Nov. 6 (UPI) — Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the United States lied to the British government about their knowledge of former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction in 2003.
In his memoir, My Life, Our Times, to be published this week, Brown said the U.S. government was in a “rush to war” in March 2003 and accused them of not sharing a secret intelligence report about Iraq’s weaponry that might have changed British leaders’ decision to join the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that year.
“If I am right that somewhere within the American system the truth about Iraq’s lack of weapons was known, then we were not just misinformed but misled on the critical issue,” wrote Brown, who was Chancellor at the time, according to the BBC.
To back up his claim, Brown points to a 2002 U.S. Defense Department report commissioned by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld leaked last year, reported the Guardian, that made clear “the existence of WMDs was weak, even negligible and in key areas nonexistent.”
“It is astonishing that none of us in the British government ever saw this American report,” Brown wrote. “It conceded that U.S. knowledge of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program was based largely — perhaps 90 percent of it — on analysis of imprecise intelligence. These assessments, the report said, relied ‘heavily on analytic assumptions and judgment rather than hard evidence. The evidentiary base is particularly sparse for Iraqi nuclear programs.'”
Brown’s claims come more than a year after the release of the British government’s Chilcot Report, which analyzed the foreign policy decisions leading up to and after the Iraq invasion. The report found Britain’s decision to join the U.S.-led invasion was unnecessary because Iraq posed no immediate threat to Britain at that time.
At least 179 British troops died in Iraq between 2003 and 2009.