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From a pre-war speech by Robin Cook:

Ironically, it is only because Iraq’s military forces are so weak that we can even contemplate its invasion. Some advocates of conflict claim that Saddam’s forces are so weak, so demoralised and so badly equipped that the war will be over in a few days.

We cannot base our military strategy on the assumption that Saddam is weak and at the same time justify pre-emptive action on the claim that he is a threat.

Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood sense of the term – namely a credible device capable of being delivered against a strategic city target.

It probably still has biological toxins and battlefield chemical munitions, but it has had them since the 1980s when US companies sold Saddam anthrax agents and the then British Government approved chemical and munitions factories.

Why is it now so urgent that we should take military action to disarm a military capacity that has been there for 20 years, and which we helped to create?

Why is it necessary to resort to war this week, while Saddam’s ambition to complete his weapons programme is blocked by the presence of UN inspectors?

Boy, I thought his reasoning looked good then. It looks incredible now.

The US announced a new arms inspection team to replace the team which is now departing. Condoleeza Rice has explained that this was a planned rotation, which is why they’re only announcing it after we heard that the old team was leaving. She’s also asserted that we never expected to find the WMD easily, which continues to puzzle me, given that we were told that many Republican Guard units were issued chemical weapons.

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