- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
Probe clears Blair of deliberate distortions on Iraq
Question of the Day
LONDON — Prime Minister Tony Blair escaped harsh criticism in an official inquiry into prewar intelligence on Iraq, which faulted him yesterday for informal decision-making and pushing available intelligence to the limit, but found no deliberate distortions.
Mr. Blair said he took full, personal responsibility. But after the much-awaited report was released, he told Parliament, “No one lied, no one made up the intelligence.”
The commission — headed by Robin Butler, a retired civil service chief — found prewar Iraq had no usable stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and that British intelligence was flawed, unreliable and incomplete. The five-member commission interviewed Mr. Blair, senior Cabinet figures and key intelligence officials.
Although the report criticized Mr. Blair’s “informal” governing style, it absolved him of misleading the public over Iraq, a charge that has dogged the prime minister since he took Britain into the U.S.-led war.
Protesters — including some who wore masks depicting Mr. Blair with a Pinocchio-like long nose — greeted the announcement by gathering outside the press conference where the report was released and carrying signs that featured Mr. Blair’s face and read: B.liar.
Mr. Butler’s judgment vindicates the British government of some of the harshest charges against it, a week after a Republican-led U.S. Senate committee excoriated a “broken corporate culture” at the CIA and said there had been a “global intelligence failure” on Iraq.
The verdict takes some pressure off Mr. Blair, whose popularity and credibility have been battered by the war and continuing violence in Iraq, and by the failure to find any weapons of mass destruction.
His Labor Party did poorly in recent elections, and there have been rumblings within the party calling for his ouster.
Mr. Blair’s future has wider symbolic and political ramifications months after a pro-war government was voted out in Spain, and with President Bush — Mr. Blair’s chief ally — facing a re-election campaign.
“We have no reason, found no evidence, to question the prime minister’s good faith,” Mr. Butler told reporters.
He concluded “no single individual” was responsible for intelligence failures that led Mr. Blair’s government to overstate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.
Before the war, Mr. Blair said Saddam “has chemical and biological weapons … [and] existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons.”
Addressing the House of Commons yesterday, however, he acknowledged it was likely Saddam “did not have stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons ready to deploy.”
But Mr. Blair defended his decision to go to war.
“I cannot honestly say I believe getting rid of Saddam was a mistake at all,” he said. “Iraq, the region, the wider world is a better and safer place without Saddam.”
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- DCCC raising money on suggestion Obama impeachment is imminent
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Federal judge rules D.C. ban on handguns in public is unconstitutional
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq