Manningham Buller, Chilcot and reasons for the war against Iraq

The Chilcot Inquiry rumbles on and almost lost in the news was the rather important evidence given by the former head of MI5, Ms Manningham-Buller on 20th July. She said that going to war in Iraq increased the terror threat in the United Kingdom, she had to ask for her budget to be doubled to meet the increased terror threat, the war had “radicalised” young Muslims and opened the door for Osama Bin Laden to operate in Iraq. All this was made known to Mr Blair at the time and it actually should not come as a surprise to anyone.I am not ennobled, like Ms Manningham Buller, nor am I exceptionally wise. I have no access to intelligence information. However, everything that Ms Manningham-Buller said to the enquiry on the effects of going to war in Iraq was apparent to me and hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of my fellow citizens at the time.

Ms Manningham-Buller has to explain why she did not make her views known at the time. I suspect she would have found it unacceptable to write a letter to the Times or to go on Newsnight to explain her views because she was head of MI5 and had been so steeped in the security services culture of secrecy that that culture over rode the need to prevent the United Kingdom participating in an illegal war.

She could have made her views know to a Privy Councillor, and possibly the leader of the Opposition at that time who was Mr Duncan Smith. Had she done so, it might well have exposed the dangers of going to war and encouraged Mr Blair to think more deeply before embroiling our country in this dangerous and costly crime. Parliment would have probably rejected the call to arms.

It is one thing for people like me to say these thinsg however my voice and the voice of millions of ordinary people are smothered by the political caste, who always claim they know best. If the then chief of MI5 had spoken out in 2003 people would have listened to her and then things might have changed; her own career may have been ruined, the ruling Labour Party would have mainly held her in odium, but thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of lives would have been saved, including possibly those lives lost in London on the 7th July.

Did Ms Manningham-Buller do her duty? I do not think she did her duty by the nation. That it to whom she owes a duty not transient politicians and governments.

Meanwhile Mr Bair has lost any credibility about Iraq that he may have previously had. I do not expect the Chilcot Inquiry to criticise Mr Blair severely; Mr Chilcot is a civil servant and one of the chaps. He will I am sure try to refrain from saying that Mr Blair lied to the nation about the justification for going to war, although it is now apparent that Mr Blair did lie.

Back in 2003 when the BBC ran the story that the WMD dossier had been “sexed up” it was I think Alistair Campbell who claimed that alleging that a Prime Minister had taken the nation to war on a lie was the most serious allegation that one could make. As a result heads rolled at the BBC, several inquiries were held which leads us to the present Chilcot inquiry being chaired by a man without forensic experience but whose whole career has been advising the government and doing their bidding.

The proper forum for determining the true reasons we went to war is a trial, not an inquiry. It would put Mr Blair in the dock, together with his ministers and propagandists and the more we learn from official sources the more that the dock looks a suitable repository for him.

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