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Anorak | Butler’s Dunnit

Butler’s Dunnit

by | 14th, July 2004

‘BRACE yourself for a flurry of “What Butler Saw” headlines as Lord Butler of Brockwell today publishes his report into intelligence failures in the build-up to the Iraq war.

‘Get Butler – and get me out of here’

There may even be a few “I’ll Get You, Butler” headline-grabbing exclamations from the people who come off worse.

Like John Scarlett, chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, who appears on the Independent’s cover under the message, “Scarlett Must Go, Say MPs”.

Only, where will he go?

When Americans go, they go away – George Tenet, director of the CIA, resigned his post over failures in his department.

When the British go, they go onto better things – Scarlett has gone up the food chain and will take up his post as head of MI6 on August 1.

This is strange and unusual punishment for a man who accepted “ownership” of the Government’s now infamous dossier on Iraq’s armaments, which included the terrifying fact that we could all be dead in 45 minutes – a claim no more real than Jordan’s breasts.

That such hyperbole at best and lies at worst was located in a document signed off by the Government might be seen to spell disaster for Tony Blair.

But, as the Times says, the Prime Minister and his Government are likely to come in for some trenchant, but “not lethal”, criticism.

The report will criticise meetings that took place in his private office between Blair, his staff and intelligence operatives when no official minutes were taken.

And that’s just about as bad as things get for Tony, who, the Times reports, is delighted to have learnt that the report contains no “silver bullet”.

Indeed, to the man and woman in the street listening out for the scream of approaching WMDs, the report seems to contain very little substance of much interest at all.

Although it’s all described within Whitehall as being “tough and embarrassing”, the fact is that Blair and his regime will be cleared of lying about those fearsome WMDs and of taking the country into an illegal war.

So that’s that. The Butler Review makes some recommendations, is critical of certain practices and an unelected spook, but does not bring down the Government.

Butler and his team – who met in secret and, as the Times says in a page topped by the headline, “Butler: Stooge Or Exterminator?”, reported directly to the, er, Government – have completed their mission.

And just as soon as Iraq is made stable and the oil is pumping freely, Tony and his coterie will have completed theirs…’



Posted: 14th, July 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink