Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Quiz: Who Said This?

In September 2002 the Government published their notorious dodgy dossier. A few days later, which leading politician said the following?

"He (Saddam) most certainly has chemical and biological weapons and is working towards a nuclear capability. This dossier contains confirmation of information that we knew or most certainly should have been willing to assume. Saddam's possession of chemical and biological weapons, have been eloquently demonstrated by this dossier."

Feel free to leave your guesses in the Comments section. I will post the answer at 7pm.

UPDATE: Yes, correct, it was Ming Campbell. The reason I raise it was after seeing a letter on the subject in The Scotsman. It read...

I was interested to read that Sir Menzies Campbell, one of the three candidates hoping to become leader of the Liberal Democrats, received great applause for his comments on the war in Iraq to a recent hustings meeting in Edinburgh for party members (your report, 20 February). Sir Menzies seldom passes up an opportunity to boast that on that matter he got it right all along. Sir Menzies seldom passes up an opportunity to boast that on that matter he got it right all along. But did he? If readers were to turn to Hansard (24 September, 2002), immediately after the publication of the 45-minute dossier (the so-called "dodgy dossier") you can see what he said then. After denouncing the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, as an evil tyrant who posed a real danger to both his own citizens and people from neighbouring countries, Sir Menzies went on to say: "He most certainly has chemical and biological weapons and is working towards a nuclear capability. "This dossier contains confirmation of information that we knew or most certainly should have been willing to assume. Saddam's possession of chemical and biological weapons, have been eloquently demonstrated by this dossier." Sir Menzies should explain why, and at what point did he have such a dramatic change of mind.

And I always thought he was such an expert on foreign affairs...

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sir Ming Campbell

Anonymous said...

I was going to say 'some old fool' and then I remembered Sir Menzies Campbell

Anonymous said...

Correct. But it is important to note how his speech went on:

"Where is the evidence that containment and deterrence have failed to the point at which military action is deemed necessary? Do the Government and the House agree that if a fraction of the resources that would be spent on military action had been spent on containment, containment might have been much more effective than it has been? On deterrence, where is the evidence that someone who has devoted his whole life to self-preservation would take action that would result in massive and inevitably fatal retaliation? Where is the evidence that Saddam Hussein now rejects the unequivocal assertion made by James Baker to Tariq Aziz on the eve of the Gulf war that if weapons of mass destruction were used, the response would be disproportionate?

What are the answers to those lethally eloquent questions of Mr. John Major last week, which, surprisingly, were not taken up today by the Leader of the Opposition? What is the exit strategy? Who will replace Saddam Hussein? How long would coalition troops be required to remain in Iraq? Will Iraq split up?

If, as is eloquently demonstrated by the dossier and if, as we are entitled to assume, Saddam Hussein has chemical and biological weapons, what assessment is being made of the likelihood that he would use them against attacking forces? What assessment is being made of the likelihood that he would use them against Israel? What would be the consequences for the stability of the middle east if Israel were attacked and felt compelled to respond with nuclear weapons?"

---

It was never part of the case against the war that the "intelligence" was incorrect, although it turned out that it was. The case against war was the case that Ming Campbell went on to outline - had Iain done him the courtesy of printing the full text rather than his own peculiar edit.

Ming Campbell ws not the only leading politician who believed in 2002 that the government could be trusted to report to Parliament accurately on intelligence received. If you are going to condemn him on that basis, Iain, you may as well while you're at it condemn the entire Tory parliamentary party and Labour backbenchers too.

It is credit to Campbell that he argued that the war was wrong even if the intelligence was correct (as he assumed it to be).

Anonymous said...

yes old ming

DP said...

Surely not a certain Sctosman running for leadership of the Lib Dems?

Anonymous said...

correct

Bulldog said...

I think just about every mainstream British & American politician said something along those lines at the time didn't they?

(I'm sure George G. would argue otherwise but he's the only one who regards him as mainstream)

Steve said...

Did the original quote include the superfluous comma or did you add that in?

Anonymous said...

So what. The Conservative frontbench made similar comments.

Nuke Labour said...

> I always thought he was such an expert on foreign affairs... <

On Uganda, presumably?

Iain Dale said...

Nuke, you naughty, naughty boy. You've obviously been talking to Guido...

Neil Craig said...

Many people on all sides said that the dodgy dossier was incorrect & that the existence of WMDs in sufficient numbers to make it dangerous to allow the inspectors to find out was extremely unlikely.

The war was started on the claim that WMDs existed which was the legal justification & Ming agreed with.

That the Tory front bench agreed is irrelevant - they supported the war throughout - even going through the contortion of later saying that Blair should have said that there were no WMDs, thus destroying the legal fig leaf & they would still have gone.