Saturday, August 7, 2010

Former WMD Inspector Hans Blix Calls U.S. Arguments For War In Iraq "Absurd"

Appearing before Britain's official inquiry into the war in Iraq, Hans Blix, the Swedish diplomat and international lawyer who searched for WMD in the country, offered scathing testimony regarding the war and President George W. Bush:

Mr. Blix...used the word “absurd” on several occasions to describe American arguments for going to war. He also described Britain, the United States’ main ally in the invasion, as “a prisoner on the American train.”

Mr. Blix concluded...that Iraqis had suffered worse from the “anarchy” that followed the invasion in March 2003 than it had under the Hussein dictatorship. Iraq was already “prostrate” under Mr. Hussein, he said, and the impact of economic sanctions, and the invasion and its aftermath, made things worse.

...He criticized [President Bush and Prime Minister Blair], as he has before, for resting their case for going to war on intelligence about Iraq’s weapons programs that he described as poor.

“I have never questioned the good faith of Mr. Blair, or Mr. Bush,” he said at one point. “What I questioned was the good judgment, particularly of Bush, but also about Mr. Blair to some extent.”

After the invasion, American-led weapons inspection teams found no stockpiles of banned weapons or traces of continuing programs to produce them.

A New York Times analysis finds an ambiguous yet troubling security and political situation in Iraq as American forces exit the nation:

While the overall picture remains that violence is down from last year, hundreds of Iraqis still die every month in attacks, and some recent Iraqi data raise questions about the durability of the narrative of steady improvement.

In July, for instance, many more civilians were killed in Baghdad compared with the previous year: 176 last month compared with 108 last year, according to the Interior Ministry. There were more homemade bombs, called improvised explosive devices in Baghdad in July than in any month last year, according to the ministry.

It is impossible to discern who is correct, and the divergence adds to the murkiness here, especially at a time of political paralysis — there is no new government nearly five months after parliamentary elections — and American withdrawal.

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