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29 September 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 5:41am

Iraq/Iran WMD myths, part 67

John Lloyd uses the “Iranian threat” to criticise Ed Miliband’s position on Iraq.

By Mehdi Hasan

The former New Statesman journalist and “liberal interventionist” John Lloyd has a rather silly blog post up on the Prospect site entitled:

Ed Miliband’s alarming attitude on Iraq

He says Miliband’s declaration yesterday that the invasion of Iraq was “wrong” implies that the Labour leader does “not believe Saddam Hussein’s regime posed a real threat to the world”. Memo to John: it wasn’t. He had no WMDs. He wasn’t even a threat to his neighbours. The best — the very best! — that Tony Blair could come up with in the Iraq chapter of A Journey is that Saddam might have, one day, in the distant future, if all sanctions were lifted, and if all UN weapons inspectors pulled out, reconstituted WMD programmes (not WMDs).

Lloyd goes on to write:

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Anyone in serious politics who now wishes to oppose, in retrospect, the Labour government’s decision on Iraq, must give his party an account of how he sees a world in which one of the gravest strategic threats is the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

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Really? Did Obama? I’m always amused at how liberal and conservative hawks in Britain, who condemn those of who opposed the Iraq war and continue to denounce it, have so little to say about Barack Obama’s opposition to, and denunciation of, the war (which, of course, helped him get elected too!).

Lloyd concludes:

A leader’s maiden speech is not the place . . . to dismiss one of the central controversies of the past decade with a few glib phrases.

Hmm. Then how to explain Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, in August 2008, in which he accepted his party’s nomination for president and said:

For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face . . . You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq.

Why pick on Ed M while giving Barack O a free pass?

But the real reason for this post is that I couldn’t let Lloyd’s claims vis-à-vis Iran go unchallenged. He writes:

Iran has taken the lead in threatening the region and the west with WMD, which it continues to attempt to acquire and make operational.

I have three responses to this nonsensical and disingenuous sentence:

1) “Threatening the region” with “WMDs”? Not even the most hawkish Israeli general or American spook has claimed that Iran possesses weapons of mass destruction.

2) He then claims that Iran “continues to attempt to acquire make operational” WMDs. Where’s the evidence? The IAEA disagrees, as does the US intelligence community.

3) How can a “serious” journalist talk about the threat of WMDs in the “region” without making even a passing reference to the only country in the Middle East which actually has nukes — that is to say, the state of Israel? Ridiculous.