September 24, 2002
2:14 AM   Subscribe

Finally released, The British Government's Dossier On Iraq appears, after two hours of reading, to be quite remarkable in it's - well - unremarkableness.(.pdf link from mainpage)
posted by Doozer (28 comments total)
CNN also has a copy of the file here.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 2:28 AM on September 24, 2002

For those not wishing to wade through the entire thing (though I may well while not at work), the BBC has a rapid rundown here, and a commentry on the report over here.
I have to admit, it does seem like time something was done about this situation, but I have to wonder if this would have occured if Bush wasn't quite so desperate for some form of result in his war on terrorism.
posted by PeteTheHair at 2:48 AM on September 24, 2002

I have to wonder if this would have occured if Bush wasn't quite so desperate for some form of result in his war on terrorism.

Sorry just need reminding - what role has Iraq in the 'War on Terrorism'? Apart from the attack on the Stark of course:
In 1987, an Iraqi Exocet missile hit an American destroyer, the USS Stark, in the Persian Gulf, killing 37 crewmen. Incredibly, the United States excused Iraq for making an unintentional mistake and instead used the incident to accuse Iran of escalating the war in the gulf.
posted by meech at 4:09 AM on September 24, 2002

The fictoid that "Saddam has used chemical weapons, not only against an enemy state, but against his own people." appears repeatedly in the document. He attacked Kurdish villages in the north of Iraq with sarin during an attempted occupation by Iran in 1988.

How much more of the "evidence" is similarly misrepresented?
posted by col at 4:54 AM on September 24, 2002

This is the second time in less than a year that the British government has released such support for bombing a country while the American government offered nothing of substance.

From the report: "Gathering intelligence inside Iraq is not easy. Saddam's is one of the most secretive and dictatorial regimes in the world. So I believe people will understand why the Agencies cannot be specific about the sources, which have formed the judgements in this document, and why we cannot publish everything we know. We cannot, of course, publish the detailed raw intelligence. I and other Ministers have been briefed in detail on the intelligence and are satisfied as to its authority."

Sorry, I don't accept secrecy in this matter. Taking a risk of exposing their covert assets is a risk the US and British governments must take in order that we may preserve peace. I do not trust governments. I distrust their motives. In order to be convinced, I need details, sources and references.

Even where such information could be provided it is not. "Much information about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction is already in the public domain from UN reports and from Iraqi defectors." What reports? What information in the public domain? Where can we see this information? What about a bibliography?

"From Iraqi declarations to the UN after the Gulf War we know that by 1991 Iraq had produced a variety of delivery means for chemical and biological agents including over 16,000 free-fall bombs and over 110,000 artillery rockets and shells. Iraq also admitted to the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) that it had 50 chemical and 25 biological warheads available for its ballistic missiles." Presumably these declarations and admissions are part of the public record at the UN. Where are they? Where can we see them? Why are they not referenced here?

I could go on, but this document is full of supposed details with little effort to sufficiently convince anyone of their authenticity. I know there are well-researched media reports substantiating some of this, so why are they not mentioned here? I assume its because we are supposed to take the word of the paternal government at its face value. We are supposed to trust. Well, I do not. If this is the outline of why we're about to attack another country, then it's insufficient. I do not trust, and without further evidence, I will not support this action.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:12 AM on September 24, 2002

Funny how the document doesn't seem to mention direct danger to anything or anyone in the US or in Europe. And isn't it funny how those within striking distance of Iraq's missiles are not crying "SAVE US!".
posted by timyang at 6:23 AM on September 24, 2002

Bush and Blair have a pretty strong argument for action by the United Nations, but they have not made a case for an attack by the US and the UK.

Also, do the US and UK governments have an explanation for why it's OK for them to have nuclear weapons, but it's forbidden for Iraq? I mean, other than, "because I'm the dad."
posted by kirkaracha at 6:42 AM on September 24, 2002

Unveiled - the thugs Bush wants in place of Saddam - Sunday Herald
posted by sheauga at 6:42 AM on September 24, 2002

I'm just beginning to think that if Bush and Blair really want to defeat Saddam Hussein, they should get it off their chests and go get him. But I would want to see a rule put in place that any oil interests in Iraq are transfered directly to the ownership of the Iraqi people, a national resource for the benefit of the entire country, not to be sold to any outside interests for the next 15 years while democracy establishes itself. Do any other MeFites think such an outcome is likely?
posted by skylar at 6:47 AM on September 24, 2002

Unremarkable? I take it you didnt read the last 5 pages or so.
posted by stbalbach at 7:04 AM on September 24, 2002

Mo Nickles. Your either with us or with the terrorists.
posted by stbalbach at 7:14 AM on September 24, 2002

skylar: I think that this is an excellent and very reasonable suggestion, but would certainly be refused by the Bush administration. They would argue that the oil should go to recouping the costs of liberating the country and building a new government.
posted by Raichle at 7:22 AM on September 24, 2002

stbalbach: Please be specific about the headings in the document you consider remarkable or significant.
posted by theRegent at 7:35 AM on September 24, 2002

stbalbach: Do you think a US puppet regime would treat it's subjects any better?
posted by col at 7:40 AM on September 24, 2002

Stbalbach: If I'm forced to choose between siding with simpering sycophants and flag-waving floppy-lipped weapon fetishists without a bit of cognitive ability contained within the unwrinkled surface of their undeveloped brains--like you-- and between the so-called Iraqi "terrorists," then I choose the Iraqis.

