Socialist Worker

Tony Benn speaks on the issues the Hutton inquiry avoids

Issue No. 1867

'The lie that led us to war is not really about the so called sexing up of the dossier. The prime minister’s lie was that he took us to war because he thought there were weapons of mass destruction. In truth he took us to war because President Bush told him to take us to war.'

'Long before Bush’s election the so called neo-conservatives in America wanted to destroy Saddam Hussein. They wanted the oil, and they wanted a new base in the Middle East because Saudi Arabia is no longer a reliable source of military occupation.

'I have no inside knowledge, but I know perfectly well what happened. Blair went to see Bush. Bush told him this is what he planned to do. And Blair said to him, ‘I cannot carry the British parliament and people unless it is about weapons that might threaten Britain and Cyprus where we have bases.’

'Bush said, ‘I need six months to bring the troops in, so you can get Blix and UN inspectors, and when I’m ready I’ll go to war.’ Blix was used by Bush and Blair, and then when Bush was ready Blair said, ‘Oh well, we’re under threat.’

'That was a very important lie. Its impact was to carry the British parliament and people after the war began.

'We were told a political victory had come—as if a victory by the world’s superpower over an impoverished country was any victory at all. Now we can see the consequences.

'There is no prospect of this occupation leading to a victory parade of Bush and Blair through the streets of Baghdad with cheering crowds.'

'Long before Bush's election the so called neo-conservatives in America wanted to destroy Saddam Hussein. They wanted the oil, and they wanted a new base in the Middle East because Saudi Arabia is no longer a reliable source of military occupation.

'I have no inside knowledge, but I know perfectly well what happened. Blair went to see Bush. Bush told him this is what he planned to do. And Blair said to him, 'I cannot carry the British parliament and people unless it is about weapons that might threaten Britain and Cyprus where we have bases.'

'Bush said, 'I need six months to bring the troops in, so you can get Blix and UN inspectors, and when I'm ready I'll go to war.' Blix was used by Bush and Blair, and then when Bush was ready Blair said, 'Oh well, we're under threat.'

'That was a very important lie. Its impact was to carry the British parliament and people after the war began.

'We were told a political victory had come-as if a victory by the world's superpower over an impoverished country was any victory at all. Now we can see the consequences.

'There is no prospect of this occupation leading to a victory parade of Bush and Blair through the streets of Baghdad with cheering crowds.'

Tony Benn made this speech at last weekend’s People’s Assembly.


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Article information

News
Sat 6 Sep 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1867
Share this article


Tags



Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.