Australian investigative journalist John Pilger says he has evidence the war against Iraq was based on a lie that could cost George W. Bush and Tony Blair their jobs and bring Prime Minister John Howard down with them.
A television report by Pilger aired on British screens overnight said US Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice confirmed in early 2001 that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had been disarmed and was no threat.
But after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11 that year, Pilger claimed Rice said the US "must move to take advantage of these new opportunities" to attack Iraq and claim control of its oil.
Pilger uncovered video footage of Powell in Cairo on February 24, 2001 saying, "He (Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours."
Two months later, Rice reportedly said, "We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt."
Powell boasted this was because America's policy of containment and its sanctions had effectively disarmed Saddam.
Pilger claims this confirms that the decision of US President George W Bush - with the full support of British Prime Minister Blair and Howard - to wage war on Saddam because he had weapons of mass destruction was a huge deception.