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Robin Cook’s Crystal Ball

“You’d have been hard pushed to find anyone who didn’t think he (Saddam) had WMD.” – Tony Blair at the Chilcot enquiry.

The following passage is from Robin Cook’s resignation speech on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. Inexplicably the speech contains a paragraph expressing support for Blair. One can only assume that some extreme misguided personal loyalty to his colleagues on the Labour benches elicited such a eulogy. Taking the rest of the speech into consideration it is difficult to see how Cook could have had anything other than contempt for Blair.

“Ironically, it is only because Iraq’s military forces are so weak that we can even contemplate its invasion. Some advocates of conflict claim that Saddam’s forces are so weak, so demoralised and so badly equipped that the war will be over in a few days.

We cannot base our military strategy on the assumption that Saddam is weak and at the same time justify pre-emptive action on the claim that he is a threat.

Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood sense of the term – namely a credible device capable of being delivered against a strategic city target.

It probably still has biological toxins and battlefield chemical munitions, but it has had them since the 1980s when US companies sold Saddam anthrax agents and the then British Government approved chemical and munitions factories.

Why is it now so urgent that we should take military action to disarm a military capacity that has been there for 20 years, and which we helped to create?

Why is it necessary to resort to war this week, while Saddam’s ambition to complete his weapons programme is blocked by the presence of UN inspectors?”

Another prominent person in the know also rubbished claims that Iraq had WMD. Doctor David Kelly was found dead in mysterious circumstances in a wood days after being questioned by a parliamentary committee about what he had said during an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Gilligan.

The Hutton Inquiry into the events surrounding Dr Kelly’s death, ruled that he had committed suicide and hadn’t in fact said some of the things attributed to him in the Gilligan interview. Into the bargain, Hutton ordered that the details on the post mortem of Doctor Kelly be kept secret for seventy years. This prompted the Independent newspaper to publish its famous “whitewash” front page.

Robin Cook also died suddenly in a remote location and you’ll find plenty in the rather more conspiratorial corners of the internet to say that he was murdered by MI6.

I don’t know about that.

I do know one thing, Cook was right in almost every respect in his resignation speech, except in his misguided compliments to Blair.

Blair was probably the most mendacious scheming bastard of a Prime Minister in my lifetime.

And yes, she’s included in the calculation.