Last night three more British soldiers died in Iraq.
There are people who can talk with chilling detachment about the deaths of other people. There are even people who can talk this way about the deaths of other people, while they are actively planning to cause those deaths. Peter Ricketts is one such person.
Is he a criminal in a secure unit at Broadmoor? No, he is Sir Peter Ricketts, KCMG, Permanent Under Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I just watched him standing alongside David Milliband, as our new Foreign Secretary gave his little homily on taking office.
Ricketts, then Political Director of the FCO, was a major player in the concoction of the lies about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction. Ricketts’ minute to Jack Straw of 22 March 2002 is damning.
Ricketts defines the problem with public opinion:
we have to be convincing that:
– the threat is so serious imminent that it is worth sending our troops to die for;
There is only one possible interpretation of Ricketts letter. He is well aware that the threat is not really that imminent at all.
But even the best survey of Iraq’s WMD programmes will not show much advance in recent years on the nuclear, missile or CW/BW fronts…
Nonetheless we must work on
bringing public opinion to accept the imminence of a threat from Iraq
Otherwise the public might get uppity about dead British soldiers. Seeing Ricketts standing next to Milliband reminded me how facile Brown’s spin of “Change” really is. Until we get rid of the people who led us into illegal war on the basis of lies, from not just the Cabinet but the Civil Service, there will be no real change.
For more of those memos between the guilty parties, go to