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Monday, April 15, 2024

US envoy admits Iraq invasion was based on lie

The 2003 war was not a crime because President George W. Bush was never charged, John Kerry has insisted

The US-led invasion of Iraq was completely different to the current Ukraine conflict, Washington’s special envoy for climate change John Kerry has told French TV channel LCI.

He appeared on LCI’s Sunday evening show hosted by Darius Rochebin, who had previously interviewed him for a Swiss outlet in 2017. Rochebin tweeted a video segment of the interview, in which he confronted Kerry about the West accusing Russia of aggression regarding Ukraine. The French journalist noted that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was an actual war of aggression, based on the lie that Baghdad secretly possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Read more: Discontent in Iraq 20 years after US-led invasion

“No,” Kerry replied. “Because there’s never even been, you know, a process of direct accusation of President [George W.] Bush himself.” 

He added that there had been “abuses” in the course of that conflict and that he “spoke out against them.” When Rochebin asked him directly whether the Iraq War had been a crime of aggression, Kerry repeatedly denied it.

“No, No, No. Well, you didn’t know it was a lie at the time. The evidence that was produced, people didn’t know that it was a lie,” the former diplomat said, before telling Rochebin that he doesn’t intend to “re-debate the Iraq War” at this point.

Kerry also claimed he was opposed to the war at the time and thought it was the wrong thing to do. He actually voted in the Senate to authorize the invasion, however. When Rochebin pushed him on the apparent double standard, Kerry began speaking about “climate justice.”

Read more: US lawmakers officially end Iraq wars

The Bush administration accused Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of having chemical and biological weapons, as well as being somehow involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. The ‘evidence’ for WMDs offered to the media and the UN Security Council turned out to be entirely fabricated, and no such weapons were ever found. Likewise, no connection between Baghdad and Al-Qaeda was ever established.

The 2003 invasion and the subsequent occupation of Iraq was carried out without UN approval, by what Bush called a ‘coalition of the willing’. The US, the UK, Australia and Poland provided troops for the attack, though Washington later claimed 44 more countries had offered some kind of support.

Kerry ran against Bush in 2004 but lost. He later served as secretary of state in the Barack Obama administration, and was appointed climate change ambassador by the current president, Joe Biden, in 2021.