The Butler Report has exposed flaws and failings in almost everything in the case for the invasion of Iraq.
Mr Blair claims full personal responsibility, and refuses to understand that he must resign. Butler describes it as a collective failure. He finds no one individually culpable. If it is a collective failure then those responsible should all resign. Yet not one offers to do the decent thing.
Gill and I have never felt more ashamed to be British. We squirmed as we watched Tony Blair skipping off to Downing Street with a huge grin on his face, for all the world like Peter Pan, in a fantasy world of his own creation.
It is your responsibility and mine to see that this Puer Aeternus is held to account as the adult War Criminal he is.
For once Michael Howard did his job well. With ruthless precision, he exposed the transition from insecurity to total certainty in the Government's description of the existence of Weapons of Mass destruction in Iraq.
"We all know he had them." as my MP wrote to me.
How? Because we sold them to him to attack the radical Islamic state next door. then he was the good guy, fighting for western cecular values against the theocratic muslims.
But the evidence that he still had them in 2003 was somewhere between patchy and non existent. Mr Straw added to his critical analysis of Blair's dossier-making on TV yesterday afternoon. He had been the first to describe the other one, which was nothing but a plagiarised student thesis, and 10 years out of date, as the "Dodgy" dossier. This time it was more a more or less Freudian slip. He called it the "dottier". Yet, in this Alice in Wonderland world we are now living in, Blair can announce, once again, that he has been judged and found innocent of any duplicity.
One of the most important things that emerged from Butler, which has not yet been picked up properly, is the Attorney General's judgement that war would only be legal if the evidence of WMD were incontrovertible. Blair just had to sex up that dossier. He had to hang onto his insistence on the existence of WMD long after everyone else had given up on it. Butler also exposed the source of the fantastic lie about "45 minutes to doom." It was the CIA/M16 stooge, we have now put in charge of Iraq. There is a nice pay back for lies and deceit. Butler is clear that this false claim should not have been in the dossier.
You and I must conclude on the evidence put before us by the Butler inquiry that the evidence for the existence of usable weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, as placed before the British Government by our security services, was totally insufficient to justify the assertions made by Blair.
The war was illegal, and Blair knew it.
That makes Blair a war criminal, responsible for the lives of at least 10,000 Iraqi civilians, and thousands of Iraqi and coalition troops. He should also be held to account for the lives that will be lost in coming generations of children as yet unborn who will die from the depleted uranium, truly ugly weapons of terrible destruction, which were used by our forces on a civilian population.
If we cannot find a way to bring Blair to trial in an International Court of Justice, then let us make it clear that we will never again elect a Government which is led by him. He must go, and go now.
Nick Owen 15 July 2004