Britain’s former prime minister Gordon Brown has claimed that his predecessor Tony Blair was “duped” by US President George W Bush into backing the 2003 Iraq War, according to a media report on Sunday.
Brown, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer when the decision to go to war was made in 2003, said a top-secret US intelligence report was not shared with Britain. He said the US kept quiet about the secret intelligence report that showed there was “no evidence” that Iraq had access to weapons of mass destruction, the Mirror reported.
“Britain would not have invaded Iraq had we known about it,” he said. The report also undermined Britain’s so-called “dodgy dossier” that claimed that Iraq could launch a biological attack on the UK within 45 minutes, the paper reported.
“We were all misled on the existence of WMDs,” Brown writes in his new book, ‘My Life, Our Times’, which will be published on Tuesday. “Given Iraq had no usable chemical, biological or nuclear weapons that it could deploy and was not about to attack the coalition, then two tests of a just war were not met. War could not be justified as a last resort and invasion cannot now be seen as a proportionate response,” he writes.
Brown says he was assured by then MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove that Iraq had WMDs. “I was told they knew where the weapons were housed. I remember thinking it was almost as if they could give me the street name and number where they were,” he writes.
What neither Brown nor Blair knew was that the US Defence Department had its own report into WMDs commissioned by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and delivered to him in September 2002, the paper said. The document revealed 90 per cent of US-held information on Iraq’s WMDs was based on “imprecise intelligence” and relied on “judgment rather than hard evidence”.
Brown says he had no idea that decision-makers in America were already aware that the evidence for the existence of WMDs was weak, even negligible and in key areas non-existent. “It is astonishing that none of us in the British government ever saw this American report. As we were later to discover, the intelligence had not established beyond doubt either that Saddam had continued to produce chemical and biological weapons or that efforts to develop nuclear weapons continued,” he writes.
As chancellor, Brown says his only official role was to find funds for the war. The US-led multi-nation coalition forces toppled Saddam Hussain’s government in Iraq in 2003 invasion.