Sunday, August 05, 2007

Kilfoyle Slams Blair's Iraq Lies in New Book

Labour MP Peter Kilfoyle has a new book out called LIES, DAMNED LIES & IRAQ: AN IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION INTO THE CASE FOR WAR AND HOW IT WAS MISREPRESENTED. As you might be able to tell, my politics are a little different to Peter's but he is a man I have tremendous respect for, having published his previous book LEFT BEHIND. He sent me the manuscript for this book and even though I disagree with a lot of what he says I thought it needed to be published. I sent it to Harriman House and am delighted they took it up. Harriman are now publishing a large number of political books, including several by me, so if anyone has a political book in them, let me know and I will recommend it to them if I think it is worth publishing. Buy Peter's book HERE.


Archbishop Cranmer said...

His Grace still awaits his Witanagemot-judged book deal...

nadds said...

Looking forward to the non stop BBC coverage of "splits in Labour ranks"

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I shall look forward to the book. Mr Kilfoyle came across as a thoroughly decent cove on 18 DS when you interviewed him.

In a way he has far less of an axe to grind than Robin Cook or Claire Short, and should therefore be a little bit more objective.

I suppose that, being totally opposed to the War in Iraq, I want some comfort reading, but I dare say this man is by no means one dimensional and has a mind of his own.

(I wonder what he thinks of Boris?)

David Boothroyd said...

Is it not stupid for the anti-war campaigners to concentrate their campaign on a claim that the government was deliberately misleading? This area has been gone over many times and the facts are by now known, and the facts are almost entirely ranged against them. It's absolutely clear that the government, and Tony Blair personally, was entirely honest in saying exactly what he honestly believed. In some areas this turned out to be untrue, but if you make accusations of lying then that's neither here nor there: if he honestly believed a statement, then it was not a lie.

Other issues, on which the ground is much more favorable to anti-war campaigners, have been almost entirely ignored.

I wonder if this is part of the dumbing-down of politics. It's very simple to understand the issues of telling the truth or not, but if the issue is efficacious contingency plans for a military occupation of Iraq in a post-Baathist era, it gets a lot more complicated.

Boggart Blogger said...

Peter Kilfoyle was one of the few Labour MPs to emerge from the "war" debacle with his reputation not only intact but enhanced.

Little Nicky Machiavelli

jjafo said...

"... that the government, and Tony Blair personally, was entirely honest in saying exactly what he honestly believed."

Find it hard to believe I'm actually reading this!

If he "honestly believed" (if that phrase isn't a complete contradiction in terms when referring to Tony Blair) Iraq was such a threat to us why was it necessary to "sex-up" the dossier? Why change "might" be able to launch missiles to "can"?
Why pass off a 12 year old thesis on Iraq's chemical weapons downloaded from the internet as if it were a current intelligence evaluation?

Is it your point that Tony Blair knew nothing of any of this?

David Boothroyd said...

Jjafo, perhaps you would not be so surprised if you had read the evidence to the Hutton Inquiry or the Butler Inquiry report, both of which establish that there is no basis for saying that Tony Blair or the government in general said anything about Iraq which they did not honestly believe. The dossier was not 'sexed up'. The intelligence agencies had received a well-sourced piece of intelligence which said that Iraq had battlefield biological weapons, and honestly reported it to the public. (The Gilligan piece should never have been broadcast according to the BBC's own rules for producers; and its fundamental accusation has been proved untrue)

Your point about the briefing paper on Iraq's infrastructure of concealment does not go to the government's honesty: the PhD thesis was believed to be valid, and indeed Channel 4 News did not assert that it was untrue in any aspect.

malcolm said...

The dossier was not sexed up-David Boothroyd.Even by your very low standards that was an outrageous thing to write

David Boothroyd said...

I'm quite prepared to accept you are outraged to see it written, but it is true. Plenty of true things are outrageous.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

D Boothroyd.

Reading around the Iraq war and the reasons for it requires more than dipping into the Hutton report, which was a whitewash from the start. Even with the best of intentions (which I doubt) Hutton was not going to get at the truth, principally because its terms of reference were severely narrow.

You need to read Dr Hans Blix's reports to the UN. You must read Robin Cook's account. You need to remember that however many names people want to call Clair Short, she was elected to the Cabinet and has since called Blair a liar, with no caveats.

You need to see the kind of people Blair surrounded himself with: Mandelson, Campbell, etc, and how the culture of lies "a good day to bury bad news" was systemic and institutional.

I could go on, but I feel your grasp of the issue is so tissue-paper thin, I don't think I shall bother.

David Boothroyd said...

Clare Short was not elected to the Cabinet, and she supported the war. I know because I remember speaking to her office on the day of the Iraq war vote in 2003 when she was doing a ringaround to try to persuade other Labour MPs to support the government.

Your remark about Tony Blair's associates is unfortunately entirely typical of the argumentless argument. You don't actually establish that any of the people you name have lied, your quote is a misquote, and it does not refer to lying. All governments, and indeed all other parties, have deliberately timed announcements to either attract or not attract publicity.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

DB. You are a sad Troll. I suspect you are the same David Booothroyd that goes around the blogs making mischief.

Enjoy the attention while you can.

David Boothroyd said...

What you call 'making mischief' is what others refer to as offering comments. Poor show by you to be unable to offer any counter-argument, and even poorer that you should then resort to (in effect) asserting that no reasonable person could ever take the same stance.

Sceptical Steve said...

AJP Taylor famously identified the trigger for the First World War as the inability of the German Army to rescind its mobilisation plans in 1914. (He argued that the German railway timetable was too inflexible to bring the troops back from their mobilisation positions.)

