Anorak News | Ifs And Buts

Ifs And Buts

by | 4th, February 2004

‘PRESIDENT Bush has an election coming up this November, which is why the American inquiry into the accuracy of the intelligence about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction is not expected to report until next year.

‘I’d like to phone a friend. He’s called Tony’

Tony Blair, on the other hand, wants to hold an election next year, which is why the British inquiry into the accuracy of the intelligence about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction has been told to report by the summer.

One war, two inquiries, two different timetables.

And just in case anyone was under any illusion that yesterday’s announcement of what the Times says is the fourth, and probably last, inquiry into the war was not politically motivated, then Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy was quick to dispel that notion by refusing to take part.

‘An inquiry which excludes politicians from scrutiny is unlikely to command public confidence,’ he said. ‘Politicians should always be willing to answer for their judgement and their competence to the public.’

The Guardian is equally unimpressed by the narrow remit of what will soon be known as the Butler inquiry.

‘The better and braver course for the Government,’ it suggests, ‘would have been to swallow its pride and to remit the whole lead-up to the war to Lord Butler and his team.’

And that way Charlie Kennedy would not have thrown his teddy out of the pram and could have got to play politics with the big boys for once.

Meanwhile, the Independent is holding an inquiry of its own and it appears from this morning’s front page that the Government are guilty on all counts.

It takes evidence from Brian Jones, the former leading expert on WMD in the MoD, who claims that not a single defence expert backed Blair’s most contentious claims on Iraqi weapons.

And he says it would be a travesty if the DIS (Defence Intelligence Staff), for whom he worked, were criticised over the affair.

Dr Jones at least had the wit to put his reservations about some of the wording of the September 2002 dossier on record at the time.

But others, like US Secretary Of State Colin Powell, are busy covering their back after the event.

The Telegraph reports that Powell has suggested that he might not have backed the war had he been told there were no stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons in Iraq.

Hindsight, however, is a wonderful thing. Had Hitler known of his eventual defeat, he might not have invaded Poland. Had JFK known what he was getting his country into, he would almost certainly not have sent military advisers to Vietnam.

And if Colin Powell’s aunt had balls, she’d be his uncle.’

Posted: 4th, February 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink