But why did Blair choose to regard Iraq as the most pressing security threat facing the world in 2003, more dangerous than the likes of North Korea, Libya, Iran etc? Unlike the members of the Project for a New American Century, Blair had exhibited no obsession with Iraq before. Yes, he was an enthusiast for humanitarian intervention, toppling dictators like Slobodan Milosevic who massacred their own people. But there were any number of states that he could have targeted for invasion using human rights abuses as the justification. So: why Iraq for Blair?
Blair’s answer is in the first line of his statement to the Chilcot Inquiry released yesterday:
“Following the attack of September 11th 2001, the calculus of risk on global security had radically and fundamentally changed. In this context, the issue of Saddam Hussein and his long-standing defiance of the UN resolutions was bound to be a concern.”
This is pathetically, almost comically, weak. Saddam Hussein was known to be an enemy of Islamist terrorists. There was no good reason to come to the conclusion, as Blair claims to have, that there was a danger of the Iraqi dictator conspiring with Osama bin Laden to hit Western targets.
The argument that “the calculus of risk on global security had radically and fundamentally changed” is simply unsupported assertion. And Blair’s claim that Saddam’s defiance of the community “was bound to be a concern” is palpable nonsense. There is no good reason why the spotlight of concern should have fallen on Iraq in 2002/03, rather than any of the world’s other armed dictatorships.
"Too late," shouted Rose Gentle, the mother of Gordon Gentle, a Scottish soldier who lost his life during the conflict.