Article published in the Sunday Express, 23 August 2015. © Richard Kemp
JEREMY Corbyn thinks the betrayal of our Armed Forces is a price worth paying to persuade the Labour Party’s disaffected anti-war activists to support his leadership bid.
That is what his proposed apology for the British involvement in the Iraq war would amount to: a betrayal of the 197 British troops killed, the hundreds wounded and the thousands who bravely fought for their country in Iraq. He would not only be telling those troops and their families their sacrifice was for nothing but also their actions were illegal, immoral and dishonourable.
Of course the war remains deeply controversial but Mr Corbyn’s unsubstantiated, rabblerousing declaration that it was illegal does not make it so and Britain’s involvement was not, as he alleges, based on deception.
I was working for the Joint Intelligence Committee at the time of the invasion.
I was not directly involved in the decision making or in the production of the weapons of mass destruction dossier but was aware of the war planning at the top level.
There was an absolute belief among the political and military decision-makers, based on intelligence, that the Iraqi government possessed chemical weapons.
Saddam Hussein’s long-term sponsorship of international terrorism, his regime’s associations with Al Qaeda and his hatred of the West meant the risk that he might transfer chemical weapons to Islamist extremists or use them himself simply could not be taken.