Anorak News | Death On The Tigris

Death On The Tigris

by | 15th, July 2004

‘IF Lord Butler were a thriller writer, those who have read his Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction would be demanding that he finish it.

‘It’s a no-one dunnit’

The protagonists in Butler’s homage to Agatha Christie are all represented in no little detail.

The scene is set with aplomb. The bombs are dropped and many are killed in gruesome fashion. But when it comes to finding out who whodunit, there’s nothing.

The result is, as the Guardian says, that although there was a litany of failure, no-one actually pulled the trigger. Everyone and no-one is to blame.

The Independent hands its front page over to the critics to summarise Butler’s work.

It reads: “The intelligence dossier: flawed; The dossier: dodgy; “The 45-minute claim: wrong; Dr Brian Jones: vindicated; Iraq’s links to al-Qa’ida: unproven; The public: misled; The case for war: exaggerated. And who was to blame? No-one.”

So why then is Tony Blair grinning like an estate agent who has just pulled off a successful gazump on the front page of the Telegraph?

Does he know something we do not? Surely, what with the deaths of British servicemen in Iraq and that land in turmoil, Blair should be not be seen to be quite so happy with his lot.

He did say in the Commons yesterday that he was “proud” to have overthrown Saddam’ Hussein’s “vile dictatorship”.

And he told how he had “searched his conscience” in the light of current developments – and written his own investigative Blair Report in which he was found to be utterly free of any blame, a nice family man and worthy of sainthood.

But perhaps today the smirk will not be quite so broad. The Butler report was, it seems, not about finding a single damning line on Blair and his regime but geared to be taken as a whole.

The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland concurs with his notion, and says that while the mandarin Lord Butler did not “thrust a dagger into the Prime Minister or anyone else”, he did present the press, politicians and the public with “an elegant, walnut-encased, velvet-lined box full of sharpened knives” with which to play at their leisure.

Another commentator, the Times’ Simon Jenkins, says that the report is “payback for seven years of humiliation, sofa government, initiativitis, cronyism and spin”.

Take the line that Blair “lessened the support of the mechanism of government for the collective responsibility of the Cabinet”.

This sounds very much like President Blair is getting his comeuppance.

Only no-one seems to have told Tony that he’s for it. And given the Butler Review’s fine print, we may have to wait longer than 45 minutes to find out what fate awaits our dear leader…’

Posted: 15th, July 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink