Dutch governmental lies on the Iraq war

In this cartoon, Balkenende asks Bush, Are you going to tell me another fairytale, Uncle George?

From Radio Netherlands Worldwide:

12 January 2010 – 10:02am

Did Dutch PM Jan Peter Balkenende misinform parliament about the Iraq war? That is the unspoken question hovering over the Davids Committee inquiry whose report was published on Tuesday. The independent committee was asked by the PM to investigate the political process which resulted in the Netherlands’ joining George W. Bush’s “coalition of the willing”. …

The Netherlands lent explicit “political support” to the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003, while rejecting any form of military involvement. Mr Balkenende, who was caretaker prime minister at the time, argued that Saddam Hussein had consistently flouted UN resolutions and possessed weapons of mass destruction. The prime minister later said he had based his decision to join the war on a letter by his British counterpart Tony Blair, “for his eyes only”. Mr Blair‘s letter apparently convinced Mr Balkenende that Saddam Hussein was able to hit Europe with weapons of mass destruction at short notice.

The Davids committee was not allowed to publish the contents of the letter in its report.

No UN mandate

The committee confirmed that there was no UN mandate for the attack, putting the decision to join at odds with international law. But it is hard to say whether other – for example military – considerations outweighed the lack of international support, Mr Davids said. Clearly, Dutch loyalty to the Atlantic alliance was paramount, according to the investigator.

The “Atlantic alliance” is usually used as a synonym for NATO. However, Bush’s Iraq war was not a NATO war, as major NATO countries like France and Germany disagreed.

Parliament objected to the invasion plans, pointing out that an attack on Iraq was not covered by a UN mandate, but the government went ahead and joined the coalition. Rumours about military involvement by Dutch special forces in the war persisted, however. They were fuelled initially by the appearance of colonel Jan Blom at a press conference by US General Tommy Franks, three days into the war. Colonel Blom was a Dutch liaison officer with US Central Command. …

Nuances ignored

For a long time it remained unclear to what extent the Dutch government based its decision to go to war solely on information provided by its allies. Leaked documents suggested that Dutch intelligence services supplied the cabinet with more information which partially contradicted or cast a different light on data supplied by the US and the UK. The lower house was not informed by the cabinet about this more nuanced information. The AIVD and MIVD intelligence services had little or no information about Saddam’s armoury, the Davids report says.

Classified government documents published by the Dutch press last month revealed that officials of the Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs had warned the government of the day that the legal justification for the invasion was very slim indeed. This view was shared by many international law experts.

Cabinet at risk

Tuesday’s presentation of the findings of the Davids Committee, tasked with investigating how the Dutch government of the day arrived at its decision to support the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, could determine the future of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. And the future of his government, too. His major coalition partner, Labour, was opposed to the Iraq war, but suspended its objections on condition that Dutch involvement would be limited to non-military assistance.

So far, there have been 15 debates on the issue but Mr Balkenende managed to block every attempt to hold an official enquiry. Until early in 2009, that is, when he had to give in and asked retired president Willibrord Davids of the Supreme Court to head an independent committee.

It is now up to parliament to decide whether the PM misled parliament, and whether the 350-page report will be followed up by a formal parliamentary inquiry.

Iraq invasion violated international law, Dutch inquiry finds: here.

Britain: ALASTAIR Campbell yesterday defended ‘every single word’ of the notorious ‘sexed up’ dodgy dossier of September 2002, that was used by a desperate Blair government to try and gain support for attacking Iraq: here. And here.

15 thoughts on “Dutch governmental lies on the Iraq war

  1. http://www.postchronicle.com/news/original/article_212278471.shtml?ref=rss

    Published: Jan 13, 2010

    Pundits Attack: U.S. Troops Serving Too Long In Middle East

    by Staff

    U.S. soldiers since 2001 have served in combat longer than almost any of their counterparts throughout American history, military experts say.

    Stephen Maxner, a military historian and director of the Vietnam Center and Archive in Lubbock, Texas, told Wednesday’s USA Today that the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have quietly become the longest military engagements in the nation’s history, and with 30,000 fresh troops being sent to Afghanistan, the record streak is being extended.

    “Undoubtedly this is unprecedented,” Maxner told the newspaper, noting that while a few soldiers volunteered for multiple tours in Vietnam — up until now the longest conflict in U.S. history — vast majority of them served single, year-long deployments.

    But in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly 13,000 soldiers now have spent three to four cumulative years at war, Army records indicate.

    USA Today cited Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. George Casey, the Army chief of staff, as acknowledging the increasing stress on the military. The newspaper noted that suicides are at record levels while divorces rate among enlisted soldiers has risen steadily during the war years.

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    Map of Afghanistan: Security declines in Afghanistan is euphimism for defeat Taliban Spring Offensive maps:-Barbarians at the Gate: Carving out the road to Kabul The Battle of Maiwand was one of the most serious defeats ever sustained by the… Read More »

    What Does it Mean to Remember? by Burnt Orange Report

    Way back in the past – last month to be exact – Republican Congressman Randy Neugebauer couldn’t fall over himself enough talking up the military: Memorial Day serves as a day of remembrance for these fallen soldiers. These heroes served the nation…


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