The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Straw says he could have stopped UK joining US invasion of Iraq

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Jan 21, IRNA -- Former foreign secretary Jack Straw says he could have stopped Britain joining the US invasion of Iraq if he had refused to back the decision by former prime minister Tony Blair to go to war.

In a lengthy submission to the Iraq Inquiry, Straw described his decision to back military action in March 2003 as ''the most difficult I have ever faced in my life''.

“The moral as well as the political dilemma were profoundly difficult. I was also fully aware that my support for military action was critical,” he said in a 25-page memo.

“If I had refused that, the UK’s participation in the military action would not in practice have been possible. There almost certainly would have been no majority in either the Cabinet or (house of) Commons," his memo said.

The submission was made ahead of the former foreign secretary being questioned at the inquiry in London Thursday, when he often hesitated in disclosing different views with Blair and suggested at one stage it would have been better to have gone into closed session.

He acknowledged that the failure to find weapons of mass destruction - the justification for the invasion - had "undermined trust" but insisted that the decision to go to war was taken on the basis of the best available evidence.

"I made my choice. I have never backed away from it, and I do not intend to do so, and fully accept the responsibilities which flow from that," Straw said.

"I believed at the time, and still believe, that we made the best judgments we could have done in the circumstances. We did so assiduously, and on the best evidence we had available at the time."

The former foreign secretary said he shared with Blair the view that the best approach was to “stay close to the US and “seek to persuade them that any action against Iraq had to be through the United Nations."

The dilemma he faced was that the US was determined to pursue its policy of regime change in Iraq, despite it being illegal under international law.

Britain failed to obtained a clear UN resolution authorising military action but unlike its European allies, still proceeded to join the US invasion.


End News / IRNA / News Code 911664

Join the mailing list