12 January 2004

'I will not hide' from Hutton

TONY BLAIR: I can say, but let me put it this way, I believe that we will but I agree, you know, we, there were many people who thought we were going to find this during the course of the actual operation.

Now we've got to see what the Iraq survey group come up with and, what is interesting, is that if you actually talk to experts in this field. I mean, someone said to me the other day for example, that if take it that we were looking for Saddam Hussein who is an individual on the move about whom we had reasonable intelligence.

We knew it was within an area of Tikrit, one particular city, and yet it took us six months to find him. In a land mass twice the size of the UK it may well not be surprising that you don't find where this stuff is hidden because part of the intelligence was that it was hidden and concealed. But you know we just have to wait and see.

The one thing I do think and hope people understand is that I received this intelligence and I believe it would have been irresponsible not to have acted upon it. And you can only imagine what would have happened if I ignored the intelligence and then something terrible had happened.

This is dishonest in 3 ways.

Blair is refusing to say he will even participate in the debate when Hutton releases his report. As is becoming customary he claims the browny point s of 'not hiding' while refusing to say he will lead the Commons debate.

Blair picks up the Rumsfeld line about the relative difficulties of finding WMDs and Saddam. As far as I know, no-one has claimed Iraq had mastered artificial intelligence to the extent that the alleged WMDs are capable of seeing an ISG search team coming and moving out of the way. The claim is a joke.

Lastly we have the apocalypse otherwise argument. It is pure and unadulterated hot air that marks rhetorical desperation rather than anything else. A responsible leader, who cared about the bloodshed on both sides, would have acted responsibly by questioning and analysing intelligence rather than sexing it up.

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