Switzerland) over the controversy in Spain concerning the Iraq WMD fiasco.

"In Spain, the polemic over the Iraq war has become inflamed anew in the middle of the election fight. The opposition and the media accuse the government of disregarding the analyses of its own secret services and of obstructing an investigation commission.

"The unsuccessful search for WMD in Iraq is now also plaguing again the Spanish government chief Aznar, the third member of the alliance with President Bush and PM Blair which sounded the bell for the Iraq war at the Azores summit in March of last year. While Bush and Blair have come under suspicion of having manipulated the information of their secret services, Aznar sees himself exposed to the accusation of not having taken seriously his own secret service, the Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (CNI).

"The CNI had questioned the American information several times, in particular also that from Secretary of State Powell in February 2003, which Aznar had borrowed practically word-for-word. In its reports, it had two important reservations against repeated statements of its own government. It disputed the alleged ties between the regime of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, and it declared that the American information could not dispel doubts about the existence of WMD in Iraq. On this point, the CNI referred, among other things, to its own findings in Iraq.

"In his farewell address as government leader before the American Congress last Wednesday, Aznar stressed warningly that a debate over the problem of WMD would be a 'great irresponsibility'. That sounded almost like a criticism of the fact that the American and British heads of government had found themselves compelled to allow investigation commissions into just this question...".

So Aznar, like Blair, was at least sent warnings by his own intelligence service (which reportedly based its estimates partially on its own findings) that public government statements on Iraq's alleged WMD did not match up with the known data. And, again like Blair, Aznar for some reason simply ignored these warnings, including doubts by Spanish intelligence over the very existence of Iraq's supposed WMD.

Another blow against the "no one knew better/everyone was wrong" argument. Sorry, but ignorance of the fact that there were quite a few people and groups raising serious doubts about the Bush-Blair-Aznar line doesn't justify saying "we were all wrong".

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