Socialist Worker

Reg Keys — ‘My son died, but Iraq is not a better place’

Issue No. 1957

Iraq has been devastated, not liberated	 (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Iraq has been devastated, not liberated (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Reg Keys, whose son Tom was killed in Iraq, travelled to Washington last week to give evidence to a committee of Democratic congressman examining the lies that led to the war.

Here is an edited version of the testimony he gave over the issue of the “Downing Street Minutes”, which show the decision for war was taken many months before George Bush and Tony Blair claim:

Prime Minister Tony Blair and president George Bush have both acted dishonourably and brought the integrity of our proud nations into disrepute, taking us to war on a falsehood.

They have both knowingly misled parliament and congress and, worst of all, our brave troops who have put their lives at risk, many returning home in coffins, the result of this unnecessary war with Iraq.

We have been thrown into conflicts on the basis of fabricated intelligence reports over Iraq’s WMD capability.

The Downing Street Minutes are an explosive dossier of deceit. The leaked, classified memo in the Sunday Times on 1 May 2005 confirms that the US president was committed to war as early as June 2002.

Other manipulative intelligence data to justify the war is as follows:

  • Vice-president Dick Cheney: “The regime possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons, we also believe nuclear weapons.”
  • 24 September 2002, Tony Blair: “Evidence gathered over four years was extensive, detailed, and authoritative. Weapons could be deployed against British interests within 45 minutes. The programme being active, detailed, and growing, up and running now.”
  • February 2003, Tony Blair: “Saddam Hussein could stay in power if he agreed to hand over his weapons of mass destruction.”

How could he hand these weapons over? He hadn’t got them and was willing to comply with weapons inspectors.

Our foreign secretary Robin Cook, and MP Clare Short have already resigned over these issues. Weapons inspectors Hans Blix and David Kay, and also CIA director George Tenet, have also left their posts over the Iraq controversy.

If weapons of mass destruction had been found, I would have grieved for my soldier son, cruelly beaten and slain at the hands of an Iraqi mob and not have travelled here today. But they have not been found.

The resounding clear remit for this war was WMD, not for regime change or to impose democracy.

Look at the history books, Mr Bush and Mr Blair, democracy cannot be imposed with the bomb and the bullet.

US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld has agreed Iraq is now as dangerous as at any time during the war. We now have Iraq heading into civil war with Iraqi killing Iraqi.

Where then, Mr Bush, Mr Blair, will you try to impose your democracy next? Syria? Iran? North Korea? Cuba? Burma? Zimbabwe?

The list goes on and on. How many more wars do you intend for our nations to fight in?

I search my heart and soul daily to find some justification for my dear Tom’s death, a beautiful 20 year old soldier son.

I would dearly love to say Iraq is a better place for his death. But if I am brutally honest with myself and face hard, cold facts, I cannot truthfully say Iraq is a better place.

I now see Iraq totally destabilised, a fermenting ground, breeding terrorism, its borders wide open to all terrorists, as it spirals into civil war struggling with a power vacuum.

This is a war of option, not necessity, occupation being the problem, not the solution. But lessons can be learned. Let us now do the right thing. Bring our brave troops home safely to their loving families with honour and dignity.

For the full transcript as well as news from Military Families Against the War go to

Reg will be speaking at protests against the G8 in Scotland from 2 to 6 July

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Sat 25 Jun 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1957
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