British parliament starts inquiry into use of intelligence on Iraqi weapons
A former senior Cabinet minister accused the British government on Tuesday of making selective use of intelligence information to justify its decision to go to war with Iraq.
Speaking at the start of a parliamentary inquiry into the use of intelligence on Iraq's weapons, former Foreign Minister, Robin Cook said he feared Prime Minister Tony Blair's government had used intelligence about Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs "to justify a policy on which we had already settled."
Cook, who quit the Cabinet in March to protest the government's pro-war stance, was the first witness to appear before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee's inquiry into how intelligence was used in the months before the war on Iraq, AP reported.
Cook said intelligence information was a bit like "alphabet soup." "I fear on this occasion what happened is that those bits of the alphabet that supported the case were selected," he said.
"I fear the fundamental problem is that instead of using intelligence as evidence on which to base a decision about policy, we used intelligence as the basis on which to justify a policy on which we had already settled."
Cook said he believed Saddam "did not have an immediate threat capability" in the run-up to the war, and he doubted whether investigators would find evidence of substantial chemical and biological arms programs in Iraq.
"Such weapons require substantial industrial plant and a large work force. It is inconceivable that both could have been kept concealed for the two months we have been in occupation of Iraq," Cook said. (Albawaba.com)
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