Saturday 16 November 2019

MPs shocked by Iraq report conclusions

MPs from across the political spectrum have given shocked initial reactions to Tuesday’s report criticising the way the Netherlands decided to give political support to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In particular, MPs say they are concerned at the way parliament was not told the whole truth about the decision making process, the Volkskrant reports.
Labour MPs described the report as ‘strong and disturbing’. In particular, the report’s conclusions that secret service information on Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction was used selectively and that there was not an ‘adequate’ mandate for military action are disturbing, they said.
‘A number of things have obviously gone seriously wrong,’ MP Klaas de Vries said. De Vries had campaigned hard in parliament for a proper inquiry into events in the run up to the war. Labour was not part of government at the time.
The ruling Christian Democratic party said the report showed that lessons had to be learned. But the party welcomed the report’s conclusion that the then foreign minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer did not owe his Nato job to the Dutch support for the US, as widely suggested.
The Liberal party (VVD), which formed a government with the CDA at the time, said the conclusions were ‘extremely tough’. ‘The most important question is how prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende reacts,’ said party leader Mark Rutte.
Femke Halsema, leader of the left wing green party Groenlinks, said the conclusions are ‘shocking’. Groenlinks has also been a strong supporter of a full parliamentary inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the Iraq war.

For the conclusions in English, click here

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