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Revealed: Jack Straw’s Secret Warning to Tony Blair on Iraq
Revealed: Jack Straw’s secret warning to Tony Blair on Iraq
By Michael Smith | Times Online
Straw said Iraq posed no greater threat to the UK than it had done previously. The letter said there was “no credible evidence” linking Iraq to Al-Qaeda and that the “threat from Iraq has not worsened as a result of 11 September”.
Implying Blair was already seeking an excuse for war, it warned of two legal “elephant traps”. It states “regime change per se is no justification for military action” and “the weight of legal advice here is that a fresh [UN] mandate may well be required”.
A “SECRET and personal” letter from Jack Straw, the then foreign secretary, to Tony Blair reveals damning doubts at the heart of government about Blair’s plans for Iraq a year before war started.
The letter, a copy of which is published for the first time today, warned the prime minister that the case for military action in Iraq was of dubious legality and would be no guarantee of a better future for Iraq even if Saddam Hussein were removed.
It was sent 10 days before Blair met George Bush, then the US president, in Crawford, Texas, in April 2002. The document clearly implies that Blair was already planning for military action even though he continued to insist to the British public for almost another year that no decision had been made.
The letter will be a key piece of evidence at the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war when it questions Straw this week. Read more.
Almost a quarter of voters (23%) believe Tony Blair deliberately misled MPs over the Iraq war and should face war crimes charges, an opinion poll has found.
Most people also think the former PM, who is due to give evidence to the official inquiry into the war within weeks, knew Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction.
The YouGov survey for the Sunday Times found less than a third (32%) accepted that Mr Blair "genuinely believed in the threat" which he used to publicly justify sending UK troops, while 52% thought he had "deliberately misled" the country. Read more.