In the context of Iraq, the forces build-up started in mid 2002 and most of the arrangements were in place by the time the anti-war movements identified the necessity for the famous second UN resolution. Since this was never going to happen, and it would have bene a scandalous waste of money to bring back the troops without a fight, the coalition had two choices:
1. Ignore the need for the resolution (USA)
2. By-pass the need for a resolution by creating something which could be interpreted as an immediate threat (UK).

Through the use of co-operative members of the Intelligence and Diplomatic services, and the application of jounalistic techniques to suggest certainty in the documents they were "quoting", the Government got off the hook.

Hutton, bless him, was tied by his terms of reference but did, at least, cause some discomfort to the individuals who helped create the story of the threat.

Overall, anyone who believes that Blair was not at the heart of all this probably also believes in the Tooth Fairy.

David Boothroyd said...

I'm sure, Steve, you would not want to mislead readers by suggesting that your theory was supported by the Butler Inquiry which looked into precisely that issue and concluded that intelligence was not deliberately misused.

Unsworth said...

David Boothroyd: Hutton and Butler - "both of which establish that there is no basis for saying that Tony Blair or the government in general said anything about Iraq which they did not honestly believe".

So, a clear manifestation of the delusional state of both Blair and his entourage, then.

However, the fact that they did not say "anything about Iraq which they did not believe" is almost irrelevant. These people maintained that delusional stance throughout, and in the teeth of clear evidence to the contrary. At all stages there has been a willingness to change the justifications to suit the circumstance. Even when the basis for the Government's original position was swept away, it continued to proclaim the rightness of its cause - but for entirely different 'reasons'. The Government has in the process also sought to deceive the nation. That is simply amoral.

You may be prepared to support such behaviour, but many are not.

jjafo said...

DB, "dossier not sexed-up"? So changing the meaning of a sentence to say someone CAN do something rather than MIGHT BE ABLE to do something is OK as a reason for sending troops to war, is it?

As for the PHD thesis (used without the permission of or reference to the author, by the way) the question isn't whether it was accurate, as you well know; the point is it was 12 years old and presented by the Government as current intelligence.

I did, in fact, read the evidence to the Hutton Enquiry, which is why I was just as amazed as everyone else at Lord Hutton's conclusions!

David Boothroyd said...

Jjafo, the February dossier was specifically not presented as a product of the UK intelligence agencies. It said it drew on a number of sources, including intelligence material, but was produced by the Cabinet Office. As was established through the Hutton inquiry, all drafting changes suggested to the September dossier had to be approved by John Scarlett and he only approved where the intelligence supported them.

Chuck, it can hardly be called 'delusional' for the government to have accepted what the intelligence agencies were telling it. They were, after all, the people with the best knowledge, and the experts in their field. Yes, the government was always open that it was also influenced by the evil nature of Baathist Iraq. That was a (non-legal) justification for the invasion; the legal justification was the non-compliance with UN weapons inspection. Hans Blix, on 14 February, said that Iraq had not "provide[d] the fresh material and evidence needed to respond to the open questions" about its weapons programmes.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Dont feed the trolls.

David Boothroyd said...

Wrinkled weasel calls people trolls when they don't agree with him and he is unable to counter the argument.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Dear DirtyBum

I am a regular contributor to this blog and have been for at least a year.

Please find an instance when I have called someone, other than you, a TROLL.

I think you will find you are unique, and that is because you are one. Now go away and try and find another platform for your pathetic attention seeking behaviour.

Unsworth said...

David Boothroyd: "They were, after all, the people with the best knowledge, and the experts in their field"

Yes, well as we all know history is littered with the disastrous results of the opinions of soi-disant 'experts'. However, that is to conveniently forget that there were very many others who contemporaneously voiced objections and provided ample reason for not launching into such a risky and ill-prepared gamble. Indeed some other 'intelligence experts' were (courageously) frank and outspoken in their opposing views at the time. The pity is that Blair and his colleagues did not seriously engage with the whole intelligence community prior to making the decision to take military action. Blair preferring instead to listen to the advice of his own coterie and appointees - his courtiers. For that he is - and they are - culpable.

Had Blair been at all prepared to properly consider what was in British interests he should have consulted more widely within Britain, rather than Washington. Then again, when did Blair ever really consider British interests?

David Boothroyd said...

Chuck, Iraq intelligence was a pretty specialised field. There was an established way for the PM to consult with the widest array of UK intelligence agencies: it was and is the Joint Intelligence Committee, and it was precisely the body that the PM went to.

Wrinkled weasel, when you intimate that I'm being deliberately controversial and then refuse to deal with well-argued comments, it's you that's playing the fool.

Unsworth said...

David Boothroyd:

Actually Iraq and the Middle-East were and are an intelligence goldmine. A huge amount of information was available prior to the start of hostilities, and from a very large number of sources. The fact that Washington, and subsequently London, chose to adopt blinkers to pursue political aims is well enough recorded.

As you should know, the JIC was/is not the only source of information. To imply otherwise is downright silly or disingenuous. And again, I'd suggest that Scarlett and several others knew perfectly well that what was being put forward as 'intelligence' was, at best, dubious, and at worst outright fiction. If they did not know this to be the case then they should have been sacked for incompetence immediately after their professional failure was discovered. Instead exactly the opposite happened, they were honoured and promoted for getting it wrong. Why might that be, then?

Frankly for anyone to think that the JIC's views represent the finest appraisal of intelligence matters in Britain, or anywhere else, for that matter, is asinine. The JIC has become a completely politicised body in much the same way as most of the middle to upper echelons of the Civil Service. Time and again it has been shown to act as a political agent. Who has been responsible for that?