The Iraq Inquiry: some helpful texts (with 27 Nov 09 up-date)

With the aim of assisting the Chilcot Inquiry with its preparations for questioning Tony Blair about how he led us into war with Iraq, I have put some key texts on my website — at

— in the hope that the questions arising from them won’t be overlooked.

I have also sent them to the Inquiry from its excellent website — where, incidentally, you can watch its proceedings, live, in streaming video (and watch a recording of the day’s proceedings after they have finished).

There are of course many other equally damning texts on the public record, but I think we can rely on the Inquiry’s secretariat to have assembled them for the Inquiry’s members already.

Update (27 November 2009): We are now getting some striking revelations in, especially, the oral evidence given to the Chilcot Inquiry yesterday by Sir Christopher Meyer and today by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, plus Greenstock’s written submission to the Inquiry, transcripts of all of which are now available on the Inquiry’s website (  Meyer was of course British ambassador in Washington and Greenstock UK ambassador to the UN at the critical times.  All this will repay careful reading and analysis.  Meanwhile ‘Lavengro in Spain’ corrects an extraordinary howler by the BBC in a post on his blog here, to which I have added some further preliminary comments relating to the Greenstock evidence.  Please also see J’s comment, below, on this post and my response to it.


1 Response

  1. J says:

    Excellent resources and I applaud you for being on the case, as your letter to the Independent illustrates, since square one. Thanks for putting these texts up. It all seems like a bad dream to me sometimes…

    Brian writes: Thank you very much for that. Out of possible interest, here’s another letter of mine, this time one that was published in The Times just a few days before the invasion of Iraq:,,59-599809,00.html
    The Times, March 05, 2003
    Impact of UN resolutions on any decision to go to war
    Sir, Tony Blair pledged on Breakfast With Frost on January 26 that he would take Britain to war in Iraq without UN authority only if a majority in the Security Council (ie, at least nine votes) favoured UN authority for war, but that majority was frustrated because someone “unreasonably exercises their veto” (a category of veto, incidentally, not known to the Charter or to international law).

    An inescapable corollary of this solemn and public pledge has been widely overlooked: namely that if the US and UK fail to muster nine votes for their resolution implicitly authorising war, or if the resolution is not in the end put to the vote, Britain will not take part in military action.

    We must assume that the Prime Minister will have warned President Bush of this possibility and that the Americans realise that in these perfectly possible circumstances they might have to decide whether to go it alone in launching a war without UN authority.

    The upside of this may be that it would provide both Washington and London with a respectable escape route that would avoid a humiliating climb-down: if there is no majority for their resolution, they could reluctantly accept the verdict of the international community, leaving their forces already deployed in the area but accepting the French and German counter-proposal that the inspectors should be given more time, with a phased timetable of deadlines and a continuing threat of force if the specific deadlines for compliance are not met.

    Yours sincerely,
    BRIAN BARDER (HM Diplomatic Service, 1965-94),
    10 Melrose Road, SW18 1NE.
    March 4.
    [Footnote, 25 November 2009 (not published): nb. None of the conditions laid down by Mr Blair for Britain taking part in armed action against Iraq was satisfied. But we went to war anyway.]

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