The Hague: An independent Dutch commission reported Tuesday the Dutch military had no role in the invasion of Iraq, but said the government gave priority to political rather than legal considerations in supporting President George W. Bush's decision to attack.
The 551-page report said UN resolutions in the 1990s, prior to the outbreak of war in 2003, "did not give a mandate" to the United States and Britain to invade Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
The report's conclusion that the invasion had no legal basis could be damaging to the government of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. But it quashed persistent rumors that the Dutch were militarily involved in the operation.
The long-awaited report effectively accused the government of spicing up allegations that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, saying Dutch intelligence agencies were "more reserved" in their assessments than the government when discussing the program in Parliament.
Balkenende gave no immediate response to the findings by the commission chaired by Willibrord Davids, the former head of the Dutch Supreme Court. The prime minister said he would study its contents and 49 conclusions.
"I am glad we have the report after all the months of work," Balkenende said.
First Published: Tuesday, January 12, 2010, 16:16