I do not have to prove my fealty, my patriotism, my pride in my country. No, I do not. For the record, I have love of country and a strong feeling that we have the best system yet to appear on this planet, but I'm under no obligation to prove it, especially to worms like you. It's nobody else's business. What am I going to have to do next, show my papers? Am I going to be randomly stopped on the street and asked for my passport? Are armbands far behind?

You, Stalbach, are unworthy of American citizenship. You are a bad example of an American. You are an embarrassment. You are unworthy of the right to vote. You are unworthy of the right to free speech, free assembly, freedom of religion, or any of the other rights I so firmly believe in. Get a life, an education, and a conscience, then there's a chance you can be rescued. Until then, you're a write-off.
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:25 AM on September 24, 2002

Mo -- obviously you are a terrorist.
posted by stbalbach at 9:30 AM on September 24, 2002

theRegent-- (re)read the last Section 3: Iraq under Saddam. Please explain how that's unremarkable. Perhaps Im not following your remark but don't you think we have a responsibility as the most power country in the world to stop this kind of regime which history has shown follows predictable patterns and if left alone will become a much more serious problem in the future.
posted by stbalbach at 9:33 AM on September 24, 2002

col -- theres a US puppet regime in Iraq? Hopefully the Iraqi opposition party doesnt know about this.
posted by stbalbach at 9:35 AM on September 24, 2002

stbalbach - perhaps these sites, and hundreds of others like them, might illustrate why the use of torture, murder and genocide by Hussein is not particularly unique or remarkable. These tactics are the domestic political tool of choice for truly nasty fuckers of Hussein's ilk worldwide. D'ya reckon they are all awake in their beds at night, anticipating being put in a hole in the ground by "the most power [sic.] country in the world" exercising it's "responsibilities". Much as I'd like to think so, I doubt it.

Seeing as you mention it, what is perhaps more telling is the almost universal silence which greeted these crimes at the time many of them were carried out - they didn't seem to be a problem then, so why the sudden interest now?? In fact, if I recall correctly, a UN motion to condemn the attack on Halabja was vetoed at the time by the US delegation to the Security Council. But that was in 1988 - apparently, Saddam was one of the good guys then. Btw, that was NOT intended as a swipe at the US in any way, merely an observation of how things change in the world of realpolitik, and how any government document which trumpets moral superiority rather than verifiable fact deserves to be read with a pinch of salt before being chucked in the dustbin....
posted by Doozer at 10:37 AM on September 24, 2002

I did not claim it was unremarkable. Nor did I claim to have yet read the document. I have now read the portion you cited.

stalbach: ...don't you think we have a responsibility as the most power[ful] country in the world to stop this kind of regime...

In a word: no.

Do we have a responsibility to participate in the international community's efforts to stop both such political structures and such gross inhumanity? Yes.

I recognize that the US is likely to be the source of a Lion's share of the resources and manpower for such an effort, but that effort must be an act of international conscience if it is to be justified by means of Hussein's inhuman treatment of his population.
posted by theRegent at 11:27 AM on September 24, 2002

Strange - the phrase that stood out for me was the 'al-Darwah Foot and Mouth Vaccine Institute' where much of the biological mischief is supposed to have been cooked.

I doubt it's an accident. In the UK it still hasn't been established where our Foot and Mouth outbreak came from. I'm not being paranoid (OK I am) but the disaster of the outbreak last year underlined how incredibly vulnerable we are to this kind of thing (and what powerful terrorist weapons biological agents could be).

Perhaps that's why the British reaction is so much more supportive than the rest of the world.
posted by grahamwell at 1:26 PM on September 24, 2002

Mo -- obviously you are a terrorist.

posted by hob at 2:10 PM on September 24, 2002

The more I think about this, the more I realize that Bush's people have concocted the perfect political situation. Seeing that overrunning Iraq shouldn't be that difficult, they'll be able to say that they prevented attacks against America because of the swift military action. But the fact that they overthrew the regime before any such attacks happened makes it impossible to prove or disprove that they were going to happen, playing into Bush's hands.

The worst that could happen for him would be a terrorist act after Hussein is overthrown, and say Bin laden is killed, proving that neither act really mattered that much.
posted by drezdn at 2:45 PM on September 24, 2002

stbalbach. So they only need bother printing two checkboxes for the nest election?

' George w Bush

' I'm a freedom hating & baby killing Terrorist
posted by The Great Satan at 4:58 PM on September 24, 2002

I finally found a use for those little boxes and they decide not to appear. Laugh now little boxes, but you will be sorry. Grrr
posted by The Great Satan at 5:06 PM on September 24, 2002

Thank You Great Satan. You of all can appreciate the ironic humour of the situation. FWIW the line "your with us or with the terrorists" is attributed to Bush -- its well known but looks like I should have given him the credit in the post to avoid hurt feelings. Mo -- your not a terrorist I for one believe you sorry for the misunderstanding.
posted by stbalbach at 6:01 PM on September 24, 2002

? Gw bush
? the terrorists!

But the real question is, what's the diffrence?
posted by delmoi at 7:57 PM on September 24, 2002

The "terrorists" motives are more pure.
posted by Optamystic at 10:22 PM on September 24, 2002

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