Memorandum submitted by Edward Hibbert
I write as a member of the public deeply concerned
by the decision to initiate military action against Iraq at the
time it was taken.
I am of the view that action might have been
necessary at some point, but the only reason for it to occur when
it did was the presence of an immediate and compelling threat.
This was the stated justification. Without this, the lack of adequate
humanitarian preparations for the possible consequences of actionfor
example, I believe DFID had an additional budget of £3.5
million for Iraq at that timewas deeply irresponsible.
Arguments that the worst predicted humanitarian
disasters did not materialise are analogous to arguments that
the money spent on house insurance is wasted because your house
has not burnt down.
The key question, then, is whether there was
such a threat. The failure to find any significant weapons of
mass destruction creates a very strong presumption that there
was not. The intelligence material at the Government's disposal
is central to this issueit appears to either have been
significantly wrong, or to have been mis-represented. The controversy
concerning the accuracy of material which was published (such
as the attempts to obtain nuclear materials) suggest the former.
At the time, it was argued that intelligence
could not be published in full for fear of reprisals against intelligence
sources. With the change of regime in Iraq this argument no longer
applies. I would strongly urge you to push for full publication
of the intelligence on which the decision to go to war was taken.
On a separate point, again as a member of the
public, I think your inquiry needs to interview the Prime Minister.
I appreciate this may be difficult to achieve within your remit.
But in the end, it was his decision, based on the information
he had seen, and on his judgement. Without understanding those
factors, your inquiry may be seen by many to be dealing only with
the peripherary of the matter.
None of the above is particularly novel. But
it is important. I wish you the best of luck with your enquiry.