4 February 2004

Don't be fooled again

Where do you even start? Perhaps with the comedy of George Bush demanding 'to know the facts' about Iraq's non-existent arsenal of weapons of mass destruction - casting himself as an aggrieved American voter, somehow hoodwinked into the war with Iraq. No doubt we should brace ourselves for Bush pounding his fist on the table, demanding to know 'who ordered this goddamned war anyway?' And to think, he could have known all the facts without firing a single shot - if only he had let Hans Blix and his team of UN inspectors finish their work.

Or perhaps we should begin with the hilarious sight of Colin Powell, who exactly a year ago treated the UN security council to a show-and-tell expos� of Saddam's terrifying arsenal, now admitting that, had he known Baghdad had no WMD, he would have had his doubts about going to war. With rather elegant understatement, he concedes it would have changed 'the political calculus'.

Maybe the right starting point is closer to home, with the alternative comedy of Tony Blair insisting as late as last week there could be no inquiry, no inquiry, no inquiry - until Bush ordered one in Washington and suddenly London saw the entire question in a new light. Now there is to be an inquiry. What was an unnecessary, ludicrous proposal last week when the Tories and Lib Dems demanded it is suddenly a rather good idea now that Mr Bush has smiled upon it.

Indeed. The Hutton Report (Para 9) specifically excludes:

whether the intelligence in relation to weapons of mass destruction set out in the dossier published by the Government on 24 September 2002 was of sufficient strength and reliability to justify the Government in deciding that Iraq under Saddam Hussein posed such a threat to the safety and interests of the United Kingdom that military action should be taken against that country

Now Blair will exclude the same question from the Butler inquiry because it was covered by the Hutton inquiry? Um hello?

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