Watch live video of Iraq Inquiry. WARNING!!! No LIVE Hangings. Sorry.
Comment at end
1st December, 2009
SO WHAT ARE THE PRESS GOING TO YELL ABOUT AFTER MANNING?
(Nice banner, John. Mind if I borrow it?)
The habitually courteous and fair John Rentoul casts a gentle swipe at the usually reasonable Andrew Sparrow for his “Minute-by-minute coverage of what could be the most interesting hearing yet”.
I share with Rentoul a genuine admiration for Tony Blair. Yes, yes, I know, I know, what am I on? I actually believe EVERYONE is innocent until proven guilty – even Blair.
We few, we happy few need to stick together. But I quite enjoy Sparrow’s running commentaries. He seems almost “one of us”.
(Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition if you’re not, Andrew! That’ll make it FOUR honest, justice-loving journos. )
Btw, dear reader, I’ll update you later via the good offices of Julie, as for last week’s reports from the Inquiry. I’ll bet you can hardly wait!!!
A reasonable headline on BBC Radio 4 at 10:00pm: Manning, former policy adviser to Tony Blair, said, “It would be wrong to assume that Mr Blair took the eventual decision to invade Iraq, because Bush told him to.”
Some highlights from today at the Trial of Tony B… Iraq Inquiry:
- Security arrangements should have been handled differently after invasion.
- America at fault for any failure here and not Blair.
- The ‘withchhunt’ against Ba’athists (Sunni) party was not right.
- De-Ba’athification – he said he does not know who took the decision, he thought Ambassador Bremer, but not sure if it was his decision alone. It took Britain and Rice completely by surprise. There is a shared view in Britain that this was a mistake.
- Problems with troop numbers – inadequate – to seal border with Syria and Iran – which left sources for insurgencies wide open.
- Americans seemed to lose focus in immediate aftermath of invasion, which they have admitted.
- Co-opting the Iraqi military – some Americans wanted it – he spoke to Rice on this – and Rice accepted that. Divided views in Washington as to how to handle this.
- Panel member said, “evidently Britain did not have much leverage. Did we have any options?” Manning: “we had the option of not going. But Blair thought he had to take military action, so he went to parliament for endorsement of the decision. Blair keen to keep UN option open. But by 2nd week of March he had concluded that the UN route was not going to work.”
- Manning said he had been telling the US that a 2nd resolution was essential, (because it would have kept international community together.)
- US military were pressing on Bush “to get on with it”.
- Manning was asked,”Was it a factor for UK as well?”
- Reply, “Only because it was a factor for US.”
- 27 January report by Blix saying UN inspections were not working. Saddam was not cooperating.
- Manning says he wanted the inspections to run longer.
- Also said the French wouldn’t approve of a 2nd resolution anyway, and the Americans had had enough.
Asked what did we expect from the invasion internationally?
- Iraq would be rid of WMDs.
- Stability/co-operation in The Gulf. (Clearly they believed theat WMD existed)
- Also the liberation of a lot of people in Iraq.
- West seen to be picking on an Arab nation.
- War in Iraq Vs peace in Middle East.