May 12, 2021

Tony Blair, WMD and the Iraq war

Tony Blair is again at risk of a criminal prosecution. Blair took Britain into the invasion of Iraq in 2003. His case for war depended on two or three reasons none of which were convincing.

One of them was the false pretext that Saddam Hussein’s regime had weapons of mass destruction or WMD.

WMD would better be called ABC weapons. They can be classified more or less into atomic/nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

When Blair made his case, weapon inspectors had extensively researched and reported. It became public knowledge that, with high probability, Iraq had

  • No nuclear weapons,
  • No chemical weapons,
  • Dismantled most of its biological weapons. A part of them (possibly 20%) have been unaccounted for.

The entire dispute hinged on the unaccounted biological weapons and if they represented an imminent threat.

The analysis, discussion and arguments now and then would have been much clearer if instead of

Weapons of mass destruction

everyone would have said or written

The 20% of unaccounted biological weapons.

This would make any reading of documents and justifications much less ambiguous. It would also put into perspective the decision to go to war and its legal implications.